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Page 78 text:
UT Offers Classic Spring Drama When the UT Department of Drama decided to present a play with an unfinished script and only three weeks of rehearsal, nobody expected a great production. But when the unfinished script turned out to be the classic drama Woyzeck and the cast consisted of experienced junior and senior acting students, the result was one of the most compelling productions Austin had seen in a long time. " Woyzeck, " a psychological case- study of a man left mentally devastated by a cruel and ex- ploitative society, was the depart- ment ' s experimental bid for the season and played Jan. 20-Feb. 2 in the Theater Room. The story was based on the life of Johann Christian Woyzeck, a Ger- man soldier convicted of murdering his common-law wife, and later publicly executed in 1824. Playwright Georg Buchner began researching the case to bring Woyzeck ' s story to the stage. But Buchner died in 1837 before the play ' s completion, leaving behind a mass of unnumbered scenes. Each scene was short and self-contained. Like all of the previous directors of " Woyzeck, " UT director Lee Abra- ham was faced with the challenge of choosing which translation from Ger- man to use and how to place the 27 short scenes in cohesive order. The end result was a montage of scenes that effectively explored the workings of Woyzeck ' s mind. The intensification of his mental deterioration occurred when Woyzeck, played by Dink O ' Neal, discovered that his common-law wife, Marie, played by Christi Carafano, was cheating on him. Voices promp- ted Woyzeck to kill his sweetheart. In the depths of despair, Woyzeck gave in to the voices and, in a riveting climax, killed Marie. Abraham utilized the intimate sur- roundings of the Theater Room. To accommodate the play ' s quick suc- cession of scenes, the stage consisted of five bare platforms. This general acting area allowed the short scenes to unfold continuously without the interruption of set changes. The direction used modern ex- perimental theater techniques to il- lustrate the effect of abuse on Woyzeck. As Woyzeck gradually lost his sanity, the play made a transition from realistic to wildly expressionistic. Using experimental theater, the cast transported the audience to a lake, a carnival or tavern without the aid of props or scenery. To be expected from an unfinished play, the ending was abrupt and open-ended. But the play left memories of artful direction and superb performances. Dave Carlin Using experimental theater techniques, three actors in " Woyzeck " create a horse while the carnival barker (Kim Scott) looks on. j 70 --- Drama
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u icals Elizabeth van den Berg as the compassionate Nancy sings " It ' s A Fine Life " to her cockney friends in " Oliver! " The play ' s moods varied from religious devotion in the moving " Sabbath Prayer " to rowdy in the amusing " If I Were A Rich Man. " Joy and celebration were abundant at the wedding of Motel (Charles Bari) and Tzeitel (Lori Jaroslow). Having played Tevye on Broadway for two years, Herschel Bernardi showed stunning resilience. With numerous asides to God, Bernardi mingled Tevye ' s respect with a touch of humor. Thelma Lee, who portrayed Tevye ' s wife, Golde, was appropriate- ly nagging and worried about her dauthers ' marriages. However, a gentler side of her shown in a humorous, yet touching rendition of " Do You Love Me? " As families prepared to leave Anatevka at the bidding of the anti- Semitic Czar, their hearts were heavy, but their faith remained strong. The townspeople found that love and God would always keep them together. They would always have their tradition, for, as Tevye said, " Without tradition, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof. " Lynn Weaver Cold, stiff winds tackled trees and danced with leaves. People on the streets were wrapped up to their shiny red noses. Yet, in the heart of the city, at the Performing Arts Center Nov. 27, glowed the com- forting warmth of Oliver! Fagin inspects pick-pocketed merchandise. The flavor and spirit of early 19th century England survived in this modern stage adaption of Charles Dickens ' novel, Oliver Twist. Oliver, played by Zachary Stier, was an orphan, whose life channelled along the strict confines of survival and obedience. After devouring the few morsels allowed him, Oliver ex- tended his bowl and asked " Can I have some more? " All Oliver asked from life was a lit- tle more. However, just like food, he was denied it. Stier emulated this loneliness in a touching version of " Where is Love? " Oliver ran away and ironically found friendship among a group of pick-pocketing misfits. The artful dodger, played by Todd Louiso, ex- tended his hand to Oliver in " Con- sider Yourself and Nancy, played by Elizabeth Van Den Berg, lost her life for Oliver ' s salvation. Van Den Berg had exceptional stage presence and her voice emoted beyond the realm of mere performance in " It ' s A Fine Life " and " As Long as He Needs Me. " The finale, on the surface, seemed typical as Oliver was discovered by wealthy relatives, but profundity thrived beneath in Oliver ' s affinity for the contents of people ' s hearts rather than their pockets. Lewis Henderson Drama 69
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iiental theater, the id the audience to a or tavern without the ranery. ing was abrupt and But the play left The haunting mood of " Oedipus Rex " is enhanced through the use of metallic face masks. rmances. - Dave It is one of the most famous tragedies in all literature: the story of a man who has no control over his own destiny, who is doomed to kill his father and take his mother to bed. An inspiration to people as diverse as Sigmund Freud (the Oedipal complex) and the Doors ( " The End, " ) Oedipus Rex and his plight has disturbed countless generations. For director Gordon Peacock, the challenge was to make Sophocles ' play, written in the fifth century B.C., come alive for the modern au- dience. Peacock was the guest direc- tor for the UT Department of Drama ' s production of Oedipus Rex, presented Feb. 21-26 in the Perform- ing Arts Center Opera Lab Theater. Emulating the masks of classical Greek theater, actors wore partial masks covering the upper halves of their faces. The production was innovative in the brightly colored costumes of red, green and blue, and in the massive pyramid-shaped set. The set sug- gested an unusual combination of palace gate and church sanctuary; its sheer size was striking. This proved to be a disadvantage at times since the set filled half the stage and tend- ed to cramp the actors ' movements. As a whole, the acting was compe- tent. Dink O ' Neal starred as the proud, almost arrogant king of the plague-infested city who is warned the pestilence will not end until the murderer of the king is expelled. The part of Jocasta, Oedipus ' wife, who begs him to cease his search before it reveals she is his mother, was played by Kelly Korean. Other key players were Timothy Greer as the seer Tiberius and David Baker as Creon, Jocasta ' s brother. Brian Zabcik Double double identity pro- blems confused audiences when the Department of Drama presented William Shakespeare ' s Comedy of Errors. This farce of mistaken identity played to capacity audiences in the Theater Room of the Winship Drama Building during a mid-April run. In this tale, Shakespeare spins a web of confusion around two sets of identical twins with identical names who are separated in childhood from their siblings and parents in a ship- wreck. The two sets of twins, each with rich merchants named An- tipholus and comic servants named Dromio, happen to meet and become mixed in Ephesus on the day the father of the Antipholuses was to be executed there. Director Paul Gaffney did an outstanding job changing the setting from Shakespeare ' s time to the 19th century, in costume if not language. Both sets of twins kept the au- dience chuckling with lines and ac- tions. Veryl Midler, as the Dromio of Syracus, was especially funny, taking advantage of the fool-like lines Shakespeare gave the part. His counterpart Antipholus, David Baker, carried off the confusion and comic haughtiness of his role. The production succeeded in catching the lightness of the play and the audience gave enthusiastic ap- proval. Thomas Trahan The twin brother Antipholus of Syracus makes a proposal to the confused and flustered Luciana.
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