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February 09, 1996 - Image 90

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-02-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

PH OTOS BY DANIEL LI PPITT

You Can't Hold A Torch To

THE DETROIT J EWISH NEWS

W

90

Mist Schefman
designs the sets
for JET's latest
production.

FRANK PROVENZANO

SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

hen painting or
working on a sculp-
ture, West Bloom-
field artist Robert
Schefman assumes the role of
producer, director and play-
wright. "I can take a theme and
change it in any way that makgs
my point," he said.
During the last several years,
Schefman's allegorically inspired
paintings have mesmerized au-
diences for their mysterious and
dramatic depictions of cherished
myths and parables. Artistic in-
terpretation, he learned, is a soli-
tary exercise.
These days, however, Schef-
man has joined the collaborative
team of designers and directors
for the Jewish Ensemble The-
atre's upcoming production of
Torch Song Trilogy, which opens
for previews tomorrow evening.
"In theater, I'm part of a team,
working to reinterpret what's al-
ready out there," said Schefman,
whose set designs for the Kine-
matic Dance Company and the

Bebe Miller Dance Theatre
Workshop, both of New York
City, merited special mention in
The New York Times' reviews of
the performances.
All in all, Schefman's design
gives JET's Torch Song Trilogy
production the high-paced play-
fulness and stark honesty
that has distinguished
Harvey Fierstein's three-
act comedy.
The acclaimed and hi-
larious story about a gay
Jewish man's passionate
male and maternal rela-
tionships will likely chal-
lenge traditional JET
theater goers. This isn't
Ibsen, Arthur Miller or
Tennessee Williams.
Heck, it's not even Sam
Shephard. Rather, Torch
Song is more like a fre-
netic Woody Allen story
with RuPaul in the lead.
Yet by the play's final
act, the intrinsic Jewish
nature of Fierstein's plea

for acceptance hits Above: Arti st Robert not the typical Jewish
close to home with the Schefman:
expectation-guilt neuro-
all-too-familiar dilem- Hands-on s et
sis at work, but a zany
ma: a Jewish man's designer.
drag queen who just
quest for his mother's
Below: Brus hing up. can't get the respect he
approval.
deserves from his moth-
The twist in Fierstein's auto- er. The repartee and laughs only
biographical play is that it's just make the pain of longing for ac-

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