The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on August 31, 1975 · Page 17
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August 31, 1975

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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 17

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Sunday, August 31, 1975
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can't win 'em all JOAN BUNKE Breehtwbik. MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. - The best-laid ,555**M«» of theater-goers often go astray. A protection anticipated as the season'! keystone eta disappoint even the most loyal admirer of a theater's style. .._NtoJW*poli«' Guthrie Theater has eitab- umd a reputation for mounting fine prcdoc* tig* id! Bertolt Brecht's playsTlta "Caucasian Caalk Circle" and "Arturo Ui" stagings in patt •easoas have often been cited as models of Brech V'Mother Courage and Her Children," Au *°' ^ dwwnstrates that even the coon* Cin fmBbte *?' i Jl t y t f 011 * 1 tbe Proton. Directed by Eugene £* t > t S d««in«r.manager of the Jo Lechay Dance , which has been based at Iowa City, la. W 2lL b Sf oro °P* nln * nl « ht » Uon 108t "• Motaw ?'? Patricla Conoll y' ln ***** dlMfreements stijlnf. Fortunately, another of the Guthrie's best actresses, Barbara Bryne, took over. Then a week before open- inf, KtrsnLaMrjr replaced another actress as the play's Yvette, the whore. Added problems **»• n»J<* changes would have been damage the production's rhythm and orientation, wicature and grotesquerie that confuse the mgt<»eii bis use oft new transUOoo by Robert HeUman, resident playwright of the new Guthrie 2 Theater. Peter Michael Goetz, left, and Jeff Chandler star with Barbra Bryne ^in the Guthrie Theater's production of "Mother. Courage and Her Children" at Minneapolis. tollman's translation leans heavily on breezy slang, which drains the play of the direct force given it by Eric Bentley's more formal but also more pointed version. Brecht'a thematic songs in this drama with music aren't helped by the translation-either. ' "Mother Courage" wouldn't be easy to stage In any case, but Lion's pastiche of styles and the loose translation make the point of Brecht's morality play even more difficult to grasp theatrically than it is inherently. Lack of unity Lack of unity scuttles most of the play's intended effects. A fine visual set-piece is followed by a. caricature, which in turn may be followed by another fine tableau. The pacing suffers from the mix of styles and the thrust stage doesn't permit transitions to be made subtly. Ms. Bryne works heroically at delineating her opportunistic character, and in the second night of the run summoned up a considerable amount of the force that this "hyena of the battlefield" needs to spell out Brecht's theme. "Mother Courage" is set in Europe's Thirty Years War, In the early Seventeenth Century. Its wagon-pulling "heroine," Anna Preiling, is provisioner to any army that, passes. Compromises and concessions are her business tools as scavenger on the misery of others. She learns nothing from war but a debased kind of survival and her three children, representing the virtues of bravery, honestly and kindness, are killed while she makes her commercial compromises. Bryne's style makes much of the play work, though she lacks the physical stature and presence for a truly dominating Mother Courage - or she did at the beginning of the run. With more time in the role, it's probable that her characterization will grow and that some of the scene shifts will straighten themselves put. Perhaps even the pace will pick up and the play's climactic drum scene will acquire a thrust that it .lacked at the beginning. Jack Barkla's set, which uses a wagon platform with wheels 10 feet high, provides some solid focus for the production, and that, too, promises to help solve some of the unity problem. Even if all of the difficulties are not resolved, this conception of "Mother Courage" is the kind of high failure that merits credit for its towering, if confused, ambition. Low success The Guthrie's other new production this month Is the opposite—a low success. It's the late British playwright Joe Orion's "Loot," a 1960s protest play that flails the sins, crimes and hypocrisies of the Establishment, the middle class, the "there'll always be an England" England. "Loot" is skillfully mounted, well acted, consistently