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October 30, 1986 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-30

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ARTS

Th Michigan Daily

Thursday, October 30, 1986

Page 7

Copperfield to make himself 'Appear'

By Seth Flicker
By the ripe, old age of 12,
avid Copperfield, was admitted
into the 'The Society of American
Magicians.' 17 years later,
Copperfield is the most widely
received magician in history. He
has made the Statue of Liberty
disappear and is attempting to
escape from Alcatraz on his next
television special. His craft is the
art of illusion and he is perhaps the
greatest "illusionist" that ever lived.
Tonight, at the Michigan Theatre,
M. Copperfield will perform two
shows: at 5:30 and at 8:30
(featuringta costume contest as
well).
D1a i y: Isn't it a strange
profession being a magician?
Copperfield: Well, it all de -
pehds. Magicians think that it's
strange profession to be a
dentist....I'm kidding. It happens to
be my way of expressing myself. I
always admired song writers who
could take a piece of their life,
express themselves through it and
l4.pefully move an audience with it.
do the same with magic. I
incorporate music and
Choreography, lighting and sets to
d6 that.
': How did you decide, at such a
young age, that you wanted to
become a magician?
G: It interested me.. It was

something that I was able to get
attention for. My family and
friends... -took notice. That made
me want to try harder., It turned
into something that I was able to
make a living at.
D: But didn't surprise your parents
that soimeone could actually make a
living by being a magician?
C: It is a sort of rare thing.They
were very supportive. I've tried to
take magic out of the realm of
being an oddity, a circus attraction,
and (to make it) more legitimate,
more respected. We do things,
hopefully, in a classy way.
Hopefully people will give it
respect, and understand it and
appreciate it.
D: Are you worried about what
people say about magic?
C: Yeh, I am a bit worried to the
degree that I don't want people to
think those things. I try very hard
to change that. To do that, I had to
go 180 degrees the other way from
other magicians to make magic
seem like an art form.
D: After all these years, do you
still enjoy it as much as you used
to?
DC: I love it. That's why I do it.
We tour ten months a year. We do
TV specials which are very
grouling...and I love that, too.
D: It seems like such a great job.
I think every kid wanted to be a
smagician at some time or another.

C: Everybody sort of has a love
affair with the unknown. Everyone
is intriqued by that fantasy.
D: Do you like tricking people?
C: No, it's not about tricking
people. It's about moving them.
It's about taking them to another
place. Steven Spielberg is not
tricking people with E.T. It's
about moving them (the audience)
beyond what they understand to be
normal.
D: Do you have any mentors?
C: My idols and inspirations were
not magicians. They were, when I
was young, Fred Astaire and Gene
Kelley because they did with
dancing what I wanted to do with
magic. ..They changed dance forever.
People like Lennon and McCartney
who (were able) to take an
experience and touch people with it.
Today, Phil Collins I admire very
much.
D: So, how would you compare
yourself to other entertainers? Do
you think it's any different?
C: No. What I do on stage for an
hour and a half, whether it's a very
large scale illusion, ...done in a
dramatic way, with harsh lighting,
and heavy choreography, and rock
music, is interwoven to create the
whole piece.

D: What does it take to become a
magician?
C: It takes a lot of knowledge and
skill of the magical effects. Besides
that, it takes a certain amount of
stage presence. In fact, it takes
mostly stage presence.
D: Let's get to your magic. Now,
you say that you never use any
mirrors or trick photography, but
do you?
C: Well, I don't use any trick
photography when i do a TV
special. We don't turn the cameras
off or turn them in a way that
would be deceptive.
D: You made the Statue of Liberty
disappear. Now, come on, do you
really expect people to believe you?
C: Then why do so many people
tune in? Why does Steven
Spielberg sell tickets for people to
see E.T.... People enjoy it.
D: There is just a certain amount
things one, can make disappear.
Don't you ever run out of ideas?
C: Not yet. But you never know,
some day you might just dry up.
D: Just one more thing: What
about this new image? You've
changed.
C: A lot. Have to keep up with
the times...trying to be groovy.

