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4The Daily Tar HeelFriday, November 17, 1989
n a season of sequels, Stoppard play takes center stage
Broadway audiences finally have
Something to cheer about.
: In a season that will bring New York
(heater-goers gems such as "Annie 2:
the Sequel Based on the Comic Strip",
TFame: the Musical Based on the Tele-
Vision Show Based on the Movie" and
VKiss of the Spider Woman: the Musi
cal Based on the Motion Picture," a rare
treasure of originality will slip in. Tom
Stoppard' s newest play, "Artist De
scending a Staircase," now playing at
Duke's Bryan Center, is on its voyage
to the Great White Way. Hallelujah!
Stoppard, known to American audW
ences for Tony Award winning Best
Plays "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Are Dead" and "The Real Thing," has
created one of the best new theatrical
endeavors of the decade. His genuinely
rich script is nothing short of brilliant.
Blasting away at every convention
of the theater, Stoppard breaks new
ground with a seemingly traditional
mystery. The play opens with
Beauchamp and Martello, two aged
artists who accuse each other of mur
dering their lifelong friend, Donner.
Donner has seemingly been pushed over
the railing of the staircase in their shared
The only evidence in the mystery is
a bit of audio recording that caught the
sounds of Donner's last minutes: a
snoring sound, two footsteps, the words
"Ahh, therefyou are," a smack and the
sound of Donner falling down the stairs
to his demise.
Absolutely! Stoppard is at his come
dic best throughout the play, making
murder a suitable game for black humor
and proving that anything is fair game
in his world.
The play progresses backwards
through time, scene by scene in a series
of memories from a summer afternoon
in 1 972 to a few hours earlier, to a week
earlier, to 1922, to 1920 and finally to
1914, where young Beauchamp ex
claims, "When I look back at my life,
this is as far as I want my memory to
go." The play proceeds forward after
this point in a symmetrical pattern until
the time arrives again at the beginning
of the play.
The play focuses on the love quad
rangle between the artists in their early
years and a beautiful, sensitive blind
woman. Sophie is their ideal: witty,
charming and intelligent. But unfortu
nately she is dependent upon them for
guidance. When they can't accomo
date her, she leaves their lives. It is only
later in life that they begin to realize
Stoppard's talent is not limited to the
ingenious time design or the beautiful
plot. Rather, he uses these elements as
devices to further his own philosophi
cal points. Each character at some point
or another takes on the voice of the
author. One character will suddenly
point out the elusiveness of linear time,
saying "Oh, dear, I'm telling every
thing from back to front!"
According to Stoppard in the text,
"Art consists of constant surprise. Art
should never conform. Art should break
its promises." This play is art by its own
definition. When it feels like a bitter
sweet love drama, the play suddenly
twists into a sardonic philosophic state
ment. When it's tired of that, it be
comes a satirical whodunnit or a nostal
gic memory. The play has too many
levels to realize in one viewing.
Direction and performances are
equally wonderful. Everything about
the production is whole and solid, in
tentional but not heavy-handed. The
parallels are abundant, as scenes be
tween the old men (played by Harold
Gould, John McMartin and Paxton
Whitehead) are reminiscent of scenes
seen later between their young counter
parts (played by Michael Cumpsty,
Michael Winther and Jim Fyfe). Scenes
with Sophie, played by Stephanie Roth,
playing sensory games remind us pain
fully of the love and regret the old men
feel for their memory.
The play is about culminations of
life, about lost dreams and misunder
standings, about the impermanence of
man and the beauty of man. But Stop
pard warns against taking the play too
seriously, making interjections such as,
"What may seem difficult to you may
be simple for the artist."
It seems almost ludicrous to praise
these actors, as they are the cream of
Broadway's most established actors as
well as New York's fastest rising stars.
Their work collectively is solid, believ
able and honest. British director Tom
Luscombe's work shines throughout
the production. Staging, sets and light
ing are equally impressive.
(An interesting note: Michael
Cumpsty is a UNC graduate. He came
from Britain via South Africa, received
his B.A. in dramatic arts, his M.F.A.,
and then became a faculty member
here. Seniors may remember him from
their Drama 15, 16 or 35 classes.)
"As flies to ... boys are we to the
gods," Stoppard surmises, bringing his
play to an end. It is pure theatrical
Run, don't walk, to your telephone.
Call the Duke Box Office at 684-4444
for tickets to tonight's or tomorrow
night's performance. After that, it's
gone to New York to reach a sea of art
starved theater aficionados. Or, of
course, you could wait and see it on
your next trip to Manhattan, rather than
seeing "Cats...Part Nine" for the fifty
Lab Theatre presents hysterical, comic view of 'Private Wars'
By JESSICA YATES
Assistant Arts and Features Editor
Death and destruction are words that
come to mind when people think of
war. But the Lab Theatre's newest play,
. "Private Wars," by James McLure,
downplays the tragedy of war with the
touching, humorous story of three
Vietnam veterans in a hospital.
"The whole thing about the show is
that it's hysterical, but the reasons
behind the comedy are serious," said
Chris Briggs, a junior dramaEnglish
major from Lexington, who plays the
veteran Silvio. "You can see these guys
have real problems."