funny -and old hat. The "black comedy" that shocked the British in the 1960s with attacks on middle-class virtues, police procedures, the Catholic Church and anything else handy that had a "sacred" Ken Ruta, left, as the cop Truscott, and his colleagues at the Guthrie Theater create a sardonic satire in Joe Orion's "Loot." image seems tame now in the light of subsequent questionings of authority. Tame, but funny, as seen about two weeks into the run. Ken Ruta, a Guthrie stalwart who can be relied upon to come through with a creative characterization, does a hilarious turn^s the venal cop, Truscott, investigating the funeral-and- bank-robbery goings-on at the McLeavy household. Under Tom Moore's cohesive direction, Ruta gets able comedy help from Eric Christmas as the spluttering McLeavy and Cara Duff- MacCormick as the conniving nurse. "Loot" and "Mother Courage" are playing in repertory with a slick production of "Arsenic and Old Lace" and a cool, interest-compelling version of "A Streetcar Named Desire." BataasaaS^BHSSaSllHBHSSflBJBJBJB^B^BMBVBMBMBBBMBBlVBl LBJ confidante DES MOINES SUNDAY REGISTER • AefUtt 31,1178 Bv STEWART DILL McBRIDE •nwCrWMlM* CAMBRIDGE, MASS. all started the night Lyndon Johnson, waltzed with her across the White House ballroom..... Or should one go back to her Harvard student days and the peace marches? Or her childhood devotion to the Brooklyn Dodgers? Wherever you look Into her past, you are 'likely to find Doris Kearns standing out in the crowd. The young associate professor from Harvard, who has the. unassuming look of a small- town librarian, was a presidential protege and one of 16 women on last year's Time magazine list of America's "200 Future Leaders." She has a reputation for spending as much time on the Boston-Washington air shuttle as Senator Ted Kennedy. And her rapid-fire, humor- filled lectures have made her one of Harvard's most popular and rapidly rising teachers. . President psyohohistory Now Doris Kearns is Joining the club of presidential biographers. She is writing a controversial "psychohistory" of the life of Lyndon Johnson, based on several years of her private conversations with the late President. Her soon-to-be published work has tantalized and angered political scientists, prompted a lawsuit against her, and endangered her promotion to full professor in Harvard's Government Department. Doris Kearns first met President Johnson when she went to Washington as a White House Fellow in the summer of 1967. Until that time the then-24-year-old Harvard graduate student had been immersed in constitutional law books and antiwar demonstrations. She viewed Mr. Johnson as a "tyrant," and before her trip to Washington that summer had written an article for "The New Republic" magazine headlined "How to Dump LB.J.Inl968." Shortly after arriving in Washington, she ran into President Johnson at a White House reception. He asked her to dance ("three times!" she recalls) and Immediately took a fancy to the young academician, her oppostion to the Vietnam war, her intellectual strength, and her independence. She added-that-President Johnson had once said that she reminded him of his mother. Rebekah. President Johnson personally assigned her to White House duties, and during bis last year in office the two spent one hour every night talking before he went to bed. Rumors of romance circulated in the national press. "He just wanted someone to listen to him," says Kearns. During his final days in the White House and last years in Texas, President Johnson gave Kearns his life story — not to mention 12 electric toothbrushes. And her forthcoming biography, she saysr"grew out of^r desire to study a leader's life not only in terms of the historical setting and social forces shaping his decision but also bis emotions, family ties, and psyche, which have been shaping his actions throughout his life." Kearns portrays the late President as torn between two parents:-a refined, intelligent mother who read Shakespeare Doris Kearns and Milton to him and forced him to take violin and ballet lessons, and a hard-nosed farmer-politician father who made him hunt rabbits and preached a "never-back-down" life philosophy. She maintains that young Lyndon's fear of "becoming a sissy and coward" turned him toward the stubborness of his father — an attitude, she says, that was later reflected In his relentless Vietnam policies and distrust of