Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 10, 1975 · Page 69
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 69

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 10, 1975
Page 69
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Page 69 article text (OCR)

Impressions of Horovitz A Tea for Plants Bv John Shuttleworth J Israel Horovitz, an impressive repertoire. It's here - gardening time again - and most likely you're spending a good part of every day out there in the vegetable patch, urging on your crops. .· How well those crops do, of course, depends on the state of the ground you tucked them into. Some important first steps toward a good harvest were taken way back last fall when (hopefully) you mulched the soil heavily, to a green manure crop or treated it to several good loads of animal droppings.-And, naturally, you'll have added compost, kitchen scraps and other organic fertilizer to the plot's surface and subsurface to ensure nourishment to the brew). This layer serves to filter the liquid and keep the manure from clogging the drain. Upon its top, place a circular piece of chicken wire weighted with a brick or stone to prevent the straw from floating. Next, shovel either fresh or dry manure into the drum until it's half full. (You may have to fill the container to the three-quarters level if the droppings are quite dry, or the fertilizer won't be of sufficient strength.) Then add warm water almost to the container's top (fluid from a pond or lake is recommended because its multitude of life will further enrich the "tea"). By Martha Smith WATERFORD, CONN.-Israel Horovitz is the undisputed darling of the National Playwrights Conference in progress at the Eugene O'Neill Memorial Theater Center here. He certainly is the playwright with the most clout and the most prestige. He has had professionally successful plays as well as a highly acclaimed screenplay, "The Strawberry Statement." Five of his plays have been premiered here. Horovitz was afforded the honor of having his latest one-act play "The ; Primary English Class" open the conference. The-play, a farce, was a rousing success. At a professional critique session, very few unkindly thoughts were ventured about the writer's work. He is a slight young man--mid- 30's--and inclined to moodiness. He doesn't like to answer questions about the symbolism of his work and he is given to the petulance common among very creative personalities. His play "The Primary English? Class" is, indeed, a thing of wonderment. Six people, each isolated by a language barrier, try to communicate in a classooom where they've met to learn the English language. Chaos frantic and frenzied results. The play is very clever farce. Horovitz, formerly associated with a prominent advertising agency, plays on words arid on the American fallacy of taking for granted that everyone knows what we mean, if you know what I mean. He presents one Italian, one Frenchman, one German, two Orientals, and a very obviously first- day-on-the-job American language teacher. Each speaks in his native tongue while an unseen translator repeatedly relates to the audience: "I don't understand a thing youV re saying." What we soon learn, however, through Horovitz's first outrageous word game is that all the students and the teacher have the same last name: wastebasket. The teacher is Miss Wastba (a name, she explains, shortened by her grandfather), and the others are LaPatu- miera, Mulleimer, Pong, Kuzukago and La Poubelle. Initially, there are some classic gags involving stumbling attempts, dictionary in hand, to converse in English ("How many years have you?" is used to ask someone's - · · - . . LaPatumiera chokes on a mint and helplessly attempts to explain that he needs someone to smack .him on the back. At the center of things, however, is Miss Wastba, admirably played by the conference's top young starlet Jill Eikenberry. At first uric- tious and gooey uvh'er attempts at patronizing friendliness to the foreign students, she gradually takes on Gestapo-like characteristics as she angrily demands that everyone cease speaking in his native tongue and talk only in English. That's impossible, of course, since everyone is there to learn to speak English. Miss Wastba is transformed from an anxious young teacher who babbles to the students as though they were preschoolers, to an hysterical bitch who slaps the hands of those who speak in their native languages. She openly lapses into ethnic sliirs as her inability to communicate becomes more pronounced. The audience laughs at the incredibly ridiculous scene as, one by one, the students are driven away in fear and desperation by Miss Wastba's intolerance and jncom- petence. And, one by one, as they exit the classroom, they are shot by an unseen maniac. It is clear they would rather risk being shot than remain in the relentlessly sadistic, utterly terrifying atmosphere of Miss Wastba's classroom. What essentially is learned in "The Primary English Class" is not about commuriication. It is a lesson in the primary intolerance of smug Americans toward those who don't speak our language. It is a reverse sensitivity session, a close examination of the hardline WASP philosophy, ironically embodied in a woman hired to introduce the English language and American customs to foreigners. The Horovitz brand ; af humor is not unlike the Neil Simon style. It plays on words, on outrageously unbelievable situations of farcial desperation. It is the sort of humor and writing that have won florovitz a reputation as the new playwright to watch. .