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March 23, 1982 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1982-03-23

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ARTS
Tuesday, March 23, 1982

The Michigan Daily

Page 5

I

Cavemen get respect

By Richard Campbell
Y OU'VE UNDOUBTEDLY heard
something about Quest For Fire.
'our first reaction, like mine, was
probably to laugh at the thought of
another caveman movie.
I shouldn't admit it, but from looking
at the pictures included in the press kit
I had every intention of ridiculing the
film. Then I saw it, and discovered that
looks were deceiving. Quest For Fire is
a remarkably well-conceived and ad-
mirably executed film that seriously at-
tempts to detail the origins of our
4 pecies.
Director Jean-Jacques Annaud took
three years to put this film together,
and the patience and persistence has
certainly paid off. His film is a
sophisticated affair, with lighting,
color, sound, and plotting all tied into a
thematic web describing the dawn of
mankind.
The plot is very simple; We are in-
troduced to the Ulam tribe, who must
constantly keep a small fire burning
ecause they do not know how to make

it. During a battle with a more
primitive tribe, the Ulam are forced to
flee their camp. Setting up a new base
they discover that the embers of their
fire have died. Thus begins a quest for
fire.
Four men are sent to either find some
fire or steal it from another tribe. It is
their struggle for survival in a world
which they don't understand that is the
story of the film.
To be as authentic as possible, An-
thony Burgess created a basic pre-
language for the tribe and Desmond
Morris developed a system of body
language. These elements certainly
helped the actors learn more about
primitive societies, but they are
wasted on the audiences-a precise
transcription of the action in the film is
never necessary. Annaud's direction
makes the relationship between actors,
and the action of the plot perfectly un-
derstandable.
Everett McGill, Ron Perlman,
Nameer E1-Kadi, and Rae Dawn
Chong, the actors portraying the
primitive homo sapiens, deserve much
of the credit for looking beyond the

casual, ignorant, Fred Flintstone type
of characterization. Their performan-
ces are sincere, human, and filled with
an awe of the environment.
There are many humorous moments
in the film, moments that may seem at
first to be stupid, but are fleshed out by
the actors and director to maintain a
real story based on real people. You
aren't laughing at the film during these
moments; you're laughing with it; this
is what distinguished Quest For Fire
from One Million Years B.C.
There are also moments of violence
and base sexuality that might offend
some people. But Annaud's sense of
timing and overwhelming humanity
never allow these scenes to become
gratuitous or sexist. They document
what is known about the first stirrings
of something that we might recognize
as civilization in our ancestors.
Don't be deceived by your preconcep-
tions of ape-man films. Quest For Fire
is a movie with a gimmick, but Annaud
and his cohorts have made sure that
their movie is intelligent and filled
with-oddly enough-humanity.

The secret of fire is the focal point for primitive man's struggle in 'Quest For Fire.'

Working on the

classic jazz

By Jerry Brabenec
Jazz great Woody Shaw opened his
March 20 appearance in Ann Arbor with
characteristic poise and style. Lec-
turing and performing in a preview
workshop at the Trotter house, Shaw
and his much-acclaimed jazz quintet
explained and displayed the stylistic
and harmonic foundation of the group's
tightly meshed, blended sound.
Speaking to a group of about 50 atten-
tive listeners, the famed trumpet
player wryly criticized the current
overemphasis on saxophones,
preferring his own classic trum-
pet/trombine/rhythm sound.
Later that night at the University
Club, Shaw and his band went on to
practice what they preached. The two
horns dovetailed perfectly on the
melody lines, and the group displayed
the imagination of a well-seasoned,
cohesive ensemble throughout the set.
Balancing out a couple of extended,
ambitious originals with ballads, stan-
dards, and latin numbers, the band ex-
plored a tightly defined stylistic
territory, in which some members ser-
ved as slightly different approaches to
the same central idea. Shaw's conser-
vatism and respect for tradition speak
through his music, as if to say, "Wait a
minute. There's a lot of unfinished
business for us-our job in the Eighties
is to explore more of the possibilities in
the jazz of the Fifties and Sixties."
The set opened with "Eastern Joy
Dance," composed by Shaw's pianist,

Mulgrew Miller. This medium latin
number established a groove we were
to hear again during the evening, as
Shaw's trumpet and Steve Turre's
trombone intoned the head, locked per-
fectly into open fifths. Shaw's soloing is
reminiscent of Freddie Hubbard,
through a little more clipped and stac-
cato, and his sound is always slightly
covered and restrained. His solos show
great sensitivity and organization and
reward careful attention.
Turre is more lively and energetic,
more inclined to open up and really
blow a climactic passage in his solos.
The trombone is a rather cumber-
some instrument, and trombonists
characteristically compensate by
playing with great wit and economy,
but while Turre works out of the same
tradition, his technical proficiency is
nothing short of astonishing. Bassist
Stafford James followed with a bowed
solo, and after the closing statement of
the melody the two horns intermingled
in a lengthy coda.
A ballad by pianist Dave Brubeck
entitled "In Your Own Sweet Way"
followed. This tune was a vehicle for the
trumpet of Miles Davis back in the Fif-
ties, but Shaw's arrangement seemed
to borrow more from Davis' groups of
the mid Sixties, particularly in Miller's
deft, atmospheric voicings.
Shaw introduced Miller's original,
"Pressing the Issue," as "a very
dangerous musical vehicle," and this
uptempo number with Eastern har-
monies generated great excitement.

