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March 14, 1988 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-03-14

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Page 8 -The Michigan Daily-Monday, March 14, 1988
Intrigue
By Lynn Gettleman in=

succeeds

in

'Right

You

Do truth and reality actually ex-
ist?
So asks Luigi Pirandello in his
1917 drama, Right You Are If You
Think You Are, performed last
weekend at the Lydia Mendelssohn
Theatre. In this enjoyable production
by the University Players, the Nobel
Prize winning playwright searches
for truth in a intriguing and comical
manner.
Slow moving at first, the play
takes place in the home of Coun-
selor Agazzi (Mail Willett), where
his wife (Nina Bradlin) and daughter
(Lisa Mintz) gossip with friends
about the mysterious old woman
(Rebecca Rand) who moved in next
door but has refused to receive her
neighbors' visits. Supposedly the
old woman's daughter lives in a ten-
ement across town, kept by her hus-
band "under lock and key." Appar-
ently her son-in-law (Chris Carter)
forbids the old woman to see her
daughter. These mysterious relations
soon become the obsession of the
gossips (Amy Forman, Dana Tas-
son, Joanna Daly, and Alexa Eldred),
and before the audience realizes it,
they too are caught up in the mys-
tery.

The gossips are often chided by
the counselor's brother-in-law,
Lamberto Laudisi (Bill Downey). As
a symbolic representative of Piran-
dello, Laudisi points out Pirandello's
main message - what one person
sees as real is quite different from
another's perception of reality. As
the gossips scurry about, Laudisi
quietly observes their absurdity from
the sidelines, never doubting his
knowledge of what lies beneath the
mystery.
Pirandello structures his play
around the idea that the entire con-
cept of reality is a mystery. While
the mystery unfolds, the author re-
veals the concept that reality differs
for each individual. Thus, Pirandello
uses his play to state that objective
reality fails to exist.
The University Players' produc-
tion of Right You Are If You Think
You Are effectively expressed Pi-
randello's somewhat confusing, in-
tellectual message. Because the play
itself is often quite wordy, a poor
production could be quite deadly.
However, especially good perfor-
mances by Bill Downey, Nina
Bradlin, and Rebecca Rand captivated
the audience, plunging them into the
world of gossip and their mysterious
new neighbors. Downey in particular
approached each situation with great

Are'
cleverness and insight.
While the town gossips offer
much comic relief to some very
tense situations, they would have
been even more effective if director
Hilary Cohen had them play off each
other instead of posturing to them-
selves. Otherwise, Cohen created an
interesting stage, upon which the
gossips struggled to reveal reality
and truth.
The physical stage and the early
20th century costumes are also well
worth mentioning. Set designer Eric
Renschler of the University's theatre
design program, leaves out abso-
lutely no details. The set was effec-
tively economical - using no set
changes - despite the fact the
original play called for multiple sets.
The costumes designed by Jessica
Hahn clearly demonstrate why her
earlier designs won a Joseph Jeffet
son Award. Taken together, the set-
ting and costumes were spectacular.
Pirandello uses his play as a ve-
hicle to get across his intellectual
message, and the actors were able to
do in a well performed, very intrigu-
ing manner. Right You Are If You
Think You Are is meant to produce
future thought rather than immediate
reaction.
And the University Players suc-
ceeded in doing so.

Signora Cini (Joanna Daly) and Signora Sirelli ( Amy Forman) are skeptical when they hear Signor
Ponza's (Christopher Carter) version of the true story.

Union

Arts

presents poetry in a pub

By Jennifer Kohn
"Crazy Jane Talks With the
Bishop," 1933. "To a Friend
Whose Work Has Come t o
Nothing," 1914. "Leda and the
Swan,"1924. If you're familiar
with these titles, or you're craving
some corned beef and cabbage,
your time has come.
Tonight English Professor Bert
Hornback will read from Yeats'
poetry, accompanied by Fran
Norton who will play guitar and

sing Irish folk songs. The reading
will be presented in three sets
beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the
University Club. Hornback choos-
es both his favorite Yeats poems
and the greats of Yeats. He favors
Yeats' poetry for the lyrical, mu-
sical quality it possesses. Yeats is
a logical choice with which to
celebrate St. Patrick's Day since
he was the premier literary figure
during the Irish Revolution and in
the Easter Rising of 1916 in
particular.
Eight years ago the University
held a "Yeatsfest," complete with

an opera, a play, and a poetry
reading, which is echoed in Horn-
back's reading. Shirley Smith,
Coordinator of Cultural Pro-
graming for the Union, explains
that Ireland is filled with pubs:
"All the different kinds of pubs in
Ireland reflect the different interests
of the diverse people. We want to
create the atmosphere of a poetry
pub at these readings."
Hornback will give a second
reading this week in the Rare
Books room of the Harlan Hatcher
Graduate Library at 5:15 p.m. on
Thursday, St. Patrick's Day. This

reading will be preceded by an
exhibit of the University's col-
lection of Yeats' poetry, man-
uscripts, and assorted artwork. The
reading will be followed by soda
bread and sherry and is sponsored
by Ann Arbor's Irish American
Society. Also Thursday evening,
The Michigan League will offer an
authentic Irish dinner, in as-
sociation with its International
Night series.