The action is set in 1972 and focuses
on characters in their mid-20s. "They
could leave the hospital anytime they
want," said John Bland, a senior Eng
lish major from Charlotte. Bland plays
Woodruff Gately, one of the veterans
and a character McLure described as
childlike and intellectually slow.
The other two veterans have con
flicting personalities. Silvio is trying to
come to grips with his family and his
occasional outbursts of violence.
"(Silvio) is Italian-American, street
wise and tough, but not cruel," Briggs
But the third veteran, Natwick, is on
the opposite side of the spectrum. A
native of Long Island, Natwick, played
by Ian Williams, a senior musicpsy
chology major from Arcadia, Calif., is
wealthy and very sensitive. "He's defi
nitely a mama's boy, but he's not a total
prick," Williams said. "He's got a good
The production revolves around
Gately, the youngest of the veterans,
who is trying to fix a radio. "It's an
accomplishment for him," Bland said.
"Since he's been back from the war,
he's failed everything."
S il v io and Natwick bel ieve they have
a duty to teach Gately about the impor
tant things in life: Silvio as an instructor
in sex and Natwick as a mentor of
aestheticism and morality. "They have
a strange relationship," Williams said.
Bland agrees. "They're very differ
ent characters," he said. "But all their
CHAPEL HILL 967-8665
"Tins IS WHAT GOING TO THE MOVIES IS ALL ABOUT!
It reaffirms everything that is wonderful about life!'
Cl . Jeffrey Lyons. SNEAK PREVIEWS
llt.r.1 i txt1 m
v r rawest
' KINTEK STEREO
2:00 4:20 7:00 9:20
CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS
WOODY ALLEN MARTIN LANDAU
MIA FARROW ALAN ALDA
2:15 4:30 7:15 9:30
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Friday, Dec. 1
Corner of Franklin & Henderson streets
In front of Post Office
Chamber of Commerce
This space provided as a public service by the Daily Tar Heel
problems combined turn the show into
something totally hysterical." The ac
tors concurred that the bar scene, in
which Silvio tries to teach Gately how
to pick up Catholic girls by pretending
to be a priest, is probably the funniest
scene in the play.
Aside from the humor, the play
addresses the notion that "there are
private wars in all of us," Bland said.
Silvio, for example, "has a bizarre
tendency toward violence that he had
perfected in the war, but now he is in the
real world, and his skills don't apply,"
Briggs said. "He's very obsessed with
sex. Sex is violent to him, and I guess a
lot of people see it that way."
The common thread of the character's
involvement in the Vietnam War sim
ply serves as a backdrop for the play,
rather than a focus. "I believe (McLure)
is a Vietnam veteran," said director
Paul Goodson, a senior business ad
minstrationtheater major from Char
lotte. "His plays often center around
people who have somehow been
touched by the Vietnam War. In this
play, the war is a vehicle to show three
human beings needing each other."
But Bland is quick to explain that the
play is not about the United States'
involvement in Vietnam. "It's not a
war-protest play at all," he said.
Williams agreed. "He talks more
about men's underwear than the war."
"Private Wars" will be performed
in the Lab Theatre at Graham Memo
rial as a public preview on Saturday at
8 p.m. It also will be presented Sunday
and Monday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., and
Tuesday at 5 p.m. All shows are free of
charge. Ticket distribution begins 45
minutes before the show.
Volleyball favored io ACC toumey
By DOUG HOOGERVORST
The only problem with being num
ber one is that there is no place to go but
down. The North Carolina volleyball
team faces this dilemma going into this
weekend's Atlantic Coast Conference
Tournament being held in Hilton Head,
The Tar Heels are the ACC's de
fending champions and will enter the
tournament as the top seed. UNC went
6-0 in conference play during the regu
lar season, and after a first-round bye
North Carolina will face the winner of
the Clemson-Maryland game Sunday
at 5 p.m. For the year, UNC's record
stands at 19-8.
Though the team went through the
regular season undefeated in the ACC,
North Carolina assistant coach Eddie
Matthews said that no one in the con
ference can be overlooked.
"We definitely are not looking past
anybody," Matthews said. "Right now,
we're preparing for Clemson or Mary
land." North Carolina beat Maryland in
College Park in three games but needed
all five games to beat Clemson in
Carmichael Auditorium on Nov. 3.
"When we played Clemson here, we
went five games with them," Matthews
said. "We came on at the end, playing
better to win, and I know our girls
remember that. I'm sure Clemson 's girls
remember that, too."
