Thursday, March 26, 1981Tha Daily Tar Heel5
: "Oy ANN SMAUAVCOD '
Huff Writer '.
Playmakers Repertory Company's latest produc
tion, its annual spring offering of a lighthearted
comedy, is Jan de Hartog's 1951 favorite The
Although the performance heralds the new sea
son with all the polished, professional pizazz we
have come to expect frorrtethis UNC-sponsored
Actor's Equity company, the play itself seems an
awfully outdated and shallow offering to present
to a university community.
- The Fourposter chronicles 35 years of a predic
tably funny and poignant marriage, in a series of
two-character vignettes set in an upper-class
couple's bedroom, in and around their four-poster
bed quintessential dinner theater fare.
The actors keep up a brisk pace within the scenes
(there are six), but the frequent breaks needed for
the actors to go offstage and age property make
the production seem to drag.
The play's humor is based on that ever-popular
theme of sex-role differences, or the respective
(and complementary) foibles of man- and woman
kind. All that stuff that makes marriage seem so
wonderful when you look BACK on it.
The Fourposter opens with the couple's 1890
wedding nightj when the characters must indulge
in the unbearable Victorian coyness involved in
undressing in front of the first member of the op
posite sex they've been alone with.
Then, there is the dreadfully CUTE way that the
actors (especially the flighty blonde wife) recite
their lines: VMichael! Please don't look at me so
cYeepill-!ee! Or those familiar aristocratic truisms: .
"Quiet dahling, the suhrvants will hear!" .
As the marriage moves on, we see the couple
cheat, fight, kiss and make up. Later they worry
about their wayward teen-agers, face their mid-life
crises, and. finally leave their home (and fourpos
ter) to grow old together.
The actors (Jeanne Cullen and Samuel Maupin)
handle their roles and age transitions well, and .
Peter Bennett" provides seme inspired direction,
but the play still seems rather c!d and tired. As the
husband so aptly observes in the Isstseene, "Every
thing we've said here this morning, we've said
Yes, yes. It's all been said. Even the wife tries to
say it in some of her last lines: "I wanted to leave...
a message... that mantes: is a good thing."
See how delightf ul this play is? Just as delightful
as On its opening in New York 30 years ago, but
more dated. At least I would like to hope marriage
has changed since, then that today a woman
wouldn't load down her paunchy husband with
four suitcases and a steamer trunk while she
blithely fiddles with her little clutch bag, or that a
father-to-be wouldn't say things like, "I'll take
him fishing, IF it's a boy." Bah. I don't think
members of my generation find those things funny.
Even so, ever, the unbiased reporter, I asked
some people leaving the theater with me what they
thought about the play. Did they really like it?
"Why yes," said the white-haired lady in front
'-of me. "I enjoyed every minute of it.- It was de
lightful. Simply lovely. Those young people spokt '
so clearly I could understand every word!"
But the student behind me was less enthusiastic.
"Oh, 1 guess it was all right. It was funny. I kept
thinking about all the laundry I had to do, though.
1 didn't expect it to be so LONG."
So gauge for yourself.
If you think the world's greatest comedian is
Bob Hope, or that the world's greatest singing
. group is Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, of
if you subscribe to a daily newspaper just so you
can catch the latest hilarity in the lives of Mr. and
Mrs. Dagwood Bumstcad, this is a play you
MUST see. if not, just go do your laundry and
wait for PRC's April production of4 Midsummer
Night's Dream. .
Performances of The Fourposter are at 8 p.m.
daily, except Mondays. And there are matinees at
2 p.m. Sundays. The play runs through April 5.
For more information caH 933-1121.
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71 '- . .11''
By NISSEN HITTER
Nothing goes right for Sally Field and
Tommy Lee Jones in Back Roads, a light
comedy directed by Martin Ritt.
Field plays Amy Post, a prostitute who
makes no excuses for her profession. "It's
what I do best," she reminds anyone who
asks. Still, Post wants to quit walking the
streets of Mobile, Ala., and start doing
manicures in Los Angeles.
. Jones is the unemployed, ex-fighter
Elmor Pratt. Despite an unsuccessful
boxing career, Pratt still is waiting for a.
comeback. But as Post tells him,- he is a
'loser; it is what he does best.
After Pratt hits a policeman, he and
Post decide that it is time to pack their
bags and, leave Mobile for Los Angeles.
On the way to California, they live up
to their reputations as losers. Every time
something goes right, something else goes ,
A sailor offers the couple a free ride to
the West Coast but takes off after realizing
that Post is a prostitute. Later, Pratt wins
By WILLIAM PESCHEL
Sam Ervin's book The Whole Truth: The
Watergate Conspiracy is unique. Appearing
seven years after Nixon's resignation.Mt is one
of the few books written on the subject by a
major figure who wasn't convicted or impli
cated in the scandal. The Whole Truth is also
unique in being a readable recounting of the
final report by the U.S. Senate committee
that investigated Watergate. And, the book
was written completely by Ervin, a rarity in
the age of the ghost-writer.
For those of us who were too young to
remember, the former senator reminds us what
Watergate is: the improper, illegal and unethical
efforts by Nixon aides and the Committee to
Re-Elect the President.