intellectuals. Motherly instiacts His wish to be remembered in history as the "great provider" of the Great Society's social welfare programs evolved, she claims, out of his motherly Instincts. Ultimately, President Johnson "wanted to be loved" by his parents and the American people, says Kearns. The Johnson "psychobiogra- phy" was to be published this September by Basic Books, Inc. But a few months ago Kearns decided to coauthor the book with Richard Goodwin, whom she plans to marry this month. Goodwin was a speech writer for presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Kearns returned her $24,000 advance to Basic Books and the two signed a contract with Simon It Schuster for an advance of $150,000. Basic Books, charging that Kearns had benefited from extensive editing by its staff, threatened to file suit. This prompted' Harvard's Government Department to reconsider its earlier nomination of Kearns for tenure, previously expected to be awarded July 1* At the peak of the controversy — which aroused not only Cambridge academics but NewYork City's literary world and Capitol Hill politico* — Goodwin withdrew bis col* laboration to protect Kearns' reputation. No comment Harvard remains tightlipped about her future status on the faculty. (Kearns would become the .youngest and second female tenured member of the 25 in the Government Department.) According to Simon & Schuster, the Johnson biography will not be on the book stands before next spring. One night at the ranch, as Kearns tells the story, Mr. Johnson and his staff had just finished watching a home showing of the film "Rosemary's Baby" (accompanied by film shots of "LBJ in New England" and "Ladybird in the South") when the President decided to take a dip in the pool and invited his staff to join him. "Come on, my staff are 'can- do' people," he bellowed. But a fatigued Kearns wandered off to bed. The next morning at breakfast,, while the staff scolded her for not heeding the invitation of the Commander-in- Chief, President Johnson's voice boomed over the public address system: "Miss Doris!" She hurried to his room. Lying In bed covered with the morning's newspapers, he asked her why she hadn't gone swimming with him the night before. He added, "I like your Independence ... let's go swimming right now!" Short-livid dial "Another tune," she recalls, "Johnson decided to go on a diet. The next day 400 pounds of cottage cheese and Melba toast arrived at the White House and the entire ataff went on diets." Several days later, she says, : the President tired of the slim' •ming food and ordered boxes •of cupcakes and chocolates, •which the staff dutifully helped him consume. Kearns recalls the swimming and diet incidents as amusingly indicative of the problems facing the nation's insulated "democratic king," surrounded by a staff that is "accountable to no one and whose sole job is to anticipate the (presidential) whims and wishes." The withering of external checks and balances, weakened party organizations, and a crippled Congress has further allowed the executive to act unfettered, she observes. Yet presidential power may be illusory, a product of mod- era media's attempt to focus on personalities in the news. She points to public rejection of President Johnson's war policies as examples of both presidential isolation and Impotency. Unfortunately most of the American people will castigate their elected officials but few are willing to sacrifice their time and Income to enter the political system, she comments. "To most Americans, politics, when it isn't gossip, is simply abstract." Kearns thinks the answer will come in more "part-time" politicians who are able to balance politics with family and neighborhood life. Consequent- Jy they will not lose touch with ordinary people who are the "blood and guts of American politics." L.A. orchestra coming to Ames AMES, IA. - Members of the Ames International Orchestra Festival Association nay order tickets by mail beginning Sept. 1 for the Los Angeles Philharmonic concerts in November The public sale of tickets begins Oct. The Los Angeles Philharmonic will present four concerts in C.Y. Stephens Auditorium Nov. 12-15 to open the seventh annual season of the Ames International Orchestra Festival. Tbe early ordering of tick- eta is one of the benefits of membership in the Ames International Orchestra Festival Association. One-year memberships in