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June 02, 1982 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1982-06-02

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Page 8-Wednesday, June 2; 1982-The Michigan Daily
'Androcles' goes modern


and more "emphasis on fun . . .We've
put surprises in every act."
While the show is not a musical, Fox'
enlisted the aid of Ph.D. student Gary
Garrison in choreographing one sur-
prise. A waltz at the beginning of the
play is part of the original script, but
the ending now features nothing less
than a dance of celebration - to a disco
"Beausa disen is their kind nf

music," Fox says, "the dance number
is one more way of reaching out to kids
and getting them involved."
Garrison notes that Shaw wrote the
play in the form of an English Christ-
mas pageant. Tradition called for a
subdued, even gloomy, beginning which
builds to a final resolution of conflict.
To complement this production's
lighter tone, Garrison thought it ap-
propriate for the Christians to let loose
and dance in the last scene.

Actors aren't often formally trained
in dance, he says, although he believes
a well-rounded performer should have
some ability to dance and sing as well
as act. Having had training in those
areas himself, he was put in charge of
selecting and coaching acore group of a
dozen dancers for "Androcles."
That group performs most of the
steps, he says, although the entire cast
of a2 does get in on the action. When
they do, "they have a great time!"

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Garrison laughs. "It rubs off on the
audience so that everyone wnds up en-
joying themselves along with the ac-
Garrison also worked closely with
Catrina Ganey in her lead role as the
lion. Ganey, he said, had to learn a
whole new way of moving to portray a
bulky, masculine animal through pan-
tomime. Since the story is a fairy tale,
the goal is to project as much reality as
possible through the lion's movements.
Reality, says Fox, is what' will help
young people relate to a story set in
distant Roman times.
To hold the attention of younger
audience members, Fox has created a
revolving set along with other staging
devices. Costumes are brightly colored
and dramatic, she says, contributing to
the visual impact.
As for musical innovations, "Onward
Christian Soldiers" and a gospel song
have been included in the show, again
with the intention of enhancing the
story line.
Fox emphasizes that PTP chose An-
drocles and the Lien in order to have a
family show in its season. "Because of
television and film, it's rare that young
people get to see live theater anymore.
This is a play the entire family can
come to see for a summer evening out."
Fox, who has acted professionally for
the last several years in New York, Los
Angeles and on daytime television,
plans to pursue a career in directing.
She has been at U of M since receiving a
PTP fellowship through the.University
Residential Theater Association, and
begins teaching at the California In-
stitute of Arts this fall.
Working with a full cast of 32 in An-
drocles was "almost ovetwhelming,"
she says. Directing student actors in
the PTP program, however, has had
consistent rewards. It is a teaching
process she notes, which only adds to
the chellenge of producing a
professional-quality play.
There is always some unevenness in
any performance, Fox adds,' whether
professional or otherwise. In four
weeks of rehearsal, what problems she
has encountered have been of a
"professional caliber," she says,
leaving her ".very pleased, overall"
with her students and with the final
"Our show is like a waltz that turns
into a disco at the end," she says.
"Everyone - adults and children alike
- can enjoy the story. That's just what
we want them to do."
After Androcles and the Lion, the
University Players will continue their
season with Tennessee Williams
autobiographical drama The Glass
Menagerie. Richard Burgwin directs
the play which runs June 9 through 11.
George Feydeau's The Happy Hun-
tsman will follow June 16 through 19.
Directed by James Martin, the light-
hearted farce pokes fun at Parisien
society during the turn of the century.
All three Summer Series productions
begin at 8:00 p.m. in the Lydia Men-
delssohn Theater, and all three are
followed by The $4 Revue, a blend of
slapstick comedy, vaudeville routines
and nostalgic musical numbers presen-
ted in the Michigan Leageu by Univer-
sity graduates and theater students.
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