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June 02, 1940 - Image 7

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1940-06-02

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SUNDAY, JUNE 2, 1940

,rHE

PAGE

THE MT~CHIGAN DAITLY

PAGE

'The ritic' Will Open

7-Play Summer Repertory Season

Whitford Kane, Irish Actor,
Discusses Plays And People

Whitford Kane, the lovable Irish
actor Ann Arbor has come to know
so well through the many excellent
performances he has given here,
wants it thoroughly understood that'
he is from the North of Ireland. "I'm
not just one of those Dublin actors,"
he says with emphasis, "I'm an
Orangeman and an Ulsterman and
my speech is as different from Dub-
lin speech as Michigan talk is from
Alabama accents."
This being settled to Kane's com-
plete satisfaction, the star of St.
John Ervine's "Boyd's Shop" which
opens next Wednesday at the Men-,
delssohn Theatre, settled down to a
discussion of 'the summer season
which he will spend in Ann Arbor as
a Guest Director of the Michigan
Repertory Players. Kane will direct
the Player's presentation of John
Galsworthy's "Escape" and will play
the role of the church elder in it.
He is enthusiastic about the play
because he feels that it is built on
a theme of compelling interest. "You
can't escape yourself," Kane said,
"end Galsworthy handles that theme
which each generation has to redis-
cover for itself in a masterly fashion."
Discusses Galsworthy.
Concerning the author, who was a
friend of Kane's, the actor said "John
Galsworthy was a great and noble
man, and he understood his business
in the theatre. He cast all his own
plays and he supervised their pro-
ductions." Kane played in the pre-
mieres of several Galsworthy plays
in London before he came to this

country. lIe originated the role of
O'Cleary in "Justice", and played pro-
minent parts in "Strife" and "The
Pigeon" which he considers the high-,
est peak of his career.
Kane is also proud of the manu-
script collection he has of Galsworthy
plays including that of "The Pigeon."
He does not know what it would bring
but believes it to be very valuable by
now.
Praises Studeo Actors
"I played in 'Escape' in both Lon-
don and New York," Kane stated,
"and consider myself fortunate to be
able to appear in it again in Ann
Arbor in addition to doing the direc-
tion of the show." When asked about
the student actors who comprise a
large part of the casts of the Reper-
tory Players, Kane replied that many
showed professional promise and
that a few were already artists of
some attainment. He said it was al-
ways a joy for him to work with
them because of their ability to work
hard while retaining their verve and
enthusiasm.
Kane's most recent appearances
here include participation in "The
Winter's Tale" two weeks ago, his
memorable characterization of the
Stage Manager in "Our Town" with
the Repertory Players last summer,
and his characterization of Canon
Matt Lavelle in "The White Steed"
last spring. This summer, though
he will appear in but one play he
will be available to all drama stu-
dents for conferences over the entire
eight-week period.