···' Already he has WOT financial success with "the Indian Wants the Bronx," and his play "Line" has played for four years in Paris where Horovitz is held in high esteem. The latter play earned him a French critics' award. When "Indian" premiered here, incidentally, it starred a promising young actor named Al Pacino. The credit most recognizable to the masses is, ironically, for the screenplay "The Strawberry Statement." As is often the case, a young talent goes relatively un known in his native land but is a favorite abroad. Such is the situation with Horovitz's vast following in Europe. . . But he has a growing following in the U.S., if the acclaim and adoration shown him at the National Playwrights Conference is a good indication. He has a slight advantage here. Most of the dozen other playwrights must prove themselves against stiff critical observation from top-notch personnel in all aspects of theatrical production. . Israel Horovitz has proved himself. "The Primary English.Class" is merely an addition to his impressive repertoire. AU me same, j«u »-j * that Open the barrel's spigot, allow some parts of your garden need ex- the darkening liquid to run into a tra help as the summer goes on. bucket, dump it back into the drum Many plants (notably the vine . . . and repeat until the teapot s crops and cereal grains) are deep, contents have circulated at least heavv feeders that make severe de- three times through the manure mands on even highly fertile soils, and straw. Finally, close the con- During their period of greatest tainer with its wooden top and let productivity, they may require it set in the sun for a few days additional nutrition in the form of During the waiting period, the readily assimilated organic ferti- manure and straw will decompose^ J izersJ rapidly and the liquid will take on Liquids-- which rapidly pene- a dark-brown color. Suspended in trate to the vicinity of the roots and the water will be millions of tiny are taken up almost immediately particles of food for your growing - are the easiest foods for plants p i an ts. The longer the brew stands, to absorb. A number of concentrat- the richer the fertilizer will be. ed liquid organic fertilizers are After even two or three days in available commercially and can be the sun, the "tea" you draw of to used to supply the vital nutrients in feed the crops may have to be dilut- ttie form best utilized by your ed in order not to burn the roots. !, roDS · · - . . (Pond wateris recommended for crop . this purpose also.) It's best to fef- . . . ' » · tilize twice a week, with fluid of a light-brown color. If vou prefer, though, you can of- After all the brew has been fer your garden an excellent liquid drained from the "pot" and used on fertilizer without purchasing any the garden, the barrel should % such products. It's called "manure thoroughly cleaned and recharged, tea "and to make it you need only it's not necessary to scrub out the a supply of animal droppings and a inside, but try to remove all the o d device which you can put together straw and manure and add them to at no cost by means of careful the compost pile, scrounging The few inches of liquid that re- For starters, you'll need a dis- main in the very bottom will be carded 50-gallon oil drum. Cut the highly concentrated. Save this and top out and scrub the inside well to add it to the container after refiU- remove any trace of oil residue, ing the drum with pond water. Add a spigot; you may want to have Although the ".tea" you brew in U brazed permanently to the bar- this contraption isn't the kind that "i delights the human connoisseur, Concrete blocks, chicken wire, it's nevertheless relished by hun- fine wire screening and wood for gry, deep-feeding.plants... andin- the cover can all be salvaged from stead of marveling at your brew various repairs around yourhome- with meaningless adjectives, th stead. Manure - in excess of what crops will silently reward you with the teapot will need for a summer's delicious food. : feeding - is usually available just for the cost of hauling. * The manure teapot can be put to- setter in a weekend without much You can start a vegetable plot effort (the drawing is self-explana- that will maintain itself - just add torv) and be producing rich, dark carpeting! For more information, liquid fertilizer in short order. send 25 cents and a long, stamped, Operation of the device is equally self-addressed envelope to The simple Fill the barrel about one- Mother Earth News, Sunday Ga- fourth full-of straw (preferably zette-Mail Charleston, W. Va._ well rotted, to add its own bit of 25330. Ask for Reprint No. 191.

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