Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on May 19, 1974 · Page 95
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 95

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 19, 1974
Page 95
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Page 95 article text (OCR)

Ex-con, 'Family,' make it on B, way By William Glover NEW YORK-I/PI- A play written by an ex-con and mostly performed by other former reluctant guests of the state of New York has turned out to be the stage season's sleeper success. In four months, "Short Eyes" traveled from off-off- Broadway obscurity to off- Broadway raves and on May 9 arrives at Lincoln Center's Beaumont Theater for previews prior to May 23 premiere. "When-I heard the first reading, I knew it was good and would get good reviews," Miguel Gomez Pinero accepts impassively the surge of acclaim for his script. , A note he wrote for the show program is more intense: "I was born in a barrel of butcher knives, today I'm strung out on theater." Right now he has to telephone his probation officer. "He's not the only one," Marmet Theatre 2 BIG FEATURES "THE DOBERMAN GANG" "DARMGDOBERMANS" Box Office Opens 7:15 OWENS Midtown Theatre Marvin Felix Camillo says. "Two of the cast and a woman who handles props are also on probation." The director makes it sound unimportant, a father figure full of understanding. What they did before doesn't interest him. Like Pinero, Camillo grew up amid ghetto violence, but all his visits inside correctional institutions have been as a welfare worker only. On such trips, he discovered a keen knack for rousing assorted thugs, bandits and drug addicts to the redeeming possibilities of theater activity. "You never know what you can do until you have to prove it," he dismisses inspirational power. "When I was a kid in Newark I wanted to be a circus clown, but decided that was unrealistic." Later he acted for Ima- mu Baraka and for Vinette Carroll's Urban Arts Corps in Manhattan. During visits to the Bedford Hills correctional facility, C a m i l l o organized a loose-knit cadre of apprentice players with whom he kept in touch after their release. Colleen Dewhurst, an eminent actress who keeps FEATURES: 2:354:206:107:559:40 SATAN IS COMING! WEDDING (lldllT -;:-fR] suTM, MARK DAMON-SARABAY IN COLOR · A DIMENSION PICTURES RELEASE K] EOSARAllANPflFS "ANNABEL LEE / ~, VINCENT MICE Walnut Grove Drive In OWENS DRIVE IN "LOVE'S GARDEN" (X) "MERMADS"(X| "LOVE YOU, LOVE YOU NOT" (X) "SWMGING SORORITY" (X) "STARLET" (X) "JEWELL HYDE"{X) ; ,4 / MAT. 2:15 ;/ EVE. 7:15-9:15 STREISAND r a BEDFORD ,/ TOGETHER! THE WAY ALBAN m m tabs on all kinds of community as well as theater activities, got interested. "Why, you're the family." she said after one meeting, and The Family is how Camillo's followers have been known ever since. They call him Pancho God, a status which he symbolizes with a luxurious mustache, a broad Mexican sombrero and by flatly refusing to disclose his age. "I'm supposed to be the oldest one in the family," he., says, "but I'm not, so I have to do something about the image." The senior member, he lets slip, is 32. Back from his duty call, Pinero joins the conversation. He also has a mustache, smaller; pallid complexion; an accent tinged with the inflections of his native Puerto Rico. "If I hadn't met Pancho God here," he touches his swarthy companion, "I dun-, no what would have happened to me. I knew I wanted to get into theater work when I got out, but after two or three months I'd probably have been all messed up again and back in the joint." Pinero has spent seven of his 27 years in assorted bastilles on charges ranging from truancy to drug peddling. He was hooked himself on