The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, May 01, 1978, Page page 8, Image 8

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    J -
page 8
daily nebraskan
monday, may 1, 1978
arts ancL
Silly spoof capitalizes on characters idiosyncrasies
By Charlie Krig
"A sketch."
Henry Can said all in that phrase.
Travesties, the Tom Stoppard play that
opened Friday night in UNL's Howell
Theater, is a fast-faced series of imagina
tions from an old man's senile mind. Henry
Carr (played by Douglas Anderson) is the
lunatic reigning over all the activities.
At the start of the play Carr is sitting in
his living room, playing the piano and
reminiscing about an incident that
occurred 50 years ago; his acclaimed per
formance in a James Joyce production of
Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being
Earnest. The play was the apex of his non
descript career as a minor consultate offical
in Zurich. But the event was not complete
ly happy.
Carr sued Joyce for the cost of the
costume Carr wore in the play; Joyce
counter-sued for some tickets Carr didn't
Stoppard takes those facts from a real
conflict between the two men and explod
es them into a frivolous, silly comedy that
features the petty fight and complicates
matters by exploiting some could-be meet
ings with two other mainacs in Zurich at
that time: Lenin, leader of the Russian
revolution, and Tristan Tzara, father of the
Dadaist art movement.
Anderson is nothing short of superb.
His transitions from the crazy old Carr to
the young consulate buffoon are remark
able because he achieves the change
through voice and gesture without help
from makeup. He also performed his long
monologues fluidly with energy that main
tained interest in what could have been
drawn out, boring stories.
James Ryan, as Joyce, was erratic. His
power and accent fluctuated which detract
from his character. Tristan Tzara, as played
by Jack Honor, was an eccentric neurotic
whose bizarre art ideas comprised much of
the humor. George Loudon's interpretation
of Lenin was powerful, especially his long
speech delivered as if at a political rally.
The rest of the cast, Steve Brown as
Bennett the butler, Deb Miller as Gwendol
en, Judith Radcliff as Cecily and Melissa
Baer, skillfully highlighted the absurdity in
each scene.
Absurd is the best word for Stoppard 's
concoction of relationships among the cast
of crazies. The scenes are performed as
Carr remembers them and when the sketch
gets too grotesque he suddenly returns to
the beginning and tells it again, except that
each regression takes the characters into
different situations.
Suddenly, someone who wasn't in the
action the tome before will enter or the
character will start singing their lines or
calm, platonic dialogue will turn to lust or
hatred or the lines will be in limericks.
Stoppard appears to have thrown to
gether a silly spoof with no meaning, but
the opposite is true. His choice of words is
so exact that concentration is necessary to
catch each pun, parody and trick. Stoppard
bravely steals scenes from The Importnace
of Being Earnest and twists them to in
clude Lenin's speeches, Joyce's foolish
poetry and Tzaro's nonsensical art forms.
The resulting humor follows no reason and
capitalizes on the idiosyncrasies of each
character's extremist views.
Carr admits the confusion his memory
creates: "I'm finding his conversation very
hard to follow. It's like hearing every other
line of the Catechism,' he tells Tzara. But
the Dada in Tzara offers the clearest under
standing of their weird situations. "With
out art, man was a coffee-mill," he tells the
group. "But with art, man is a coffee-mill!"
Photo by Bob Pearson
George Loudon is Lenin in Tom Stoppard's 'Travesties".
It just depends on what and who you
define as "normal."
The play will run Tuesday through Sat
urday with performances at 8 p jn.
A play dealing with an unusual type of
nostalgia will be presented tonight at 7:30
in the Laboratory Theater (room 204) of
Temple Building. Its title is Two Lips Plus
A Banana-A Nostalgic Revue of "Rele
vant" Theater from the Sixties.
The director, Harley Lofton, a graduate
student in the UNL theater department,
described the play as a "plastic, surrealistic,
neo-classic, pseudo-musical" that features
10 performers in changing roles. The indivi
dual scenes include music from Megan
Terry rock musicals, Bob Dylan songs and
even a poem, Returning North of the
Vortex by Allen Ginsburg.
Lofton said the scenes, when seen
separately, don't appear to fit together but
they form a contextual meaning when pre
sented in sequence.
Cast members are Jim Anderson, Blake
Hambrick, Kjrby Henderson, Patti Knight,
Cathy Lang, Michele Miller, Kathy Saylor,
Jeff Schultz, Woody Skokan, Sarah Stinson
and D J. Wetterer. Charles Gould will recite
a poem and Brent Learned will play the
Costume design is by Lisa Jantz, light
design is by Bob Olson and set design is by
Harley Lofton. Shelley Suellwold is assist
ant director.
There is no admission charge for the
performance, a very reasonable price for
this unique theatrical presentation.
Cornstock music enjoyable, but missing festival mood
By Casey McCabe
As a free concert, is was an enjoyable
show by capable bands. As a festival, Corn
stock failed in the necessary elements.
The first indication of this was that
people were leaving the Sports Complex
about as fast as they were coming in. The
disappointment after the festival had been
moved indoors for the first time in eight
years, was heightened by the fact that the
weather for the afternoon was quite pleas
ant after all.
And UNL students who dropped in any
time after 2 p.m. would have found the
only available seats were facing the back of
the group. This was due to the stage
arrangement, which allowed good visi
bility to less than half the Sports Complex,
and did not permit the crowd on the floor.
With Lincoln Public Schools recessed
for the day, students faced stiff competit
ion for available seating. Those who did
not like the non-festival atmosphere of the
show soon left to pursue their own creative
interests for the afternoon.
What is a festival atmosphere? It is
where the crowd can move about, interact,
dance if desired, and get a little crazy.
These elements which were apparent in
past outdoor Cornstocks, were understand
ably missing in the confines of the Sports
This is not to put the blame on the
show's organizers. Quick decisions had to
be made that would allow for the least
possible hassles, and the logical ones were
carried through. A wet concert, or no con
cert at all were possible alternatives.
The crowd was suprisingly cooperative
once settled in, and those who stayed were
treated to the sounds of the afternoon's
three bands; Morningstar, Timbejiine, and
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils.
Morningstar was the show's "rock"
attraction. According to the group's man
ager, Morningstar doesn't like labels, and
puts more variety into their style. Still, the
band came off sounding rather typical, and
very much like the many bands that try to
capitalize on the Boston, Foreigner, Head
East sound. It was clean music though, and
had its appeal to a good portion of the
Timberline was soon to catch the flow
of the crowd with the country flavor in
their music, that brought some foot stomp
in' and hand clappin' participation. Jim
Salestrom's banjo picking and the some
times overlooked original country material
of Timberline made the band's set
especially enjoyable. When they went into
their rock material, they difin't really
sacrifice anything musically but Timber
line seemed more at home in the country
vein, and the crowd was more receptive to
it as well.
The same was true with the Ozark
Mountain Daredevils who got the place
hopping to the hillbilly sounds of "Chicken
Train" and "If You Want To Get To
Heaven", but slowed down considerably
with some of their newer, more structured
material. But the band's professionals
showed through and by the time they
left the stage, the crowd was on its feet
cheering for more.
One problem that hampered all groups
was that the volume levels seem to have
been set for an outdoor show, and indoors
it was cause for a distortion in the sound.
The Daredevils mentioned their dis
appointment at not being able to play
outdoors, a sentiment shared by many
there and even more who didn't bother to
stay around. But with outdoor festivals
you have to take certain risks, and this year
they just didn't pan out. The only one to
blame is the weatherman.
Photo by TidKM
Steve Cash of The Ozark Mountain Daredevils.