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February 09, 1996 - Image 91

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

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and gallery

"We presented him (Schef-
ceptance more bearable to
watch. The winding path to tol- man) with practical concerns,"
eration and compassion are the said Orbach, who noted the con-
type of universal human values siderations of stage sight lines
that Schefman explores in his and portability of the set. "That's
why this is a collaborative
In the play, Schefman found process." And Schefman is more
Fierstein's undiluted honesty than pleased to play just one of
and farcical fantasy a compelling the roles.
Since last year's production of
way to dramatize the double
standard by which gay relation- the Clifford Odets classic Gold-
ships are judged. The healthy en Boy, JET has been looking to
dose of truth and humor forces merge other art forms into tra-
audiences to see and hear the di- ditionally staged plays. In Gold-
alogue of people whom they'd en Boy, Orbach noted, a
improvisational violinist served
likely disregard.
Torch Song Trilogy offers the as the protagonist's alter ego,
type of challenging theme that and "created a scenario of
allowed Schefman to translate sound."
Torch Song's set design,
the play's subtext into a series
of fanciful, yet at times, mini- Schefman hopes, will similarly
malistic and realistic images. "create a mood for the produc-
The apparent stretch from fan- tion ... When I sculpt or paint,
tasy to realism is possible be- I'm setting the limits on every-
cause each of the play's acts thing. But when I'm working in
takes place at a different time theater, it's interactive. I'm tak-
ing part to further enhance what
and place.
Originally, Torch Song Trilo- the director envisions and what
gy was performed in three sep- the actors are trying to develop.
"Sometimes I don't know how
arate one-act plays before being
woven together as an episodic designing a set will affect my
full-length show for its Broad- painting and sculpture, but
way run. A film based on the that's good," he said, "It leaves
play tightened the plot. Fierstein me open to experience some-
wrote and starred in the origi- thing new and different."
nal play and film.
With the recent success of
Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize-
23 Torch Song Trilogy opens
winning plays Angels in Amer
for previews at the Jewish
ica and Perestroika, which Ensemble Theatre with
served as a call for openness and
performances at 8 p.m. on
understanding about gay life,
Wednesday and Thursday,
Fierstein's exploration of homo-
Feb. 14 and 15, 8 p.m. Satur-
sexuality is hardly novel. Yet :, day, Feb. 17, and 2 p.m. Sun-
starkly portraying male-male re-
day, Feb. 18. Regular
lationships at JET is new dra
.performances begin 7
matic ground.
Sunday, Feb. 18, and run 8
"Putting on this play is a big
p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays •
step for us (JET) — it's a whole
and Saturdays; and 2 and 7
new world," said Evelyn Orbach,
p.m, Sundays through March"
JET's artistic director. "Other
10, JET is located in the
Jewish theaters have asked us
Maple/Drake JCC. Tickets are
how we're approaching the
$10-$22, with discounts avail-
scenes. We're not censoring the
able to students, senior citi-
play for content because I think
zens and groups. Call (810)
that it's high time that we look
at it as sophisticated people in
'96. Everyone else is looking and
The following organizations
talking about it, shouldn't we?
are hosting benefits in con-
"In that sense, it'll be contro- junction with a performance of
versial. And, I look forward to
Torch Song Trilogy. If you
the dialogue (with the commu-
would like to attend one of
these performances, contact
Once the play was selected,
the phone numbers listed be-
Orbach had set her sights on
Schefman. The bizarre setting
of the second act particularly
The Forum Foundation, 8
called for Schefman's interpre-
p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14.
tive skills. Schefman will also
Call Ernest Horne at (810)
use still photos on stage to set
the scenes.
Of course, theater also re-
Michigan Jewish AIDS
quires a set design that stimu-
Coalition, 7 p.m. Sunday,
lates the type of spontaneity that
Feb. 18. Call Edwina Davis at
builds memorable stage perfor-
(810) 356-2123.
mances. Ultimately, the task of
a set designer is to enhance the
The Detroit Together
blocking, gesture and dialogue 'Men's Chorus, 8 p.m. Sat-
of the actors while focusing on , urday, March 2. Call Frank
the aesthetic possibilities with-
Perkins at (810) 542-7983.
in the script. -




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