Clemson, the league's toughest serv
ing team, is led by hitters Tisha Green
and Wendy Anderson. Green, a junior
college transfer, has given the Tigers a
big boost on offense, and setter Jenny
Yurkanin has been a calming force on
f ? - j
f; - ym
German averages 5.22 kills per game,
fifth in the country, and hits at a .378
clip, good for tenth in the nation and
tops in the ACC. Berg pounds out 4.46
kills per game, is second in the ACC
with 0.66 aces per game and leads UNC
"It's going to be a team effort (for us
to win)," Matthews said. "There can be
no one individual carrying us even
though Sharon and Liz are playing well
for us on the outside. It's going to be
everyone on the floor and everyone on
Behind the Dynamic Duo are setter
Amy Peistrup, hitters Paula Martin,
Mel Mroczek and Seresaa Setzer, block
ers Chris White, Lisa Joffs and Carolyn
Flanders and defensive players Miriam
Fulford, Patti Hopkins and Summer
Each has stood out for a period of
time, but it has been the emergence of
the freshman Peistrup as a consistent
setter (third in the ACC with 9.57 as
sists per game) that has helped propel
the Tar Heels this season. North Caro
lina will need a big weekend from the
freshman, who seems to thrive under
"Amy's been playing better as the
season's gone on," Matthews said.
"She's been practicing very intensely,
and we're expecting that this weekend
should be a good weekend for her. She
seems to respond well under pressure
and in big matches."
from page 1
the floor, averaging over nine assists a
Playing the fourth-seeded Tigers is
not a given, though. Maryland, the fifth
seed, lost to Clemson in a five game
barn-burner just a week ago and is a
well-balanced team (third in the ACC
in hitting percentage at .266 and in digs
per game at 17.12). Matthews called
Maryland an up-and-coming team.
"They're going to be a team to reckon
with in the future," Matthews said.
The Tar Heels' story is the same as
it's been all season. UNC is led by the
ACC's all-time kill leader, Sharon
German (1 ,841 career kills), and junior
Liz Berg. The German-Berg punch is
the ACC's most lethal pair, first and
second in the conference in kills per
An Evening with Mike Cross
UNC G Campus Activities Board
Saturday, November 10th9 8PM
Rycock Ruditorium, Greensboro, NC
Tickets Ruailable at Rycock Boh Office
$3 Advance $io at the door
For more Information call 334-5546
a substantial push in the economy of the
area. It would seem a little strange to
make them pay more for stimulating
Giduz said the University should see
the tax as an opportunity "for steward
ship as a good corporate citizen of this
Smith Center Director Jeff Elliott
said the tax would mean less money per
ticket for artists and promoters, and
consequently fewer entertainers at the
center. "It puts us at a disadvantage at
enticing concerts to come here.
"For example, if we have to keep the
ticket price at $20 and have to take a
dollar out, that would be less for the
artist and the promoter.
"The place where they can make the
most money and it's strictly a busi
ness decision is the place where
they're going to go."
Ticket prices for entertainment are
set by artists and promoters, not build
ing owners, Elliott said. "It's not that
easy to tack on $ 1."
And by making the center less at
tractive to entertainers, the tax would
hurt the center in an increasingly com
petitive performance-site market, Elli
ott said. "I would be more favorable to
this if it were statewide. It would be
unfair to single us out."
The Smith Center is contending with
sites in Charlotte, Greensboro and
Winston-Salem to attract performers,
WITEI A FANTASTIC
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is more than a job. You will have the opportunity
to improve your skills in:
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PLEASE ATTEND ONE OF OCIR INTEREST MEETINGS
Fri.,Nov. 17, 12:30 p.m.
Mon Nov. 20, 4:00 p.m.
Tue., Nov. 21, 6:30 p.m.
ROOM 2 1 1 m THE CAROLINA UNION
APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE AT THE INTEREST MEETINGS ONLY!
Orientation Office, 962-8521
Division of Student Affairs
Giduz said the tax would be good on
a statewide basis. The N.C. House of
Representatives two years ago passed a
$ 1 tax on Greensboro Coliseum tickets,
and Charlotte has been interested in an
entertainment tax for the Charlotte
Coliseum, he said.
Elliott said any Smith Center profit
was evenly divided between athletic
scholarships and a reserve fund for
Profits in the concert business are
not always guaranteed, Elliott said. "We
have to rely on promoters to bring events
here. Some years you can generate a
tremendous amount of revenue, and
other years you can't."
The center sells between 150,000
and 225,000 tickets a year, not includ
ing basketball tickets, Elliott said.
Revenue from ticket sales, which is
essentially rental fee charged to enter
tainers, is between $500,000 and
$600,000 a year, he said.
The center made a profit two years
ago, but only broke even last year,
Martina Ballen, the athletic
department's business and finance di
rector, said a tax would also affect
athletic ticket sales, regardless of
whether ticket prices were actually
RaCiSm from page 1
her retrospective view with an account
of a graduate from the 1970s, who said
she had benefited from the visions of
Suggestions of going to the sources
department chairmen, University
administration, and community and
state legislators all focused on the
need for persistent confrontation.
"The first step in coping is to realize
we're in a war," Stone said. "We must
address short-term problems, and at the
same time make long-range propos
als." Stone said four aspects were crucial
to the success of the anti-racism cru
sade: the need for students in the same
major area of study to organize; the
need for an office of minority concerns;
the construction of a new Black Cul
tural Center, and the need for a depart
ment of African-American Studies.
"You actively and formally let people
know your dissatisfaction. You go
everywhere black people are gathered
and recruit as you go along.
"We need to go to a new level in our
struggle against racism."