Los Angeles Valley College - Crown Yearbook (Valley Glen, CA)

 - Class of 1974

Page 68 of 120

 

Los Angeles Valley College - Crown Yearbook (Valley Glen, CA) online yearbook collection, 1974 Edition, Page 68 of 120
Page 68 of 120



Los Angeles Valley College - Crown Yearbook (Valley Glen, CA) online yearbook collection, 1974 Edition, Page 67
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Los Angeles Valley College - Crown Yearbook (Valley Glen, CA) online yearbook collection, 1974 Edition, Page 69
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Page 68 text:

64 Touch, of ill By Margot A. Meyer Illustrated by lohn Rosenfield f'Contentment is a warm sty for eaters and sleepers." -Eugene O'Neill Little Irish-America lent a "touch of blarney" to the Theater Arts Department this spring with the production of Eugene O'Neill's "Touch of the Poet." Known for his revolutionary methods of presenting startling insights into human nature, O'Neill, in "Poet," presented a challenge to the actors as well as to the Valley College audience. Full interpretation was of utmost concern to the case. "lt's a very difficult pIay," said cast member Debbie Barbarick. "With O'Neill you have to have so much experience with life to understand what he is trying to say." Barbarick provided one-half of the outer conflict on which O'Neill based his story of an Irish-American family of 1829. She portrayed Sarah Melody, a young, educated daughter of a tavern owner. The remaining segment of undisguised dispute was in Dave Read's interpetation of Sarah's father, Conrad Melody, a pom- pous and sometimes ludicrous drunkard. But "Poet" went far deeper into the social circumstances and sufferings of the Melody family than was apparent in the father-daughter con- flict, O'Neill used the relationship to illustrate fine points in human suffering and understanding. "For me, this play has been like a puzzle," said Linda Contreras, Conrad's peasant wife. "O'Neill has so many phases in his writing." Even as the play neared completion, cast members were still discovering new facets to many roles. While dissecting an unusually awkward sentence of a female character, they dis- covered that O'Neill had purposely structured the grammar of her speech to indicate an incestuous relationship within her family. "O'Neill never puts one word down unless it has a specific meaning," explained Barbarick. "It's a very subtle but important approach in portraying the part." A major tool used by O'Neill to display the culture of the Melody family was the Irish brogue. "Even some of the words are spelt a little differently in the script," said Read. "lt's just like a flavoring, rather than a fully committed transposition to Irish," he said. The brogue was used by several characters in varying degrees. "For me it's very important to have a very heavy brogue, and I Bruce Burton added atmosphere to the revelations that were uncovered in Conrad Melody's tavern. The occasion was one of many that called for a toast by tavern locals Ned Gill, Bill Marrone, David Wall, and Paul Harvey.

Page 67 text:

Fltillllltl' Ill' Illllll ? reimbursed a thousand-fold, and can materialize itself through the obvious en- joyment the children experienced through viewing the performance. The predominantly animal cast was infiltrated by one human character, the Mad Hatter, portrayed by Valley College Student Hector Grillone. Costuming and vivacious physical movement were what Crillone felt to be the prominent emphasis of Folderol's finished product. He explained Folderol's styling as being slapstick, with little free- dom being allotted to the audience's imaginative realm. Crillone explained that this technique is not necessarily a standard procedure in Children's Theater. He attri- buted pantomime as being the most effec- tive and descriptive method for visual communication, and credits children with having extraordinarily vivid imaginations. Working from memory and a previous character appearance sketch, Ken Barker way? Randy Sheriff, Talouse the Labrador Moose, gave Skllfufll' applies his makeup- an overpowering performance, and Ken Barker won the chiIdren's hearts with his performance as Maccabe Bee. l ii . 'll When relating his minority experiences with Folderol, Crillone said, "I felt left out because everybody elsewas an animal."All cast characters were held responsible for compiling individual interpretations of their animal characters on a physical level. Grillone found this task to be extremely difficult, for he attempted to present himself as part-human and part-animal in order to stabilize the continuity of the animal-dominated cast. " It was surprising to see that the adults enjoyed 'Electric Folderol' more than the kids," said Crillone. The boundless fantasy of Children's Theater reaches not only the adolescent mind but succeeds in tackling the intellec- tual and realistic mind. Perhaps you were among the gathering group of children and, as a result of social training, you forced yourself to go home without asking for one of Clara Bella Chicken's feathers. 63



Page 69 text:

am thinking about it constantly," said Contreras. O'Neill's use of brogue was a constant reminder that, unlike her daughter and husband, Nora was of uneducated peasant stock. Conrad reflected his upbringing through the lack of the peasant class brogue. "This lack represents a well-educated and gentlemanly station in life," said Read. lt was Conrad's awareness of his Hgentlemanly station" that caused him to separate himself from the surrounding "Yankee" commoners. "He labors under the pretense that he is a great gentleman, but, in the end, he hammers it into the ground," said Read. Conrad strode through O'Neill's play spouting Byron and recalling his glorious role in the Battle of Talavara under Wellington. He was consequently scorned by many towns- people. "ln the end he is beaten and he starts to speak in the brogue," said Read. Read's realization that Conrad could only survive if he conducted himself as a commoner, must have been very painful for Conrad, in Read's estimation. "When he starts speaking the brogue, he insists that it is the way that he really should have been all those years-the way he was born," he said, liarbarick used the Irish dialect only on a few occasions. O'Neill inserted the brogue into the dialogue of Sarah's charac- ter mainly to antagonize her father. "Sarah can talk without a brogue when it is of use to her," said Barbarick, Learning and effectively applying the brogue in "Poet" presented a variety of considerations. "There are so many different types of brogue," said Contreras. "lt's the same with Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Spanish accents, they all have Latin premises, but there are certain words that are different," she said. "We try only to use a mild brogue,'f said Barbarick. "lf we used a heavy brogue it would be too hard to understand, and it would detract from the play itself." "Touch of the Poet" brought complex excellence' to the Valley stage. Hopefully, its touch of blarney served as a tonic to the eaters and sleepers of the world. Eve Mortensen spurns Conrad's attentions during a short visit to the Melody home. David Wall and Ned Gill escort Patrick Kelly outside after he tries to deliver a bribe to drunken Conrad Melody. Dave Read goes through the motions of threatening his daughter, Debbie Barbarick, with his dueling pistol as his wife, Linda Contrares, tries to stop him. B5

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