Bennington Banner from Bennington, Vermont on September 21, 1976 · Page 8
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Bennington Banner from Bennington, Vermont · Page 8

Bennington, Vermont
Issue Date:
Tuesday, September 21, 1976
Page 8
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"8--Bennington Banner, Tuesday, September 21, 1976 'Cherry Orchard' at the Big House . . - r t-.l_:...l M*A ift tko It -n CDttrr OnkarA" i n»fe It fcar Mil .7 AIM Ck*».T, 4ITBM I oa.m-7 Bmn, w» nrlmt toil riatl « Ike Pirk-MeClllllfk Bma, ««ja S» B.H. at lk Blf Bane, k7 Ike narlkere OilU Tieatre, wllk Ike fellnlit eait lad*p*ltefiMakaYa MerrlUBUefc Mtfekku Fetter Hannli Frail BebHUia Ckr!ito|kerNMk MllktwSkeele MartUBamfiifcl Dtkonk Stall RoberlSbaplro MarySfllfn MIckaelFleU EterettFlne TnBnarl 8«ra»»FlaUeklk CkarWU laiiiiall Yukl ATranp ASInftr DulelWoailmrr RacbflEufiler Getting all those characters into the grooves Tammy Grimes gofs through a spectrum of emotions during the taping of her latest children's album for Cardmon Records in Mew York. The a l b u m , entitled "Higglety Pigglety Pop!" is a collection of stories by noted children's author Maurice Sendak. And you wondered how they packed all those characters into those tiny little grooves! By JUDSON BROWN "We're not watching a play, we're eavesdropping," exclaimed a stout gentleman seated in the middle of the audience.*" It's as if we were standing in a closet and peering at them through a crack in the door." The audience of 35 was seated in the hallway of the Park- McCullough House yesterday afternoon for a most unusual production by the Marlboro Guild Theatre of Anton Chekhov's swan song, "The Cherry Orchard." Thefirst act was staged in the library (substituting for Liubov Andryeevna's "nursery"); the second took place on the veranda; the third in the front parlor and the final act in the library again. The setting in the Big House wasn't merely a novelty, but a logical enlargement of the action, which concerns itself totally with the demise of a Russian country estate. In a sense, the play is one long lamentation for the loss of the inheritance, and the pathos is increased by its being encompassed by its cause. The play's absurdity is equally enhanced. For instance the clerk, Twenty-two Misfortune's exasperated, hurried litUe steps seem especially comical as the floor squeaks under him. And the ancient manservant, Peers, is pathetically dwarfed by the Ceilidh at Williams Book review The 'conspiracy' against Mort Sahl HEARTLAND. By Mort Sahl. 158 piict HarcoiaM Brace JorcnoTlctL S7.9S. By ANATOLE BROYARD N.Y. Times News Service "When I introduced political commentary into my humor, making fun of Eisenhower, and, ater, Stevenson and Kennedy, t was unusual, largely original. was the first postgraduate humorist, the first witticist comedian. I don't call myself this. The people who came after -- Woody Allen, Shelley Berman, Dick Cavett, and the others, in declining order -lave at one time or another said that I was the pioneer, the first erson to introduce in- .ellectualism into stand-up comic routines, the first American humorist to make iconoclasm capture an audience." This is Mort Sahl speaking, in ; · ' H e a r t l a n d , " h i s autobiography, and you can see 'by the tone of this passage that ·ther$ is not much left of the ·humor that once made Sahl a Culture hero of the irreverent. JJe tells us that there is a '"conspiracy" that has kept him from working for the last ·several years. He has been blacklisted, he says, for insisting that "the government" murdered John F. Kennedy and Covered it up with the Warren "Report. · Some people, Sahl admits, say that he is out of work because he is not funny any more, that he has become obsessive, if not paranoid, about Kennedy's assassination. And indeed there seems to be some truth in what they say. It is difficult to see how the Mort Sahl who wrote "Heartland" could hold an audience who had come to be entertained. Even before the book turns into a jeremiad in its last half, it is not very amusing. As anyone who has ever seen him knows, free association was Mort Sahl's forte. Perhaps, when he was at his best, his mind was quicker on its feet than any other comedian's. He would come out on stage and simply let his imagination bounce