C u

Farce To Open
12th Summer
Season July 26
Wyckoff Returns To Group
As Art Director; Windt
And Itkin Will Direct
, (Continued from Page 1)
ford Goldsmith, would be the fourth
summer production.
"Escape," an adventure drama by
the well-known novelist and play-
wright, John Galsworthy, will open
July 31, Professor Halstead declared.
A special feature of this play, he re-
vealed, will be the appearance in it
of Whitford Kane. Kane has played
in ithe premieres of two Galsworthy
plays.
Concluding the season will be the
seldom-performed work of Gilbert
and Sullivan, "Patience." The oper-
etta Professor Halstead characterized
as a "satire on the aesthetic move-
ment and Oscar Wilde." It will
open August 7. The University
School of Music and the University
Symphony Orchestra will cooperate
in the production of the final dra-
matic production.
Students In Company
The acting company and technical
staff of the Players are made up of
the more experienced students en-
rolled in Play Production classes,
former students who wish further
theatrical training and visiting ac-
tors and directors from the pro-
fessional theatre.
Managing director for the summer
will be Prof. Valentine B. Windt, of
the speech depaa'tment. He has
served as director for the Drama
season this year.
Kane will be guest director for
the fourth successive season. His
professional appearances as an ac-
tor this year include parts in "The
White Steed" and "The Man Who
Killed Lincoln," as well as an out-
standing part in "The Winter's Tale"
in the Drama Season here.
Directorial Staff Listed
David Itkin, associate director of
the Goodman Theater of Chicago
will make his first Ann Arbor ap-
pearance as guest director. He is
especially well known for his work,
in the production of psychological
drama.
Completing the directorial staff
will be Mrs. Claribel Baird, of the
faculty at Oklahoma College for
Women and a member of the Players
for several years.
Professor Windt will direct "The
Star Wagon," "Two on an Island,"
and "Patience," while Itkin will di-
rect "Beyond the Horizon." Pro-
fessor Halstead will direct "The Cri-
tic," and "What a Life" will be di-
rected by Mrs. Baird.
Alexander Wyckoff will return to
the Players after a year's absence
as art director, assisted by Robert
Mellencamp. Evelyn Cohen, who
costumed "Il Seraglio," will also be
associated with the staff.
Summer Season's
Mail Subscriptions
Now Being Filled
Mail orders for tickets to the Sum-
mer Repertory season are being ac-
cepted now at the Lydia Mendels-
sohn Theatre in the Michigan League.
The box office will be open June

19 for over-the-counter sales.
The prices for season tickets range
from $2.50 to $3.25 and $3.75, while
single tickets for the first six plays
may be purchased for 75, 50 and 35
cents. Single tickets for "Patience"
will be priced at $1, 75 and 50 cents.

Players Mark
Twelfth Year
This Summer
From a group of four students and
two faculty workers to the players
comprising specially trained gradu-
ate students and tehatrical experts
-.that is the history of the develop-
inent of the Michigan Repertory
Players in the 12 years of its exist-
ence.
The Players were formed when
Dean Edward Kraus decided to
change the Dramatic Season, which
was presented during the Summer
Session, to a spring function and
asked Play Production to provide a
summer drama bill. The student
group, under the direction of Prof.
Valentine P. Windt of the speech de-
partment agreed to put on one play
a week.
With only four students to help
him, Professor Windt, aided by Ches-
ter Wallace of the drama depart-
ment of Carnegie Institute of Tech-
nology, planned all properties, took
care of the box office and con-
trolled stage management, This
meant that a minimum of costumes
and properties had to be utilized, but
the season was asuccess nevertheless.
The name of the group was diffi-
cult to decide, since there were sev-
eral dramatic groups associated with
the University then active. Mimes
and Comedy Club were producing at
the time.
Instruction for students interested
in dramatic work as well as distin-
guished entertainment for the com-
munity summer students and their
guests was the goal of the Reper-
tory Players as they were at last
called.
In its third year, Thomas Wood
Stevens, often called the "dean of
university theatres" joined the group
and was a member for several years,
Alexander Wyckoff, scene designer,
joined at the same time and is now
serving as art director after an ab-
sence of one year,
Many well-known directors have
worked with the Players, includingl
Jean Mercici, director of the opera
house at Strausberg, and Lennox
Robinson, director of the Abbey The-
atre, who were here one season each.
When Stevens was unable to come
back, it was decided to have as guest
directors actors who could stay over
from the Drama Season. Among
those who have served in that capac-
ity are Frank Compton, Oswood Mar-
shall and Whitford Kane, who will
be spending his fourth successive
summer here this year.

