Thursday, March 22, 1984
The Michigan Daily
Answering the call
at Ozone House
Not for children only
By Anne Valdespino
T HE FIRST time Katie McGhee
picked up the phone, she felt
"really nervous - but the more I
talked, the more comfortable I'
Katie doesn't suffer from Ma Bell
breakup anxiety. Rather, the junior
student in psychology is one of the
new volunteers at Ozone House, Ann
Arbor's youth and family counseling
and crisis center. The 24-hour phone
line (662-2222), which McGhee an-
swered for the first time this
February, is only one way through
which Ozone House provides support
and advice to young (and older)
people in need.
The house, located at 608 N. Main,
was founded in 1969, mainly in reac-
tion to the growing number of
runaway teenagers then arriving in
Ann Arbor from all over the country.
According to Phyllis Greenberger,
Ozone House Committee Resources
and Outreach Coordinator, Ann Arbor
used to rank with Berkeley and
Florida as one of the top spots to "run
The number of out-of-state
runaways has declined, but the in-.
cidence of family and youth distress
remains common. Ozone House coun-.
sels over 600 youth "clients" a year
(not counting phone calls), and about
an equal number of adults (mostly
parents). About two-thirds of in-
coming cases are crisis situations -
not necessarily runaways, but
something which needs immediate at-
When someone comes to Ozone
House for whatever reason, he or she
is met at the door by the volunteer on
duty; the nature of the situation is
assessed, and, if necessary, a longer
counseling session arranged. Two
Ozone House members talk with the
client, trying to help establish what
can and should be done by and for the
"Basically, our philosophy is self-
determination, so we try to help that
person come to their own conclusions
about what they want, says Green-
berger. Counselors help "by talking to
(the clients), helping them get their
feelings clear, giving the kind of in-
formation that we have, so they can
make an educated decision."
Counselors do try to get the family'
involved, if possible, but will not go
against the wishes of the client. "We
have a policy of confidentiality, so we
would not give out information (to
parents) if the young person did not
want us to," Greenberger says.
"It depends a lot on what that per-
son wants," she adds. "We encourage
people to get in touch with their
parents, even if they're not ready to
see them or talk to them - just to let
them know they're ok, because a lot of
parents are worried."
Ozone House, Rap Line, and
National Switchboard all will give and
receive messages between teenagers
If, for whatever reason, the client
does not want to or cannot return
home, Ozone House tries to arrange
'somewhere else to stay. Foster
homes, for example, are federally
licensed to house young people for up
to two weeks, but with parental per-
mission only. Ozone House itself does'f
not take boarders; the doors close at
11 p.m. and calls are automatically
forwarded to a crisis line in Lansing. .
Besides counseling, the house
provides open workshops and com-
munity education in such topics as
youth rights, teenage depression, and
Another of the center's major fun-
ctions outside of direct counseling is
referral. During these times of social
service cutbacks coordination bet-
ween the available various services
becomes essential. Katie's first call
didn't turn out to be a teenage
runaway but an older woman having
problems with her landlord. She was
given information about the tenant
union and the social services office in
The police also try to use available
resources as effectively as possible.
When a teenager skips school (truan-
cy), for example, he or she may be
technically violating the law as a
status offender, without actually
doing anyone any damage. In these
cases, juvenile custody is probably
not the immediate answer.
"Instead of putting status offenders
in detention, (the police) will divert
them to community programs, and
we're one of the programs they use,"
says back-up coordinator Pam Kisch.
"Unless a runaway runs away over
and over, they try not to use the court
50 hours of training
The prerequistites to become an
Ozone House volunteer are minimal.
There is no age limit (volunteers have
ranged from 15 and below to over 60),
no required educational background
or previous experience. According to
Greenberger, the Ozone House volun-
teer must be "someone who's in-
terested, someone who's a good
listener, someone not in crisis them-
Each volunteer goes through a 50-
hour . training session, spread over
three consecutive weekends. The
training, which McGhee calls "inten-
se", focuses on empathy, suicide
prevention, and runaway and paren-
tal counseling. The Ozone philosophy
most closely resembles the "empathy
counseling" espoused by Carl Rogers,
with stress place on "reflective
listening" and "reality testing".
"Empathy is really a listening skill,
listening for people's feelings," says
Kisch. Reality testing is more for
people who think, "Yeah, I want to go
out to California and get a job and an
Each of the 60 or so volunteers puts
in a six-hour shift every week. Once
involved in a particular case,
however, the volunteer remains with
it, often putting in many extra hours.
Also, all members are strongly en-
couraged to attend house meetings,
held twice a week.
Ozone House has a unique
organizational approach, one which
emphasizes equal participation and
which frowns on authority figures.