off the incongruities that were never lacking in American life. His humor was funny enough and pointed enough, according to him, to move Joseph P. Kennedy to hire him to write lines for his son John's presidential campaign. In what seems like an early hint of his paranoid tone, Sahl implies that John F. Kennedy dropped him after he won the election. Everybody, in his version, seems to have dropped him. Sometimes Sahl appears to be suffering from delusions of grandeur. He opens "Heartland" with the following statement: "My experience is meaningless unless seen as a microcosm of America for 10 years. Here is the pain and the ecstasy of a conscience out of control. It's not written in retrospect or triumph. It's a statement from the eye of the hurricane." In a passage like this, the author sees himself as a sort of comic Billy Graham. He is not charitable. His pictures of his friends sound as if he was defending himself against any imputation of gratitude. He compares Paul Newman, a fairly close friend, with Marlon Brando and dismisses Newman as much less interesting. Johnny Carson, who has had Sahl on his show, is labeled "Prince Valium." We are told that Harry Belafonte exploits his white friends, that Woody Allen is "dangerous" because he represents "the degeneration of the Jew as a social force." Speaking of funny, there are precious few funny lines in "Heartland." The best one is about Sahl's first wife: "We would have broken up except for the children. Who were the children? Well, she and I were." Even here, his timing is bad. "The average Communist in America made $150,000 per picture." In view of the notorious Hollywood blacklist, thislinemay not be funny at all. "I used to go out exclusively with actresses and all other female impersonators." This generalization is too broad to be truly witty and that "all other" is obscure. "I don't think that women think about honor as anything but a weakness. Women are not romantics and have no mercy." It sounds as if America's "first witticist comedian" is a male chauvinist. DRIVE-IN THEATRE Rt.7Norlhside Drive 447-7053 CLOSED TON/Tf REOPENING FRI.-SAT.-SUN. WITH TRIPLE TERROR SHOW RAW MEAT CANNIBAL GIRLS THE DEVILWITHIN HER ! ENDS TODAY! He's back in action! UIR BAWDY AIIVE.VTTHES OF STARTS WED. Jan-Michael Vincent Marilyn Hassett R n. (and all NEW) ifciNEMAI'l Adventure into the Unknown SHADOW OFTHE HAWKn ENDS TODAY! STARTS WED. Jack JOHN WAYNE LAUREN :* BACALL "THE ^ SHOOTIST" The last half of "Heartland" is a boring and repetitious screed against the Central Intelligence Agency and anyone who won't listen to Sahl's conspiracy theory of the Kennedy assassination. The conspiracy theory of politics is probably the most crippling, syndrome in American thinking. When Sahl was in good form, he could have done a wonderful take-off on it. He uses the conspiracy theory to explain the loss of his audience too. On television, he always had the highest ratings: in the theatre, his show was always sold out. Yet mysterious forces canceled his show, even as crowds clamored for tickets. The unscrupulous greed of his producers, as he would probably put it, bowed down to a higher force. "There is no political left in America," Sahl says, striking out almost at randoin'. "The liberals in America are truly the ' : e'n'emies." While there are those who would agree with this last statement, the reader is given no idea what prompted Sahl to make it. So far as one can tell, most of his best fra..ds were liberals. One wonders what caused Mort Sahl to turn sour, to decline from one of America's best comedians into a bore. It is possible that he burned himself out, that no man can free- associate to American life, can fish for incongruity, all day every day and survive undamaged. WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. The Williams Pipe Band will inaugurate their first full performance season with a ceilidh in the Weston Language Center at Williams College on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. All are invited to attend, free of charge. The featured performers will be members of the Williams Pipe Band, including Williams College juniors Jim Nail, Ed Need and John Gilbert, sophomores Doug Goralski, Alison Morgan, Andy Masetti and Bron Fargo and Best Sellers: (UPI - Publishers' Weekly) Fiction Trinity - Leon Uris Dolores -- Jacqueline Susann Touch Not The Cat -- Mary Stewart The Lonely Lady - Harold Robbins Ordinary People - Judith Guest The Deep -- Peter Benchley The Pride of the Peacock -Victoria Holt Agent in Place -- Helen Maclnnes Crowned Heads -- Thomas Tryon Noniiction Passages: The Predictable Crises of Adult Life - Gail Sheeny The Final Days -- Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein Your Erroneous Zones -- Dr. Wayne W. Dyer A Year Of Beauty and Health -- Beverly and Vidal Sassoon Scoundrel Time -- Lillian Hellman Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughter -- Loretta Lynn and George Vecsey A Man Called Intrepid: the Secret War -- William Stevenson Williamstown resident Bruce Peters. The members of the band will play selections of marches, slow airs and strathspeys from their repertoire. Also appearing with the band will be Donald F. Lindsay, resident instructor at the In- vermark College of Piping in Petersburg, N.Y., and Norman McLeod of Pittsfield, Mass. Lindsay, the piping instructor of the band, and McLeod, the band's drumming instructor, will perform a wide variety of traditional Scottish music. Ceilidh, the Gaelic word for "a visit," has come to mean an informal gathering at which traditional Scottish music, dances, and poetry are performed. Highland dances, traditional ballads and readings from the 18th century Scottish poet, Robert Burns will be presented by members of the band and their special guests. great front door before which, at the conclusion, all the others having departed in their various directions, he lies down as if to die. At times, the house disguised the action, or diverted one's attention away from what would, in a conventional theatre, be center stage, to the wings, as in the party scene. For this act, I was seated in the back row. I couldn't see over the heads of the people in front of me, and the piano music coming Lecture on Shaker textiles SCHENECTADY, N.Y. "Shaker Textiles: Part of an American Tradition," an illustrated lecture, will be presented by Beverly Gordon at Schenectady Museum on Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. Textiles and textile activities of the Shakers - spinning, weaving, dyeing, sewing; linens, rugs, chair seat tapes and cushions, quilts -- will be explored. The ways in which these textiles reflect the lives and attitudes of the Shakers and the ways in which they fit into the American tradition will be discussed throughout the talk. Beverly Gordon is, and has been for the past three years, textile interpreter at Hancock Shaker Village, Hancock, Mass. A graduate of Goddard College with a masters degree in textile arts, she is author of the forthcoming Directory of Resources in Domestic American Textiles. She is currently researching and working on a book specifically about the Shakers. Ms. Gordon will be showing some pieces from the Hancock Shaker collection in addition to her excellent slide-selections. The public is cordially invited. Admission for museum members is $1 and $2 for nonmembers. from behind me in the library overwhelmed the dialogue. Portions of the main action in the parlor took place behind a wall. So I found myself - along with many others - watching all the quite noticeable to and fro around the samovar in the hallway, and only being aware of the drama as, at a cocktail party, one might be aware of conversation occurring two or three intimate dusters away. Despite this, I didn t feel missed the scene. I heard enough to get the sense of what was going on, and that was enough, when mixed with all the dense peripheral detail, to keep the dramatic tension alive. Or to put it another way, as long the house was alive, so was the play, and the house was being very much occupied. Of course, the play would not succeed without some very strong performances and these were given in abundance. The play will be given again next Monday at the Park- McCullough House. It is definitely worth a visit. D R I V E - I N .ATHAWAY'S Ml N Of HOOSICK FALLS. N V ENDS TONITE -- 2 HITS CONTINUOUS FROM DUSK 2ND COMEDY HIT RUNVIRGIN R U N ( R ) 'The Quest': TV's only Western NEW YORK (UPI) - The sharply eroded rocks and scrub growth, the galloping horses and galumphing plots, the clean-*aven heroes and dirty