TKe rest of the book is a chronological history
of that time, relying solely on testimony given
before the committee, contemporary press
clippings, and the Nixon tapes. Ervin the
senator appears throughout the book, quoted
from testimony and news stories. In this way,
Ervin lets the story tell itself, but he steps in at
times to refute Nixon's constitutional argu
ments. "The President is the servant of the
Constitution and not its master," he writes.
"There is nothing explicit or implicit in that
instrument which exempts him from a duty the
law imposes on all competent human beings in
$100 in a fight only to lose it to the local
. Finally, the credits begin to roll over
Post and Pratt happily hitchhiking west,
at peace with their bad luck.
In Back Roads Field and Jones make
fairly successful transitions from realistic
; films, Norma Rae and Coalminer's
Daughter; to light comedy.
Field demonstrates her great comic
' ability in the film by bumbling in a
tight skirt and high heels through mud
puddles, highway traffic and the back
end of a junk truck.
Though Jones does little more than
fight with, strangers and drink beer, he
plays the part of a losing boxer with
Only Martin Ritt, the director, seems
reluctant to admit that Back Roads is a
light comedy. Ritt throws in a realistic sit
uation that does not fit, detracting from
the silly, amusing quality of the film.
Before Post leaves Mobile, she stops by
a schoolyard to see her son, whom she
gave up for adoption. The camera focuses
The Whole Truth continues this way for 320
pages, with occasional tangents abaut Nixon's
'campaign spending, alternate plans for dis
rupting the Democrats (with such names as
"Sedan Chair II") and the resignation and par
don. Ervin s style is definitely that of a Senator:
fellow congressmen and staff members are
"courageous and forthright," and
"stalwart," or "rendered faithful service,"
and "earned mv enduring gratitude." Not a
word is written against a fellow senator, not
even a Republican. ...
In the end, Nixon is allowed to hang
himself. Ervin writes pf the ex-president's
crimes with an eye toward history, answering
Btlly Field travels west
... portrays perpetual loser
on the schoolyard fence which separates
mother and son and causes Post to cry.
But suddenly Ritt drops the issue.
Later scenes verge more on slapstick
than drama: Field and Jones chase dollar .
bills in heavy traffic and perform other.
Laurel and Hardy antics.
At the end of the film, a pimp sym
bolically burns a letter which Post has
written to her son. While Post cries, the
pimp absurdly lectures her on what is best
for the child.
Perhaps Ritt is attempting to shock the
audience into reality. But it doesn't work.
Back Roads would have been better off if
it . had remained lighthearted instead of
floundering between the frivolous and the
the charge in Nixon's Memoirs that he was
drjyen from the presidency by a hostile press
.and vindictive partisans.
The former Senator lists the actions of
CREEP to obstruct justice: perjury, offering
"hush money" to the Watergate burglars, de
stroying records, intimidating White House
and Creep employees and putting pressure on
the Justice Department and the FBI to halt the
None of this is new, but I can recall no
other book that describes Watergate with such
clarity and simplicity. It is a necessary book
on what tragically already has become an
almost forgotten subject.
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Dy PETER ERADY
Staff Writer .
Just as faith in rock and roll is begin
ning to dwindle, an artist comes along
who combines vocal distinction, musical
intelligence and public accessibility.
His name is Patrick McCarty, and his
music manages to bypass the creative
dead end that so many of today!s new
wave rock bands have run into.
"I think rock and roll was intended to
be, above all, exciting. That doesn't
mean loud, that doesn't mean simple or
pretentious," McCarty said. "But if
that excitement is there, then it's up to
the artist to make the music intelligent.
A musician owes it to his audience. Lis
teners deserve lyrics that make sense, not
Patrick McCarty comes from Rich
mond, Va., where he always has had a
strong following for his bands. He is a
singer, guitarist and songwriter backed
by an energetic rhythm section. His
music is getting airplay on many North
Carolina radio stations (including
WXYQ, and listener response has been
good, as it has been in cities like Wash
ington, D.C., and New Orleans.
While so many voices in rock today
fall into the "I've heard that before"
slot, McCarty's voice defies categoriza
tion; it simply knocks you out. His gui
tar work is fresh and his instrumenta-
T TTT J.
s i v f -
tions and arrangements are exciting.
Above all, McCarty's songs are memor
able and in that they are already a cut
above the bulk of recent rock releases.
Most of his tunes are rich with catchy
hooks and finger-popping beats and
they stay in your mind (listen to "Where
There's Smoke"). Lyrically, his songs
arc strong and accessible to the rock-and-roll
"Audiences are no longer looking for
trends, so to speak," McCarty said.
"They're looking for something new
and different. 1 hope I can offer them
An album by McCarty is coming.
When released, he is sure to follow it with
a tour touching down in North Carolina.
By all means go see him live he's hot.
If you hear Patrick McCarty once, you
will surely want to hear him again.
1 . - ....
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WEST END Of FRANKLIN ST.
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J We're Sooliira ncss . . . icnealieii
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Varsity Sports -Dorm
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Dolly Tar HqcI
Marching Tar Heel Band
Campus Governing Council
Inter Varsity Christian Fe!bvsh!p
North Carolina Fellows
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American Cancer Society
Slckls Cell Anemia
Children's Home Sec! sty
N.C. Burn Center
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Naticcri Hcmcphilia Fcundaien
for Retard :d Citizens
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