There are seven paid staff members
plus one professional family coun-
seling consultant; each staff member
has two back-ups. To keep any one in-
dividual from gaining too much in-
fluence, staff positions are limited to
20 months; all staff members must
have previous volunteer experience at
"Were run as a collective," Kisch
explains. "That means that every
person is an equal member, whether
they're a staff person, a back-up, nor
a volunteer. All decision are made by
everybody who attends general
meetings. Everybody has to agree."
The "consensus decision"'
organization does slow things up oc-
cassionally, admits Kisch, but it also
gets members more involved and in-
formed in Ozone affairs.
Why get involved? McGhee, Green-
berger, and Kisch all cite the value of
gaining practical counseling ex-
perience without needing an advan-
"Being a volunteer has opened my
eyes up to a lot of things I hadn't been
aware of," says McGhee. "The world
isn't always such a wonderful place,
and it can be really hard for some
True. And so the phone rings again.
M ONDAY afternoon and the box of-
fice was offically closed, but the Power
Center was never, busier. Stage hands
drilled and hammered; technicians
wired lights, and the orchestra pit was
being raised and lowered incessantly.
Director Jay Lesenger stood in the
middle of it all; "No, just tell me how
many pounds of tension it can
withstand. I know I said invisible; but
for security's sake I don't want to be
taking any chances."
Fussing over special effects that will
enable the witch to fly, Lesenger is a
man who is taking this fairy tale very
seriously. "Hansel and Gretel is a
familiar story but most of the produc-
tions I've seen don't treat it with any
Lesenger is staging what he terms a
''substantial'' interpretation rather
than the usual children's fare. "'Most
performances of Hansel and Gretel
play down to children and end up being
very cute so that kids will like it. I think
if we were to do that, first of all, we as
adults staging it would be very bored
and that, in turn would bore all the
adults that would come to the perfor-
marce," Lesenger said.
In trying to attract a larger audience,
cast and crew approached .the work
very honestly. Singers, director, con-
ductor, and designers all collaborated
in a more realistic approach than is
generally done, staging everything as if
it really happened and not as something
silly, childish or absurb.
"These characters are not one-
dimensional. Hansel and Gretel fight,
they indulge each other and they love
and protect each other. The witch too
can be sweet and nice - a real gran-
dma one minute, but the next she's a
fox who can't wait to get her hands on
our little heroes. Working with a wider
range of emotions makes the show
more believable and therefore much
more enjoyable," Lesenger said.
The result is an interpretation that is
fascinating because -it is a bit more
psychological; the story is seen through
children's eyes and this creates a fine
line between their subconscious
imagination and the dramatic reality.
"There's an element of the story that
never really quite happens, it's what
the children dream up in their night-
mare, and, like the rest of ds, their
nightmares are always worse than real
This concept is manifested in the set
and costuming., Since we create our
nightmares from things in our
everyday environment, the witch's
candy house resembles the children's
oven house." And there is a relationship
between the witch and Hansel and
Gretel's mother. In the first act their
mother rejects them; she becomes
angry and sends them out into the
forest to gather strawberries. "It
doesn't mean she's a terrible lady, it
just means she lost her temper, but
being children they don't see thetwhole
picture. This is why, when the witch fir-
st appears, her costume is similar to
the mother's andrshe tempts the
children by acting very motherly.
"But the witch becomes more and
more horrifying as the opera
progresses, visually enhanced by ad-
justments of hair and make-up, until at
the end the children are petrified by her
presence," Lesenger explained.
Lesenger also commented on some
other aspects of staging a complete
character. "She's not the cliche
Halloween witch, if she is played
realistically she's very funny because
she's quite lascivious. Of course, as the.
story goes, she eats children, so she's
constantly wringing her hands and
licking her lips in anticipation."
A cast with a witch'and angels, as
well as gingerbread men that turn into
children, calls for a good dose of magic
and for these effects Lesenger and the
company are sparing no expense.
Historically speaking the work was
conceived as "Grand Opera," Lesenger
provided some background, "The
premiere wasn't much of a success
because of budget constraints and lack
of sufficient rehearsal time. Only later
did the piece come into its own.
At the MET (Metropolitan Opera
House in New York) it has always been
an extravagant production." Conductor
Gustav Meier agrees, pointing to the
large scale orchestration and the fact
that the composer, Humperdinck, was
a student of Wagner. Meier jokes, "I
like to think of Hansel and Gretel as
Wagner's most popular opera."
Lesenger is confident that audiences
will be surprised with the scope of this
show but also very pleased. "I want
adults and opera-lovers to come
because they want to see an excellent
opera production and children to come
because they want to see a story they
know and love; I think our version will
appeal to everyone, I know it will."
