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April 10, 1991 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-04-10

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ARTS
Wednesday, April 10, 1991

The Michigan Daily

'Disciple: Shaw
shows devilish style

Page 5
Theater Review
Play within a play confuses

by Julie Komorn

The Brecht Company's perfor-
mance of The Devil's Disciple por-
'trays George Bernard Shaw at his
convention-shattering best. While
the show incorporates the rich the-
atricality of Melodrama, including
a prodigal son, mistaken identities, a
"love triangle" and a hero imper-
iled by the hangman's noose, it also
goes one step further. Expanding on
the popular form of melodrama,
Shaw created a modern morality
play on the importance of self-
recognition and realization.
The play is set in a Puritan town
in New England during the
American Revolution. General
Burgoyne and his British army are
marching south from Montreal to
Saratoga, where they are destined to
be defeated. To encourage the others,
the Burgoyne' s men are stringing up
a few prominent rebels in every
town square they come across.
Everyone thinks that Dick Dungeon
will be hanged, but the Reverend
Anderson is the actual target. In a
stirring and witty last act, Dungeon
gallantly attempts to sacrifice him-
self, offering his life "for the
world's future."

This non-traditional show ma-
nipulates the melodrama so that
what is expected becomes twisted
into the unexpected. Instead of fol-
lowing the line of the highly emo-
tional tensions of love and duty, the
play becomes intellectual and
philosophical. This unforeseen
change in direction becomes inten-
tionally unsatisfying. Director Bob
Brown explains that "(Shaw) is not
dismantling melodrama, but adding
onto it."
Shaw had an early job as a theater
critic which forced him to watch
abominable melodrama - the
enormously popular genre of the
19th century. In order to get his
work produced, he took the popular
form, turned it inside out and made
it artful. Melodrama was not at-
tractive to Shaw for its energy,
spectacle and clockwork dra-
maturgy so much as for its allegori-
cal tendencies and its natural in-
stinct to pit good against evil.
The Devil's Disciple established
Shaw as a writer of international
importance. Shaw has been a major
force in the modern theater, and is
one of the greatest dramatists in our
language, with more plays to his

Reverena Anthony Anderson Pnlip van -ycK), left, and Ricnard vungeon
(Martin Sweeny), right, ask, "What ja have for lunch?" as they get
ready to "sandwich" Judith Anderson (Aberdeen Marsh).

credit than Shakespeare. He is
known for his ability to shock and
amuse his audience into creative
thought.
By choosing to perform Shaw,
the Brecht Company is a making
symbolic gesture. Shaw was a for-
mative influence upon young
Bertolt Brecht's distancing style, so
much so that he stole ideas like crit-
ical irony from Shaw's playwriting.
The two playwrights also shared
many of the same concerns for the
renovation of theater and society at

large. In his admiration of Shaw,
Brecht once reportedly said, "He
knows just how much courage is
needed to laugh at what is amusing,
and how much seriousness to pick it
out."
THE DEVIL'S DISCIPLE will be
performed tomorrow through
Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1
p.m. at the Residential College
Auditorium. Tickets range in price
from $3-$6 and are available at the
door.

by Diane Frieden
W hat started out as a good idea
turned into a distracting device.
Sometimes the play-about-a-play
idea works well, but often it will
complicates the action on stage. The
University production of Pelleas
and Melisande contains both the
Maurice Maeterlinck play and a
dress rehearsal adaptation by the di-
rector, Jerald Schweibert.
Often the transitions between
reality and fantasy provided by the
original text were rough, making it
difficult for the audience to actu-
ally enjoy the story because the ac-
tors kept showing through their
characters.
Neither the fantasy world of the
play nor the backstage world of the
dress rehearsal were strong enough
to captivate the audience, separately
or collectively. The Stage Manager
(Melissa Zafarana) ended nearly
each scene with a directorial com-
ment, jolting the audience from the
magical tale that was being told
through Pelleas. Also visually dis-
tracting were the actors who were
not in particular "scene between
scenes," but who crossed the stage
anyway; the characters of Julie
(Erin Dilly) and Beth (Tammy
Jacobs), as well as Steve (Matthew
Rego), walked aimlessly, or need-
lessly and unrealistically - this
was set as a formal dress rehearsal
- across the stage at the end of
most scenes.
However, Schweibert was on
target in a few of his innovative
transitional scene changes. For ex-
ample, as William/Pelleas (Tom
Daugherty) enters, late for rehearsal
but just in time for his line, there is
a fresh humor in the Maeterlinck
lines between Jan/Genevieve
(Heather Raffo) and Russ/Arkel
(Erich Jungworth). "Why, look, it
is Pelleas," they say as he runs into
the theater. "Come closer, so that
we may see you." At the end of the
scene, Arkel says to Pelleas, "Be
sure to light the lantern," and then,
as Russ, adds Schweibert's line
when she is addressing William:
"Be sure to sign in." Also, the end
of Act III segues neatly into the in-
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termission with Schweibert's clever
use of the theatrical setting.
Each actor involved did a good
job at being themselves; the most
humorous storyline to listen for at
the start of the rehearsal is that of
Steve, who is trying to get out of
rehearsal for a call-back. Zafarana
doesn't do her role as a dominant
Stage Manager justice; she coimes
across as a somewhat weak, flat
character. However, doubling as
Ynold, the son of Golaud, Zafarana
delivers an excellent reading.
Jungwirth performed well in both
of his characters. Raffo let too much
of Jan show through to her
Genevieve, and as a result took-her-
self too seriously.
A main problem with Pelleas
was the character of Gol ud
(Matthew Letscher), who was not
believable in his care and passionate
love for Melisande (Johanna
Borman). Letscher spoke his-lines
quickly and unconvincingly at first,
but warmed up in a later scene by
the prie-Dieu; yet his part of Joe'was
overly brooding and dramatic. As
for the title characters, Borman "re-
acted excellently as Melishn'de,
with wide-eyed, childlike frailty,
and Daugherty fit well as her'lover,
emphasizing the sensitive side df his
Pelleas.
The scenic and lighting designs
(Gaetane Bertol and Sandra Myers)
were impressive; a simple sheet was
draped to represent a bed canopy, a
forest or the garden trees, and the
effects were fantastic. Costuming
(Deborah Yegerlehner) was-. also
handled very well.
PELLEAS AND MELISANDE will
be performed again at , the
Trueblood Theater tomorrow
through Sunday. Shows from
Thursday through Saturday are at
8:00 p.m. Sunday's show is at 2:00
p.m. Tickets are $9, $5 with stdent
ID.
Color Printin
Color Printing'-
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Big savings on color printing
for all clubs, businesses, and
organizations.

