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November 04, 1987 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-11-04

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Page 8 -The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, November 4, 1987
An individual

emerges amidst Clowns

By Debra Chesnin
Today, when "go with the flow"
is more prevalent than "do your own
thing," A Thousand Clowns
promises to be a welcome change.
The play, which will b e
performed by the Hill Street Players
tomorrow night, is a nontypical love
story set to a background of
rebellion against conformity. The
rebel is Murray Burns, and the "love
interest" is his nephew, Nick.
After Murry quits his job as a
writer for "The Chuckles the
Chipmunk show," he finds that he is
suddenly put in charge of his young
nephew. Murry and Nick get to
know each other and are doing quite

well, thank you, when the social
welfare board sends a social worker
to check up on Nick. When the
social worker finds that Murry is
unemployed, he threatens to take
Nick away and place him in a foster
home unless Murry agrees to get a
job.
Although he refuses to give away
the ending of the play, Scott
Weissman, the artistic director of
Hill Street Players, promises that A
Thousand Clowns is "full of life
affirming kinds of statements."
A Thousand Clowns is not a
common play. According to Joseph
Kohane, the Associate Director of
Hillel, "Some of us liked the movie,
and it happens to be one of the

favorite films of Michael Brooks
(director of Hillel), so it was
suggested." On a more serious note,
Kohane says that Hill Street Players
likes to "take chances on plays that
other theatre companies might not
want to try."
Hill Street Players is an entirely
student run company sponsered by
Hillel. The program is in the third
year of existence. The Players stage
one major production each semester
and "because there's no mega-budget,
they can do risky things," says
Kohane. Although the group is
sponsered by Hillel, Kohane
stresses, "We don't impose on their
programing. It's pretty separate but
if things can dovetail they will."

In conjunction with Hillel's up-
coming Holocaust commemoration,
for example, Hill Street Players will
stageThe Lesson by Ionesco. Also,
because of the contact with Hillel
from time to time, Kohane says that
the Hill Street Players plan to do "a
play of Jewish interest." "However,"
he adds, "the people putting on the
plays are not necessarily Jewish.
There is an enormous variety of
people, from theatre majors to
people from the community. For
instance, we had to get a local kid
who's ten years old to play Nick (in
A Thousand Clowns )."
Because there are so many other
plays going on this weekend, Hill
Street Players has adopted an

unusual strategy for increasing the
number of people in the audience.
"We are doing a midnight show on
Saturday in the hopes that a lot of
the people who are in shows that
night will come to watch our play
when they are done with their own,"
says Ruth Athan, the director of A
Thousand Clowns.
"We think that the play is
particularly important at this time,"
says Weissman, who also plays the
leading role. "There is such a
conservative resurgence nowadays.
People are choosing majors, not
because they are meaningful to
them, but rather based upon what
will get them the most money. This
.play will serve as a reminder of our
individuality."

A THOUSAND CLOWNS opens
tomorrow night at the Trueblood
Theatre in the Frieze Building.
Showtimes are 8 p.m. for Thursday
through Saturday, and 2 p.m. on
Sunday. Tickets are $4 for students
and $Sfor non students, and can be
purchased in advance at Hillel.
Join the Daily
Arts Staff
Call 763-0379 for
details!

4

4

Records
The Alarm
Eye of the Hurricane
I.R.S. Records
It has been nearly two years since
the Alarm made their first big
breakthrough into the pop music
mainstream with their Spirit of '86
live concert broadcast. Since then,
the Alarm has spent their time
touring and readying their next
album. The finished product, Eye of
the Hurricane, has finally hit record
stores, and it successfully exhibits
the quickly maturing style of these
four Welsh musicians.
On 1985's Strength, the Alarm
finally seemed to realize that they no
longer had to rely on the overblown
anthems of their first LP in order to
get their point across. The result was
a more precise and inspirational
product. Yet the music itself seemed
lacking; the band just didn't push
itself to refine their sound as they
had begun to do with their lyrics. On

Eye of the Hurricane, the Alarm
have begun to solve that problem as
well, resulting in their most realized
effort to date.
Eye of the Hurricane opens with
the single "Rain in the
Summertime." While the song will
not do much to end the oft-heard U2
comparisons (in fact, it sounds very
much like a Joshua Tree out-take),
it does provide listeners with a
glimpse of the Alarm's potential.
This track is followed by "Newtown
Jericho" and "Hallowed Ground,"
two of the more complex
compositions yet to emerge from the
Alarm's principal songwriting team
of vocalist Mike Peters and bassist
Eddie MacDonald.
"One Step Closer to Home"
proves to be the album's highlight.
The song has been kicking around
the Alarm camp since at least 1984,
and has long been an integral part of
their 'exhilerating live shows, but
always as a quiet, acoustic ballad
performed alone by guitarist Dave

