The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 07, 1972, Page PAGE 10, Image 10

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    Jazz boogie, blues guitar, rock beat, country-flavored
harp. . . all these elements fall together. Result, Canned
Heat, who will be appearing at Pershing Auditorium on
Friday, 8 p.m. with the James Gang and Jimmie
Shakespearean players
troap to area schools
Shakespeare is on his way to Nebraska high school
The University Theatre at UNL, has organized a company
of actors to perform scenes from Shakespearean plays for
Nebraska high schools, according to O.T. Larson, coordinator.
'The program will be directed primarily at the small high
school in the class B, C, or D category," he said.
"Performances will cover a 90-mile radius to as far as Homer,
The goal of the program lies in the belief that the best way
to teach Shakepeare is for. the students to see the play onstage,
he commented.
"Full-length productions of Shakespeare are relatively
infrequent and often an inconvenient luxury in the average
high school situation," he said.
Larson said the object was classroom performance while the
class is studying the play.
First performances were in Beatrice and Ashland on March
23, according to Larson. Ha said 26 high schools had
responded to letters announcing the "Shakespeare in the
Classroom Company."
"Our schedule is pretty full until May," Larson said. "We
go out twice a month and hope to keep on doing this next
Thirty students are involved in the performances, Larson
said. Most of them are undergraduates gaining experience for
no class credit, he explained.
These people have had to work hard and fast, Larson said,
as the company was just organized in early February.
It's hard to get everyone together but practices are held
most afternoons from 3 to 5 p.m., he said.
"I'd like to make it so you can take the class for credit so
we could have a set hour to meet," Larson commented.
He said the company was performing four plays, each about
20 minutes long. The length allows "for classroom discussion
with the actors following performances," Larson said.
"All scenes will be presented in a style similar to what wa
assume was prevalent in Shakespeare's day," he said,
"productions without scenery or elaborate lighting. The
emphasis will be upon the spoken word and dramatic action."
The scenes used were recommended for high school use by
the Nebraska State Board of Education, according to Larson.
"Like the first Shakespeareans, actors in our company will
assume several roles in each play," he said. Most actors are cast
in two roles and most productions require no more than six
The high schools pay transportation and insurance costs
only, Larson said.
"I expect we will have more interest next year," he said.
'The biggest problem now is getting the basic direction
'Caine Mutiny Court Martial'
success, but critical failure
Review by Jim Gray
If audience reaction was the only thing to
base a review on, the Lincoln Community
Playouse's (LCP version of The Caine
Mutiny Court Martini would be at least a
qualified success. The larger-than-usual LCP
audiences, composed of an assortment of
be-minked and bejeweled noveau riches,
have, in fact, been enthusiastic in their praise
for the performances.
Unfortunately, however, there is more to
a critical review than that. And on the other
counts, the production falls flatter than an
unsuccessful souffle.
The main problem with the production is
the acting. On the whole, the cast is an
extreme disappointment.
Britt Davis, cast as the defendant in the
court martial, has to be seen to be believed.
As Lt. Maryk, who is accused of wrongfully
relieving his commanding officer of duty,
Davis gives a dull and uninterpretive
In the role of a reluctant defense
attorney, Robert Stuewig is a little bit
better. His performance would be passable if
it wasn't for a constant overuse of gestures
and, no doubt, overdirection. He also comes
across sounding much like Henry Fonda, for
whom the role was originally designed.
Batter than either of the two is Wallace
Richardson as the prosecuting officer.
Richardson succeeds in beautifully
undercutting his role, making it extremely
believable and refreshingly sincere.
Even Bob Leinberger, as the presiding
officer of the court martial, is not half bad.
In a role which depends more on voice than
action, Leinberger operates well verbally.
Taken together, the four are not too bad.
If they were the entire cast, the acting might
have been even better-than -average.
Unfortunately, there are more members of
the menagerie.
Veteran actor Sam Davidson, as the
deposed captain, mora than deserves this
month's Overdone Ham Award for extreme
overacting in his worst performance of an
In a role that requires a change from a
semi-respected figure near the beginning of
the trial to a pathetic, beaten hulk near the
conclusion, Davidson plays the part like a
flat, pompous Bozo the Clown.
Equally bad is the rest of the parade of
witnesses to the stand. Especially horrible is
Roy Mahmken's melodramatic-pompous
performance as the defendant's treacherous
friend. In the play's closing scene, his
unbelievable overheld stance makes him
appear so much like a pillar of salt one
wonders if Sodom and Gomorrah aren't
waiting in the wings.
The only bright spots in this sad parade
are Steve Agnew and Roger Dickeson whose
natural performances stand out as bright
spots in an overdone vaudeville-land.
Technically, the play is spotty. The set's
arrangement is nothing short of excellent.
Turning the traditional courtroom scene
around, the presiding officer and the judicial
board occupy the first row of the audience,
while the prosecution, the defense and the
witness stand occupy the stage.
.The interesting use of the thrust stage in
lieu of the usual proscenium treatments
proves, if nothing else, that the new LCP
facilities are versatile.
In execution, however, the set was
somewhat plain and lack-luster, which may
reflect the play's tone.
Lighting and makeup were both excellent
and costumes were as good as could be
expected. The most notable technical
problem was the pby's blocking, or
overblocking as appearances indicated,
which not onh made the characters' actions
awkward but inane. This is, no doubt, the
cause of some of the overacting.
Last, but not least, the play itself is a
rather poorly-written monstrosity.
Throughout its entirety, one gets the feeling
that playwright Herman Wouk didn't know
whether he was writing comedy or tragedy.
And he doesn't combine the two well.
It is indeed quite easy to find oneself
laughing at not only the comic characters
and portions of the play, but the tragic ones
as well. And that's not funny.
Structurally, the play would have been all
right, if only Wouk had not taken it upon
himself to add a final scene for no other
reason than to lambast his literary
generation's "shortsighted" attitudes. This
type of irrelevant editorializing has no place
in a good drama. and destroys the unity of
Wouk 'splay.
All" in all, the LCPs Caine Mutiny Court
Martial is acceptable as light entertainment.
But as creative drama it fails miserably.
n If
hi "
PlmmAmn Is! A trSaL-trs bwiIm aj..-t ...
his son. rVlerla wilt be performing in a free concert at the East Camous Union 8 o.m
Sunday. K