Hoopsnakes
Jump in and Hang On
Dan Michael Music
If you're beginning to think that
anything that comes out of
Minneapolis is good, then you're
right. The Hoopsnakes are just a
bunch of guys having fun.
Listening to Jump in and Hang
On is like being at a live show in a
* dingy, smoke-filled joint. One
almost expects to hear hooting and

monologue between tracks. The
songs get semi-redundant, but that's
somewhat typical for the genres to
which the music belongs, rock 'n'
roll and blues.
Regardless, the album is still
precious in a not-so-cutesy sort of
way. The title track even has a line
about blue suede shoes in it. "Can't
Seem to Stop Myself" steals "just
my imagination running away from
me" for its lyrics, but sports more

original lines as well, such as, "I
know I said goodbye, but that was
just a lie."
"All Dames Are Dynamite" is
blues. Vocalist Bruce McCabe
doesn't quite do his Bessie Smith
impersonation, but he does cut loose
a bit of improvisational-like
fingering on the keyboards,
unleashing in similar fashion on
"One Stop Shoppin'."
We don't get a good dosage of

what guitarist Charlie Bingham is
capable of until "The First Man
(Who Ever Had the Blues)," but he
is astounding.
"Walk Real Slow" is the stroll-
esque track on the LP and sports my
favorite lyrics on the album: "She's
harder to get into than heaven..."
Diagnosis: For a good time, call a
Hoopsnake.
-Kim Yaged

Imagine 15 tubas and one eu-
phonium trapped in a high-
ceilinged, echoing room. A night-
mare? Some might think so, but the
Union Arts and Programming
* Office quaintly describes their sea-
son finale as incorporating the
"megaphone effect." In any case, if
you can't find anyone to have
Stucchi's with tomorrow at noon,
you might drop by the tuba concert
in the Union's Pendleton room.
It'll be a blast (ba-dum-bum, oom-
pah-pah).
Eastern Michigan University's
;*Dance' Division demonstrates
some of their academic tenets in a
concert April 17 and 18. Included in
the production are pieces entitled,
"Forgotten," "No Place to Go" and
"Confusion." The Dancers want to
convey what it's really like to be an
Eastern alum.
Hail to the band. The University

Symphony Band and Concert
Band are having a spring concert.
The group will choose an unortho-
dox way to show you what "Bo
knows" with Prokofiev's Athletic
Festival March. Another attraction
is Resphighi's "Hunting-Tower
Ballad," in which those crazy tuba
players will enact the famous fairy
tale, which we all know already, of
course. The free concert will be per-
formed on Friday at 8 p.m. in Hill
Auditorium.
Professor Drew Westen will be
giving his last singing performance
ever at the University tomorrow
night in the U-Club. There are two
shows (8 p.m. and 10 p.m.) and cover
is a mere $3. But if you can't make it
(or if you just want to hear more
Westen), the show is being recorded
for a live concert album as well.
Maybe it will be his Frampton
Comes Alive!

Live from New York... it's a
staged reading! Usually audiences
are only given the opportunity to
view the finished product after
months of the creative process, but a
new form of theater that has
emerged on the University campus
allows the audience to partake in the
creativity itself. In a Staged
Reading, actors read directly from
the script and the use of movement
and props is kept to a bare minimum.
After the reading, audiences are en-
couraged to give the playwright
feedback. So, if you're sick of being a
theater potato, sit in on a reading
and talk back to the actors. The
Playwriting Towards Production

Class will stage a reading every
evening this week at 5 p.m in the
Arena theater in the Frieze building.
Also being presented is a reading of
student Nina VanderVoort's work
Freeway Fables, Thursday and
Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2
p.m., in 2518 Frieze.

STUDENTS:
"If your hair isn't becoming
to you you should be
coming to us."
- 6 Stylists-No waiting -
DASCOLA STYLISTS
opposite Jacobson's 668-9329

' p ,
I

The Nasty Girl
PG-13
Cyrano De Bergerac
PG

Present tEis.coupon.with
purchased ticket tr
4/19/91H ro 1. 69016

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" Also, Russian Literature in English, Hu. Distr.
" For information, call Slavic Dept., 764-5355 or
check CRISP

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LOOKING FOR LS&A STUDENTS!
LS&A Student Government is looking
for LS&A Students to fill seats for
LS&A Student Government and MSA.
Interviews April 11th 5-7pm
4003 Michigan Union
Questions? Call office at 763-4799
or Claudette at 662-7180
Founding member of The Byrds. Back from Rio to Ann Arbor
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With Special Guest
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Thursday, April 18/8PM
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