Sharp. The live version included on
Eye of the Hurricane has undergone
a facelift of sorts. Sharp's guitar is
now accompanied by gentle
keyboards, and towards the song's
end the entire band joins in, turning
the song into a dazzling
showstopper.
However, this is Sharp's only
moment of glory on the record. He
is still very much the band's weakest
link. Producer John Porter does a
half-way decent job of hiding
Sharp's technical inabilities on
vinyl, but the guitarist's
shortcomings always seem to surface
during live performances. Sharp is a
good rhythm guitarist at best, but he
has no business playing lead; his
deficiencies are one of the main
obstacles holding the Alarm back
from mass appeal.
On the record's second side,
another one of the Alarm's
continuing problems re-surfaces;

once again they concentrate almost
entirely on the love songs. As on
Strength, Peters and MacDonald
deal with the theme on a totally
abstract and idealistic basis;
especially on songs such as
"Permanence in Change" and "Only
Love Can Set Me Free." They aren't
bad songs at all, and they are
considerably better than the "raise
your fist" anthems of the band's
early days, but the Alarm has too
much talent to be wasting their time
with these rudimentary, lightweight
songs.
Once the Alarm realizes their true
potential and begins to put more
effort into political and social
messages of a more realistic nature,
look, out! They're headed in the
right direction though, and with Eye
of the Hurricane, fans can continue
to enjoy charting the band's
progress.
-David Peltz

I

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Christmas comes seven times a
year; once on December 25, and six
times throughout the year when the
Michigan Cinema Guide comes out.
A bi-monthly publication, the
Cinema Guide is a complete listing
of all the films coming to campus
for a two month span.
Christmas came once again, early
last week, when the November-
December issue was released. If you
are a lover of film, you know what I
am talking about. Oh, the joy of
flicking through the little magazine,

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looking for one's favorite films or
directors!
Yes. There is Woody Allen.
Right there, on page 13. And there
is Hitchcock. And John Huston. And
Hitchcock... er, wait. Let me turn
the page.
Ahh. That's better. Frederico
Fellini. Stanley Kubrick and John
Huston are there, too. And there's
Allen. And Hitchcock. And Allen...
er, ah. Wait. Hold on a second.
Where is Sidney Lumet? Peter
Bogdonovich? They should be here
somewhere.
They are not.
Christmas is not what it should
be. There should be all different
kinds of movies coming to Ann
Arbor, not only the first-run films
and the classics but experimental
efforts and more foreign pictures.
Don't get me wrong: Hitchcock,
Allen, and Huston are beautiful
gifts. They should be treasured by
film-goers forever. But there is more
to the film scene than just these
three gentlemen, and it's becoming
clear that Ann Arbor is not the film
haven it once was.
There are only six film co-ops
currently functioning on campus,
and all of them are hurting. Marisa
Szabo is the co-chair of UAC
Mediatrics, one of the co-ops on
campus, and she cites VCRs and the
high costs for the co-ops to rent the
theatres, the movies and the
projection services as reasons for the

s cinema
current decline.
"It's so hard to make a profit
unless you have a full house," Szabo
said. "And if a co-op does bad on one
movie (box office wise) it's hard tn
make up."
Can you blame the film co-ops
for not renting the movie version of
Mummenshanz ? Hardly. Co-op
operate with one thought foremost
in their minds: to survive,
financially keep afloat. That means
Allen. And Hitchcock. And Huston,
Co-ops are in bad shape. True
But in looking into the future
Szabo doesn't feel the co-ops ard
going to go under.4
"There are people coming, so
there will be co-ops in existence,"
she said. "But there may be only ong
or two movies a week, and they
might only be on weekends. Apt
you might be seeing a lot of Monty
Python. But they'll survive."
Okay. We are not talking about
the Middle East or anything of that
magnitude. This is campus cinema. 4
And life will go on somehow, ever
if it's a life solely contained within
the confines of Allen and company.
There are worse places to be. But I#
am on my hands and knees. I am
begging you-please support your
local cinema groups before they
become the cinematic equivalent of a
rolling tumbleweed.
Christmas shouldn't be so empty.

% MMOOP,

I U
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4

TIME FOR A
RESUME
Ve know it's a busy time for you - Time
to celebrate. time to reflect. But it's also
time to look to the future.

1"9

I

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