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August 03, 1984 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1984-08-03

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Friday, August 3, 1984

Page 7

The Michigan Daily

'American Buffalo' stampedes on

By Deborah Lewis
THE STAGE is complete. The
characters are as grimy as the
language is, as gritty as the dialogue is,
as dingy as the junk shop set.
Performance Network's production
of American Buffalo, David Mamet's
excoriation of male comraderie,
whallops an aimed jab at mediocre
theatre in Ann Arbor, sending expec-
tations careening toward new r
qualitative heights. They all do an .> f
awfully good job.
In two acts, American Buffalo ex-
poses the raw, frenzied relationship
between junk shop owner Donny,
firebrand Teach, and heroin addict
Bobby and their naive design to steal a
coin collection. The crude language of
the trio wafts about the stage like a
leaking septic tank, adding a verbal
odor to their dirty-rat comraderie.
David Bernstein, a pivotal character
in the inner workings of the Perfor-
mance Network, plays the equally cen-
tral role of Donny-a man confused by
his paternal caring for the misbegotten
Bobby and dirty, dangerous business
dealings with the explosive Teach. On
opening night, Bernstein broke his hand
during the climax and has been playing
with a cast ever since.
Bernstein's performance is so strong Danny (David Bernstein) and
that the injury becomes as inevident as Performance Network's inspired
the fact that you are in the leaky Per- women. He is by far the crudest of t
formance Network as opposed to an bunch and is vying for the title I ca
honest-to-goodness basement junkshop "Most likely to be arrested for a cri
near the "el" in Chicago. of passion."
Teach is the philosopher of the group, Teach likes to run the show, and he
constantly spitting out his theories of pathetically paranoid that others w
successful business practice, loyalty conspire to get the best of him. He w
among friends, and dealing with burst out with hateful sentimen
S rings een is,
still magniicent

Teach (Gregg Henry) conspire to rob a customer of his
production of David Mamet's American Buffalo.


toward Donny and Bobby and then
become emphatic that they forgive
He makes his wisdom known, "Do
you know what is free enterprise? The
freedom of the individual to embark on
any fucking course he sees fit in order
to secure his honest chance to make a
profit." Gregg Henry plays Teach as
the educator who doesn't know what the
hell he's talking about: a man
struggling to become an entrepreneur
trapped within the confines of the lower
class hood mentality.
Bobby is a living dartboard. He puts
the needles in his arms and his com-
panions stick the barbs in his side.
David Isaacson plays Bobby as a
mangy puppy of a youth, sniveling,

begging, and vying for attention with
his tail between his legs. Bobby keeps
his speech to a minimum, contrasting
Teach's incessant rants.
The three actors work together
magnificently, infusing the choppy
street dialogue with realistic and
humorous interpretation. Director
David Hunsberger says of the actors,
"You couldn't find three more different
human beings" and this inherent dif-
ference adds to the consistent diversity
of the players."
Hunsberger's cast and direction, and
Elaine Noyes' masterfully cluttered set
design propel this subterranean
"comedy about violence" towards new
heights in Ann Arbor theatre.

By Byron L. Bull
I T TAKES A solid performer to even
salvage an arena concert from de-
generating into anything but an imper-
sonal, inaudible nightmare, and a very
special one to elevate such a show to a
magical moment. Bruce Springsteen,
who wound up his two date stopover at
Detroit's Joe Louis Arena last Tuesday,
is one of those rarities. His highly per-
sonal intensely heartfelt appearance
that night was a glorious, memorable
affair that surpassed his already legen-
dary reputation.
The joy that fills Springsteen with the
act of music making is so rich and over-
flowing, that it is intoxicating to be a
part of and by the end of his three hour
plus, 29 song show the audience was
giddy and drained. The evening opened
with the thunderous fanfare of "Born In
The U.S.A.", then criss-crossed the
years of Springsteen's recorded work to
sample material from virtually every
album, with generous attention given to
the recent album, The River, and sur-

prisingly, the solo work Nebraska.
The Nebraska selections, framed and
expanded by the full band arrangemen-
ts, were quite impressive. Both the title
track and the haunting "Atlantic City"
took on an added depth in their storm
cloud blue shadings, emerging as
moody and captivating pieces. No less
radiant were "Open All Night" and
"Used Cars", both of which were
prefixed by anecdotes on how they
came to be written.
Needless to say, the most expected:
and most readily enjoyable numbers
were the wild, uptempo numbers. As
the band ran from the "Cadillac Ran-
ch" through "Sherry Darling" to the
soaring romanticism of "Jungle Land"
one drew the impression that regar-
dless of how many times they've played
these songs, the band still can find
something new to delve into with each
new delivery.
The Born In The U.S.A. songs, not
among Springsteen's strongest com-
positions, gained here in their rougher,
somewhat grittier, delivery. While

5 Ave E e T7S1-70


Where dreams
have a funny way
of coming true.
FRI. 1:00, 7:00, 10:20
SAT. 1:00, 3:00, 5:00, 7:00, 9:00, 11 P.M.
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SAT., SUN. 12:50, 3:00, 5:15, 7:30, 9:40 (PG)

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