AIOFA are available to individuals or families who make a contribution of $5 or more. Contributors of $25 or more are designated as sponsors and of $100 or more as patrons. Memberships reached 1,500 in the 1974-75 season. Contributions should be directed to AIOFA, Box 1243, Ames 50010. Zubin Mehta will direct the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Featured with the orchestra will be Gregor Piatigorsky, cellist, Nov. 12; Anna Green, soprano, and Noel Tyl, bass, in a Wagnerian program, Nov. 13; Itzhak Perlman, violinist, Nov, 14; a Piatigorsky- Perlman duet and the Iowa State University Festival Chorus, Nov. 15. Prices for each concert are IS, 17, |8, |9 and f 10, Students receive a $1 discount on all tickets. Mail orders should be sent to ISU Center Tickets, Ames 50011. The Los Angeles Philharmonic will be making its first appearance in the Ames International Orchestra Festival. Previous festivals have featured the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony and Boston Pops orchestras, London Symphony, Leningrad Philharmonic and Cleveland Orchestra. London heads opera society WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — George London, 55, Canadian bass-baritone, has been named general director of the Opera Society of Washington. He succeeds Ian Strafogel who will develop operatic projects in Europe and America. After appearing in musical comedy and touring to concerts, London- made bis debut at the Vienna Opera in 1949 and at the Metropolitan Opera in 1951. From 1968 to 1971 he was artistic administrator of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts here. In 1971 he did bis first operatic stage directing at the American Opera Center of the Juilliard School in New York, with "The Magic Flute." He has since directed for other American opera Bicentennial music WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - The woman with the enormous task of arranglag a series of concerts, by each of the SO states says: 'It's gratifying to me how the quality of music has improved In all the states." She Is Dr. MerteMontgom- cry, president of the National Music Council and past president of tbe National Federation of Music Clubs, positions that give her grounds to make a comparison. , She gave more than 200 lectures in 46 states from 1947 to 1153, and In the past two years or so has visited all 50 states as coordinator of the Bicentennial Parade of American Music being held at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts this year and next Trilyiiti.nl' The series Is one of the most truly national programs staged at what was originally designated the national cultural center. It presents at free concerts music written In or about each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia by American composers. The twilight concerts, supported by a grant of 1200,000 from Exxon Corp., started in May with Delaware - the order is that in which the states entered the Union. Seven bave been performed so far. South Carolina will appear next Thursday and the remaining original 13 colonies are scheduled this year. Mrs. Montgomery, whose 1.5-million member National Music Council is arranging state participation through its local chapters, said In an Interview that several factors are responsible for an upgrading of musical quality generally. For one, she said, "I can mention one after another who has trained at a major conservatory and'then gone back, home to teach and conduct" In addition, radio, television and records give a basis for comparison that didn't exist earlier. Qntapo . She noted that the entire series will be recorded on tape, and said, "It's a marvelous thing that In 100 years If anyone wants to know what music was like In 1976 they'll be able to hear It" The programs have varied The U.S. Postal Service Is going to make the Bicentennial year of 1976 the biggest in its entire history. One set of stamps will consist of a sheet of 50 stamps to honor all the states of the Union with each stamp bearing a different state flag. Another sheet of 32 stamps will reproduce the entire Declaration of Independence with each stamp showing a portion of the famed document. These ambitious postal undertaking* were recommended by legislators and citizens from all over the country. In addition, many state Bicentennial organizations expressed support for the issuance of stamps honoring individual states as well