Shaw played very clean and assured
lines, but Turre was even more im-
pressive, and his trombone slide
seemed to blur as he cranked out high
speed runs and arpeggios. Miller's
piano solo was spare and nervous, run-
ning intricate runs in the right hand in
the manner of Bud Powell. The rhythm
section stood out on this tune, as the
pianist and bassist played brief
phrases as punctuation to a drum solo
by the youngster of the group, 22-year-
old Tony Reedus. The number ended
with the same overlapping horn parts
as "Eastern Joy Dance."
An understated minor blues followed,
with Reedus tastefully kicking the beat
and Shaw soloing with a smouldering
799-1 300
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cigarette lodged in the crook of his
trumpet's. third valve slide. James
played a pizzicato solo this time,
See SHAW, Page 8
INDIVIDUAL THEATRES
RICHARD
LIVE ON: THE
SUNSET STRIP
DAILY-6:50 8:30, 10:10
WED-1 50, 3:30, 5.10, 6 50, (R)
8:30, 10:10
A WICKEDLY FUNNY
WHO'LL DO-ITI
MICHAEL CAINE
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DEATHTRAP (PG)
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"A great love story..."
-NEWSWEEK.
WARREN BEATTY
DIANE KEATON
RED)SCE
®aiPARMOUN fTOES y;c

Daily Photo by JON SNOW.
Woody Shaw performed at the University Club on Saturday.

V. ,

Get out and see

'Getting Out'

DON'T YOU WiSH $
YOU WERE ARTHUR\TUES 1:30
Dudley Moore Liza Minnei 3:30
thuro 94
5:15
S>
- flE

By Elliot Jackson
S HOWCASE, THE series designed
by LSA Theatre department ex-
pressly to serve the public student-
directly plays, concludes their season
with a production of Marsha Norman's
Getting Out, which runs March 24-27
and April 1-3, in the newly renovated
Trueblood Theatre in the Frieze
Building.
Getting Out is a relatively new play,
first produced in 1977 in Louisville, and
has appeared in Los Angeles, Chicago,
and New York. The play, an American
Critics Association Award winner, is a
play about a woman's struggle to wed
her past and present self, to draw on the
best elements of both to survive.
Arlene, the woman, has just been
released from an eight-year prison
term as the play opens. The rest of the
play deals with her first twenty-four
hours "out," that is, learning all over
again how to make decisions about her
own life, and to do all the things-like
shop for groceries, and look for a
job-that normal human beings cope
with almost automatically. Added to
these tasks, are those of dealing with
figures from her past (her mother, her
former pimp) who see her only in terms
of the child she used to be: her ex-
giard, who knows both Arlene and her
former self; her upstairs neighbor, who
has never met her before. Most
troublesome of all, Arlene must come to

grips with Arlie, the willful and
destructive sprite she used to be, who
roams throughout the piece both as
Arlene's memory of herself and a
character in her own right.
Concerninig Showcase's decision to
produce this play, the director, Helen
Oravetz, said, "The most important
thing is that I read it and liked it-it got
an immediate emotional response from
me.
"Once I got over my first emotional
reaction to it, I started thinking about
what would be good for the (Theatre
and Drama) department. We needed
something that was manageable for our
budget, and somethine that was
suitable for our new space (the
remodeled Trueblood)."
Hence Getting Out: but the fact that
the play fit all the preliminary
requirements so neatly does not mean
that the decision to produce it was un-
dertaken lightly, for, according to
Oravetz, the play'is not an easy one to
put on.
"The biggest challenge," she said,
"was the subject matter itself-and the
fact that both Arlene and her memories
of the past (embodied in Arlie) are on
stage at the same time. What the

audience is seeing is the same woman,
at different points in her life, being
played by two different ac-
tresses-which has difficulties of its
own built in right there."
Oravetz is a Ph.D. candidate in direc-
ting, and appeared earlier this year in
another Showcase production, as La

Poncia in The House of Bernarda Alba,
as well as directing a Musket produc-
tion of Godspell. She looks forward to
the opening night and speaks glowingly
of the all-student-and-Department cast.
Ticket information is available at the
Professional Theatre Program box of-
fice in the Michigan League, 764-0450.

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