Hansel and Gretel in the hands of Jay
Lesenger is not kid's stuff anymore.
The performances are today through
March 24 at the Power Center.
The Ark Presen
with Janet Cuniberti
b Susan Freundlich
Tues., April 10
The Michigan Theater
$11.50. $9.50, $8.50
8:00 p rm
$25 Sponsor Ticket
Available through U C A M
Schoolkids Records. P J's Used-
Records. Ticket World. the Union
A Conversation on How Women
Grow and Change
with CAROL HOLLENSHEAD
Dir., Admin. Services, Planning &
Development, School of Nursing
at Noon, Friday, March 23
at GUILD HOUSE
Homemade vegetarian soup is
available of V.00
!MA~e of ilb" Ti!70170
$2.00 SHOWS BEFORE 6:00 P.M.
FRI. 1:00, 8:00
FILM IN YEARS"
Ann Arbor News
DANNY ROSE -
Photo by CARLOS DIAZ
Lynne Giacalone (Gretel-left) and Susan Beckman are edible characters
for Elizabeth Elvidge in tonight's performance of this classic fairy tale.
Plight of Black Jews
By Bob Learner
FE W .KNOW of the plight of
Ethiopian Jews, even within the
Jewish community. Labelled
"falasha," which means exiles in their
native language, Ethiopian Jews are
outcasts in their own country, and ap-
parently unwelcome in the rest of the
Falasha: Exile of the Black Jews
documents the exile of the Ethiopian
Jews and deals with the important
questions concerning their fate.
The first of these questions dealt with
in the film is of how poor and oppressed
the Ethiopian Jews really are. After a
brief history of the Black Jews is
presented, people from all sides of the
question are interviewed. Those inter-
viewed range from the Ethiopian
Ambassador to the United States, to
Ethiopian Jews who have escaped from
their country. Opinions range from
claims of complete religious and social
freedom for the Black Jews to
testimonies of oppression and poverty.
The film's director, Simcha
Jabobovici, does a fair and honest job
or presenting all points of view on the
question. This method of filming leaves
one properly uncertain as to the true
condition of the Ethiopian Jews.
What follows is Jacobovici's answer
to the question, as he takes his cameras
into Ethiopia, seeking out the Jews.
Against direct order from the Ethiopian
government, Jacobovici managed to
get into a falasha village and speak
with the people. This footage leaves no
doubt about the oppression, poverty,
and famine of the Ethopian Jews.
As a buildup to the footage in
Ethiopia, the series of interviews is
overdone. They do, however, establish
Jacobovici's thoroughness and in-
tegrity as a documentarist. Consequen-
tly, when his own opinions emerge, they
are powerful because they are built
from an honest and analystical base.
The second major question dealt with
in the film is that of who is helping the
Ethiopian Jews, and how best to do so.
Specifically addressed is the question of
whether Israel is making a complete ef-
fort to get the Black Jews out of
As with the first section of the film,
people with differing points of view are
interviewed. Conversations with Israeli
citizenseare intercutswith interviews of
prominent members of the American
Jewish community, and Ethiopian
Jews who have managed to escape
their native country.
Ore debate is whether the Black Jews
can best be helped by keeping their
problem quiet and smuggling them-
selves out of Ethiopia, or whether overt
action and publicity would best serve
toe falashas. Jacobovici believes the
latter, and supports his position well by
documenting how the covert approach
has helped relatively few falashas.
A suggestion made in the movie is
that the covert action by Israel is a plpy
to disguise the government's lack of in-
terest in the problem. Opinions presen-
ted cite social, GEO -political, and,
perhaps, racial motivations as to
Israel's attitudes toward Ethiopian
By its end, Flasha: Exile of the Black
Jews has become a remarkably power-
ful document of a threatened people.
Jacobovici has made a documentary
film that is both opinionated and balan-
ced; he succeeds in doing so because
his opinions and convictions are
thoroughly and honestly earned,
without any filmmaking trickery.
Falasha: Exile of the Black Jews will
be shown at the Hill Street Cinema
(1429 Hill St.) at 7:30 on Thursday
night. Simcha Jacobovici will be at the
showing, and will lead a discussion of
the film afterwards. Free.
CAMPUSESTO P U DAILY 1:00, 7:20, 9:35
Happy Hour 2 - 7
Free Pizza & Pasta
The Writers-In-Residence Program at the
Residential College presents a reading by:
AUTHOR OF NOVELS FOR YOUNG ADULTS
(The Trouble With Thirteen,I Would If I Could)
8:00 P.M., TUESDAY, MARCH 27
Benzinger Library-East Quad
Interested in Starting
the fall Semester With
a Liffle Extra Cash?
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