villain, and out of the past come the thundering hoofbeats of the lone strangers -- the classic Western rides again. That's NBC's "The Quest," the sole surviving television Western, its cliches intact and worth preserving on a screen- land gone mad with careening cars and people trying to be funny by screaming at each other. The special tour-and-a-half premiere episode goes on the air Sept. 22, 9:30-11 p.m., Eastern time, and in future weeks will subside into a 10-11 pjn. slot. The younger set will have to find its cowboys and Indians elsewhere -- "The Quest" flunks as "family hour" fare. Its first chapter spills considerable blood and gore, and the heroine goes from rape to prostitution to a proposal of marriage. The competition consists of "The Blue Knight," a CBS carry-over from last year that didn't overwhelm in the ratings, and ABC's new "Charlie's Angels," about three beautiful girl detectives working for the never-seen Charlie, which gives "The Quest" a fair shot at cutting the competition off at the pass. "The Quest" made its first appearance in a gem of a pilot movie last spring, with guest star Brian Keith outshining everybody in sight. That's not to knock Kurt Russell and Tim Matheson as "the legendary Baudine brothers," in quest of their sister captured many years ago by the Cheyenne. Russell plays Morgan, Indian name "Two Persons," recently rescued by the Cavalry after having been raised as the blondest Indian this side of Central Casting. Matheson plays Quentin, the brother who escaped the raid in which the senior Baudines were killed. In this episode the boys join forces with Richard Egan, an army captain who leads a punitive raid on a group of marauding Indians. The Indians have a white woman among them. During the bloody battle, in which soldiers scalp Indians, the woman is rescued. She isn't themissing sister -- if she were, that would end "The Quest." The girl, incidentally, was a blonde. If she had been a brunette, she probably would have been knocked off as just another squaw, proving that even in the televised Old West, blondes have more fun. The girl goes through considerable travail, unwanted in the white world even at church services and unable to return to the Indians. She has the support of the Baudines, even though she nearly takes up a life of prostitution on the rebound from having been raped by, of all people, a grown-up Russ Tamblyn. "The Quest" doesn't have to look far to find out where its next cliche is coming from, but as a one-of-a-kind it boasts a basic appeal and could become a real winner if the writing showed the originality, care and humor of the pilot. Another newcomer to come to bat Sept. 22 is "Ball Four," the baseball sitcom based on Jim Bouton 's book of the same name and starring Jim Bouton. WCAX-TY 7:00 t, 9.00 Rt. «7A Bcnnlnolon, Vermont (802) «2-«17?_ LOCAL FRESH CIDER LOCAL FRESH" MAC APPLES'.s I 29 ';;«'2 49 Madkour's £3.* S i VI A i N S T p f N N i N f , TON ,....,,, . S A T 8 T U 6 F R I T I L · S U N D A Y I T I L I T 55 SPRING S T R E E T JHI WILLIAMSTOWIM -·--i ^- MASS -"-^ 413 458561? "ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST" Sun.-Mon.-Tues. 7:009:15P.M. Mlk« Forman direct) Jack Nlchotnon and LnUae Fletcher In Ken Keaer'a nrlHit and fnentetlc tale of nUlnkn In the Laulhlni Academy. Winner of ft Academy Awarda. A fine and Important film. (197S) HOLLYWOOD SQUARES 7*941 NOW ON 1 ·JI9 A NEW NIGHT Take nine elating stais, thousands of dollars in prizes, and put them together with host Petei Marshall. It s the fast -moving, f u n - f i HOLLYWOOD SQUARES. THE TONY ORLANDO AND DAWN RAINBOW HOUR « *4fcA NEW! DIFFERENT! ·\W\W DELIGHTFUL AS A RAINBOW LIT UP WITH LAUGHTER! It s oil now. Fiesh. D i f f e i e n t . Tony. Hopkins, Joyce Vincent Wilson. |Oineci by George Cailm, in an hour of s c i n t i l l a entertainment. M * A * S * H 9 «||||THREE ·Iflf FACE THE ENEMY ALONE! The 4077th pull* out as the enemy advances. Leaving Hawkeye, Hot Lips and Radai behind to caie fot a c r i t i c a l l y ill patient Alda, Hany Moi(]on, L o i e t t a S w i t Fanell, Gaiy Burghoff, Lany Linville, Jaime Fair star SWITCH DISC JOCKEY'S WIFE VICTIM OF MURDERING PIRATES! Thf prrcil Rohcrl W STAY TUNED FOR "NIGHT BEAT' 1 AT 11:00 P.M.

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