Itkini To Direct
Players Here
StaffI Addition Has Had
Varied Experience
A background of theatrical experi-
ence both in the United States and
in Europe make David Itkin an es-
pecially outstanding addition to the
directorial staff of the Michigan Re-
iertory Players for this summer.
Itkin was associated as an actor
in Russia with the famous Moscow
Art Theatre from 1915 to 1927. He
was a disciple of K.S. Stanislavsky,
the noted Russian director and actor,
who has been credited with found-
ing the modern concept of acting.
Itkin won critical acclaim for his
portrayals wherever he went.
In 1927, Itkin toured the leading
theatrical cities of Europe and the
next year came to America with the
Habima Theatre, Jewish players
group. He played leads in such plays
as "The Dybuk" and "Golem." His
first chance as a director came to
direct "Golem" for the Goodman
Players in Chicago.
Itkin's first direction was so suc-
cessful that he was hired as associate
director immediately after, in 1930,
and has become particularly noted
for his handling of psychological dra-
ma.
Although he has directed plays
ranging from native American dra-
mas like "Our Town" to translations
of the obscure and little known po-
etic dramas of Pushkin, his favorite
playwright is Eugene O'Neill, whose
"Beyond the Horizon" he will direct
as the third play of the summer
season.

England, America, past and pres-
ent, interiors and exteriors-these
are some of the settings required byj
the seven plays of the RepertoryI
season. For all the plays, Alexander
Wyckoff and Robert Mellencamp,
art director and assistant, will have
to design 40 sets.
"The Critic," opening play of the
season, calls for five sets in all,
which comprise 18th Century back-
drops of the Elizabethan theatre,
since the play itself is written about
theatrical people of the period.
For the "Star Wagon" will be need-
ed realistic sets (as contrasted with
backdrops), mostly of modern Ameri-
ca, although some of the seven set-
tings will have to be of America in
1903.
Realistic sets of a NewhEngland
farm will be the total of the scenery
for "Beyond the Horizon," as the
former Pulitzer prize winner calls for
only four sets.
The play taken from this year's
Broadway season, "Two On An Is-
land," presents the' largest single
scenery problem among the plays, re-
quiring 12 sets in all. The play is a.
series of scenes all around New York
and shows a cross section_ of city life +

as it affects newcomers. Sets of taxis,
a sight-seeing omnibus and the in-
terior of the Statue of Liberty are
among those that will have to be
but for Elmer Rice's play.
Second largest number of sets will
have to be built for "Escape," since
Galsworthy's play occurs around an
English country side, and will require
a series of interior and exterior set-
tings.
Simplest of the designing tasks will
be for "What A Life," as the play
takes place in Central High School,
only, and all that is needed is the
atmosphere of a high school of and
American city.
The scene designers' task will be
made more simple too by Gilbert and
Sullivan's "Patience" which is laid
in England, 1890, and has only one
stage setting.
Seventh Musical Planned
"Patience," the Gilbert and Sulli-
van operetta which will close this
this year's Summer Season of the
Repertory Players, is the seventh
musical to be presented by thengroup,
All others have also been Gilbert and
Sullivan, except "The Chocolate Sol-
dier" and "Vagabond King "

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Repertory Theatre's Scenery
Is Varied, Shifting Problem

MICHIGAN REPERTORY PLAYERS
Department of Speech - University of Michigan
TWELFTH SUMMER SEASON
June 26 to August 13
* THE CRITIC ..... Richard Brinsley Sheridan
0 THE STAR WAGON . Maxwell Anderson
* BEYOND THE HORIZON . . . Eugen O'Neill
® TWO ON AN ISLAND . Elmer Rice
WHAT A LIFE Clifford Goldsmith
* ESCAPE John Galsworthy
0 PATIENCE ..Gilbert and Sullivan
Single Admission except "Patience: 75c, 50c, 35c
Season. Tickets: $3.75, $3.25, $2.50
Box Office opens June 19 Mail orders now.

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Program
The Critic, by Richard Brinsley
Sheridan
The Star Wagon, by Maxwell An-
derson
Beyond the Horizon, by Eugene
O'Neill
Two on an Island, by Elmer Rice
What a Life, by Clifford Goldsmith
Escape, by John Galsworthy
Patience, by W. S. Gilbert and
Arthur Sullivan

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