heroin, "but I beat that a long time ago." He started "Short Eyes" while serving a five-year sentence at Sing Sing for armed robbery. He's already written some poetry and earned a reputation ar- .ound the cell blocks writing letters for other inmates. Workshop sessions in drama were part of the recreational program, run by various visitors. Pinero didn't think much of most of them, b u t C a m i l l o ' s sessions turned him on -- "I like to rap with others and found I could there." "Short Eyes" concerns a group of prisoners in a house 'CINEMA SOUTH LAST TIMES TOO AY! MAT. 2:15 EVE 7:20-9:10 RUN STRANGER RUN they've got: BILLY JACK Just a person who protects E?E*7 T Sf-i 5 children and other living things m ^TOMUUGHLIN-DELORES TAYLOR SHOWTIME MA'Y'M to'-.i.i -v,;. r i '' / - of detention who kill a man accused of child molestation, the worst of all crimes in their own social code. "No. it's imagination." Pinero replies when asked about the plot, "but it is things that have happened, will happen again. I never witnessed anything like that but -- you know." He lapses into silence. The play was finished after he was paroled and as a result, "the.second half when I came out was not as angry as when I began." A newspaper article about his prison poems caught the eye of Arthur Barstow who runs an experimental theater at Manhattan's Riverside Church. "When he was n a m e d playwright in residence there." Camillo puts in. "he hired me^as his unpaid consultant." Both of them grin. At-liberty members of The Family were recruited for t h e f i r s t p r o d u c t i o n o f "Short Eyes." Miss Dewhurst found them a rehearsal room next to where Mike Nichols was directing George C. Scott. Nicol Williamson and a companion galaxy in "Uncle Vanya." "There we were pounding drums, spouting Rican and black energy with passion," Camillo recalls, "and they were trying to do Chekhov." Some roles were filled by outsiders "but we treat them as though they were going to be with us forever." When The Family got jittery before opening at Riverside. Miss Dewhurst came to the rescue and relit ambition by inviting them all to her Broadway premiere in "A Moon for the Misbegotten." "The next morning." says the director, "everything was together again for us. and everybody was out to create that same magic." After "Short Eyes" garnered some warm reviews. Miss Dewhurst got busy Elkview Drive In GATES OPEN 8:00 DIANA ROSS IS BILLIE HOLIDAy SINGS THE BLUES A PARAMOUNT RCTU«E (S Filmed in PANft'lSOM® *** ALSO BEST PICTURE I WINNER OF 3 ACADEMY AWARDS again. Another of her interests is Joe Papp's production conglomerate which hadn't been generating any recent box-office or critical enthusiasm. Camilto's troupe put on a CIVIC CENTER PUBLIC ICE SKATING SCHEDULE MONDAY 8:00-10:00 p.m. Public Skating TUESDAY 8:00-10:00 p.m. Public Skating WEDNESDAY 3:45-5:45 p.m. Public Skating THURSDAY 10:00-12 Noon Housewife Sessions. 8:00-10:00 p.m. Public Skating FRIDAY 8:00-10:00 p.m. Public Skating 10:30-1:00 a.m. Moonlight Glow (18 years and over) SATURDAY 12 NooivhOO p.m. Kiddle Kapers (12 and under)50' 3:00.5:00 pjn. Public Skating 8:00-10:00 p.m. PubBc Skirting SUNDAY 3:00-5:00 p.m. Public Skating ·Me S1.M, CMUm 75', KM* fapon (12 «HJ MHhr) 5», ···rot AVAHAIUFM PRIVATE FARTKSAMUSSMS PMK348-M77 KEARSE ·*,10M LAUGHIIN - DELORES TAYLOR. ^CURKHOWAT ·Sc«flpUrHiFRMK«(TERfS»CHRSIIH* PioOucrt b,lURV ROSE SWTI-ttcKlrt b| 1C. FRANK A Hilion»i Studtnt Film dxpontion Production · TECHNICOLOR" _C«j*g»tlng Wtrntr trot. SWi Anniotrury »\a A Wtmtr Communication* Compiny Features: 7:36,9:28 TRAIL DRIVE-I Fcalurclle 8:45 Billy Jack 9:54 CHARLESTON,, W. VA'. 19s

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