as the original 13. Flags on the 50-stamp sheet will be arranged in order of the states' admittance to the Union. The Colorado stamp hails both the state and the centennial of its admission. Colorado is the only state celebrating its centennial in 1976. In 1951 a stamp honored the seventy-fifth anniversary of that state's admission to the Union. These are only two of the big U.S. stamp sets upcoming next year. More will be announced soon. It is likely, therefore, that 1976 will see the greatest number of issues in any one year, but then again 200th anniversaries don't happen that often. Scott 1976 Catalog, Vol. 1 — $9.75 Vol.2 — $10.95 Plut Poitog* Special on Unil*d Nglioni, Vatican, Ivatl. All liltl Showgard Mounts. Walt Gr««n Stamp) I Suepli*!< 1630 Statt St.. Suit* 8, B«lt«ndoff, la. 52782. __ ___ UNITED 8TATU Scott 1976 Vol. 2 cat. 13.00, by mail 15.50. 1 b. U.S. mi*, an poptr 3.25. U fe. U.S. common, on pop* 4.75. Th» Stamp Corner, 200 R.U. IUg., 7th and Grand, D.M., la. 50309. _ ' widely. Delaware's was all contemporary music; Pennsylvania's and Massachusetts' were traditional; Georgia's was a mltture of styles, as will be South Carolina's. The program for South Carolina'! "Concert of Vocal and Instrumental Music" on 'Thursday tells the audience: "The performers beg leave to assure tbe public that the hall will be brilliantly Illuminated and that no collection will be taken." It includes one commissioned work, "Sonata After the St. Cecelia Society" by Gordon R. Goodwin of the faculty of the University of South Carolina. The St. Cecelia Society, organised in Charleston in 1702, Is the oldest musical society in the country. ^ There will be selection's from George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess," set in Charleston. Attendance in the 2,700-seat concert hall has ranged from a few hundred to nearly 1,400. Each of the states is raising money to help with the programs. The Iowa Legislature voted $17,000 to pay half the expenses, Mrs. Montgomery said, and Arkansas has budgeted the most so far, $41,000, with contests to choose the performers to come to Wash* ingtoo. AwNkftrTaxat Teias is likely to surpass that, planning a week-long ser- lea of .events at the Kennedy Center and elsewhere. Tesans expect to bus in 40,000 girls to see an opera about Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts. Several states are combining free and commercial concerts. The Paul Winter Consort played a Charles Ives program In the concert hall after the free performance; Ohio will present the Cleveland Orchestra after a free concert next Feb. 13. Wyoming will present a short opera written In honor of Its becoming the first state to adopt woman suffrage. It centers on Esther Morris, who took up the cause after her husband died and she found that her farmhands could vote, .but she couldn't Edgar Allen Poe wasn't from Minnesota, but that state has commissioned a 30-minute opera by Mtamesotan Dominlck Argent that speculates on what Poe might bave done in the last two lost weeks of his life. Alaska will produce a contemporary work, "From the Diary of a Parrot," with parrot sounds on tape, by native son Gary Smart. WORLDWIDE 50 diff.. IDc *i*« appro**. K. J. Co., Sex 105, 01110. CAPITOL • ftlMMMMTS ACTION CAMT.Iilt ...HMATlOiM. ANOATUiM 1 ST RUN A, *«^£,<x"SHAFT" STARLITE "TJI 33* TONIGHT. . .%? 3 ADULT ONLY FEATURES! • ATMOtliM* 1 ST RUN! ...TOO YOUNG TO KNOW BETTER JOO OLDTOSAYKO! UNDER <§> bCMM ...OfrMTATlklO... I ...MMMMTATlliM... "TIINAGI MILKMAID" 1 "MRS. I ARRINGTON" NOW. . . f DES MOINES SHOWING! WAKQNDA Wtim WEST-VUE «::;:TTTgrnr;T"-i-wi<;i*at:l:H D/uvf / "« 2/6-6602 TOMVUMO • »W MO • TdttMO 740 CART. Ml |THt MOST llrCKDItLE ENDINB OF Heaven help as til when A SANDY HOWARD Production -THE DEVIL'S RAIN' A MVANSTDN RELEASE •COLOR I •••^•••••"•"•^•"•••••••^^••^ — ANOATOMVI4NOW.V...aiMMFUTUIKII •» • AT 10,11 • I ~ ! •AT1140* THIIMCUOUTOOVUfV... I JAMMMOUNCVUIMVNNM "DARK STAR" |"WIST WORLD" — PLUS TONIGHT ONLY AT WEST-VUEI — PLAN TO COME EARLY FOR OUR HOLIDAY EVE FRHWHNiRKOASTI S.E.I4th. MILLION DOLLAR FOLD-OUTS WHO NEVER HOLDOUT! rff TONIGHT. . .Sff' 4 BIG FEATURES! THE STUDENT MPV (El •«?« SUMMER SCHOOL |IH( GIILS WITH THE CIKIMf OLD *MC1D» r _ «) AT 11:40 7HEY SHARED MORE THAN THEIR ROOMSI "•ROOMMATES" AND SPECIAL 1ST RUN BONUS ATTRACTION . •*"<"• MICKJAGGER "SympathyfortheDevUd+ir

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