David Copperfield creates a new image as he pursues even trickier
illusions.

Production reveals heart of

endurance

Tonight the Department of
Theatre and Drama's professional
theatre program, Project Theatre,
will open its Fall season with a
4ighly stylized productions of
Sophocles' classic drama
OEDIPUS. In anticipation of this
eyent the Daily is running a series
of three xarticles covering various
aspects of the production itself and
the surrounding circumstances that
have brought it about. Today's
O cticle is the last in the series.
By Noelle Brower
To consider tackling a play with
the complexity and dimensions of
Sophocles' Oedipus is surely an
"intimidating thought. But to
actually produce it one must be
crazy, right? Oedipus is the kind
of play that can distinguish a
theatrical career or quickly shorten
one. It is the sort of trial-by-fire

through which people prove
themselves to their peers.
For John Russell Brown, the
play's director, the decision to do
Oedipus seemed like a natural one.
"One directs plays because they
beckon you, they cause you to
think of things," Brown explained.
The prospect of doing Oedipus has
been in the back of Brown's mind
for the last fifteen years. At that
time, however, Brown was
intensely involved with a
production of Hamlet and felt that
directing two of the world's greatest
dramas back-to-back might obscure
one at the expense of the other.
"....it [Oedipus] contains similar
dynamics [to Hamlet], a riddle, a
mystery," he explained.
Oedipus is a play whose many
meanings reveal themselves more
clearly as one matures. Brown
made the decision not to direct the
play fifteen years ago because he

wanted his Oedipus to be distinct
from his hamlet. But one must
wonder how fifteen years has
changed the conception of the play
within Brown's mind. "One thing
that is different from fifteen years
ago is that I understand Jocasta
now. So many years later the play's
hold on me is no longer just from
Oedipus' character, but from
Jocasta's point of view too," Brown
said.
Brown's approach to the drama
reaffirms its timelessness. Within
the framework of the downfall of a
powerful man who is forced to see
the consequenses of his acts and to
take the responsibility for them,
Brown sees a similar problem, or
challenge that faces modern man:
"How does man live after the
Holocaust? After knowing that one
is in part responsible for it?" Brown
and his collaborators have tapped
into the essential, universal

meaning of the play. They searched
for a theme that would tie the world
of Oedipus to that of modern man.
To accomplish this, Brown
worked closely with set designer
G.W. Mercier to create an
atmosphere that would be
accessible to today's audience. The
mirrored background is thrust
forward seeming to be held in
balance as precariously as is
Oedipus' reign. The stage is
covered with black sand outlining a
silver arrow that is thrust out into
the audience, in a sense penetrating
them. While the audience sits and
watches Oedipus, they cannot help
but to see their own reflections in
the mirrored background; they are
caught up in the drama and
symbolically become the people of
Thebes who must live with the
tragedy, who must endure
afterwards. It is often hardest for
the survivors of a tragedy to

continue; it is often the irony that
those who perish seem to escape
the aftermath. Oedipus represents
modern mankind and its struggle to
find a reason and a means to endure
in a world that is hostile.

Project Theatre will present
Oedipus tonight at the Lydia
Mendelssohn Theatre. Performance
dates are October 30-November 2,
and November 7-9. For tickets call:
764-0450.

s
.,
a
r

W anted: ambitious, creative, well-
organized students to train to sell
advertising for The Michigan Daily
Interested?-- Stop by The
Student Publications Building at
420 Maynard to apply.
Limited number of applications accepted.
APPLICATION DEADLINE NOV. 4
The Center for Japanese Studies
Presents:
JAPAN'S RESPONSE
TO THE
AGING SOCIETY
A Brown-Bag Lecture by
PROFESSOR CAMPBELL
Director, Center for Japanese Studies

Tke pbwt gi6to eet ~
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October 31, 1986
TICKETS ON SALE NOW
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