So wear
celebrate!

your green

and

I I

Special Student and Youth Fares to
EUROP
from New York on Scheduled Airlines!
DESTINATIONS OW RT
LONDON $185 $370
PARIS 206 412
FRANKFURT 220 440
ROME/MILAN 238 476
VIENNA 245 490
ZURICH/GENEVA 225 450
COPENHAGEN 255 475
OSLO 225 450
STOCKHOLM 230 460
HELSINKI 238 476
Above fares also apply from Washington, D.C. to London, Paris and
Frankfurt on non-stop service. Add-on fares from Boston, Chicago,
Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and many other U.S. cities are also available.
CALL OR WRITE FOR OUR SPECIAL FARES TO THE
SO. PACIFIC, AUSTRALIA, SO. AMERICA
Applications available for Eurail Youth Pass
and International Student I.D. Card.
For Reservations and Information Call:
WHOLE WORLD TRAVEL
Part of the worldwide STA Travel Network
17 E. 45th St., Suite 805, New York, NY 10017
(212) 986-9470

Film
Continued from Page 7
cates that of the book, chronicling
the lives of four young people
around the time of the Soviet inva-
sion of Czechoslovakia in 1968:
Tomas (Daniel Day-Lewis), a Prague
neurosurgeon; Tereza (Juliette
Binoche), his provincial, frustrated
wife; Sabina (Lena Olin), a moody
artist and Tomas' sometimes lover;
and Franz (Derek de Lint), a married
professor who is also having an af-
fair with Sabina.
Unbearable Lightness traces the
misunderstandings and infidelities
among the three sets of couples set
against the backdrop of totalitarian
imperialism; during the film's cli-
max, a jealous Tereza, fed up with
Tomas' continued adultery, storms
out of their flat, only to discover
Soviet tanks rolling through the
darkened streets of Prague. Aided by
the editor Walter Murch and the vir-
tuoso cinematographer Sven Nykvist
(Ingmar Bergman's.longtime collab-
orator), Kaufman crosscuts actual
footage from the '68 riots with black
and white stock of Tomas and Tereza
reacting to the violence; it's a seam-
less and compelling montage.
But the novel is bound together
not by such a dramatic scenario, nor
by the overt eroticism for which
Kaufman's film has been so widely
praised. Rather, Kundera depends on
an anonymous, literate, intrusive
narrator, whose omniscience allows
'3

-u
'-.

MEDICAL
SCHOOL
& DENTAL
SCHOOL
NIGHT

him to make frequent chronological
jumps between chapters. This face-
less male (in the movie, the point of
view is at times almost childishly
sexist) voice, who nods to Nietzsche
and then begins to reminisce about
Tomas, guides the reader through the
deepest thoughts of the four charac-
ters, occasionally interrupting to of-
fer .an aphorism or an explanatory
aside.
Most important, his narration
builds a structure of opposites cru-
cial to the novel's meaning: heavi-
ness/lightness, darkness/light, free-
dom/captivity, and so on. "The
heavier the burden," the writer
glosses, "the closer our lives come
to the earth, the more real and truth-
ful they become. Conversely, the
absolute absence.of a burden causes
man to be lighter than air, to soar
into the heights, take leave of the
earth and his earthly being, and be-
come only half real, his movements
as free as they are insignificant.
What then shall we choose? Weight
or lightness?" The entire novel wa-
vers between the insignificant light-
ness of total freedom and the mean-
ingful weight of a heavy burden,
whether political or personal or psy-
chological. For Tomas and Tereza,
some of the weight of that heavy
burden comes from the Soviet inva-
sion, a political analogue for what is
ugly and false and profane in life.,
The narrator is absent from the
film, at least as an overt presence,
and he took most of the story's
power and lyricism with him.
Kaufman vacuumed the precious
marrow out of the novel and is left
with a curiously centerless mass.
The implicit third person filmic nar-
rator (i.e. a selective camera) offers
none of the ideas or form that made
the novel so moving, and the film's
best moments derive from Kauf-
man's deft improvisations - the
extended riot sequences, the lovers'
foreplay, and so on. The worst
crime is that Kaufman and Carriere
have abbreviated what is already a
marvelously economical parataxis
and in so doing eliminated the the
story's chief justification. The
amazing thing is-that there may yet
be some glory in their failure.

UM, WAYNE, & MSU MEDICAL SCHOOL;
MSU OSTEOPATHIC MEDICAL SCHOOL;
UM & U of DETROIT DENTAL SCHOOL
ADMISSIONS DEANS & STUDENTS HERE...
INFO ON ADMISSIONS, PREPARATION,
CAREERS AND MORE...
WEDNESDA Y, MARCH 16
7PM - 9PM
MODERN LANGUAGE BUILDING
- CAREER PLANNING AND PLACEMENT
A UNIT OF STUDENT SERVICES

Re
a~6id5

"GREAT SONGS,
GREAT DANCING,
GREAT FUN!"
-Joel Siegel, GOOD MORNING AMERICA
"TWO THUMBS UP!"
-SISKEL & EBERT & THE MOVIES

- - - nomom

"HILARIOUS ANDHEARTFELT!"
-David Ansen, NEWSWEEK
A FINE SPRITZ
OF 60s FUN!"

.1*

c'rnon... thursday's
LAUG
presents comedian
OAR
With
T
WI
PE

s classes aren't all that important
ScandUp Comedy

Y

KEF

"'HAIRSPRAY' IS A TRIUMPH!"
-Kevin Thomas, LOS ANGELES TIMES
"HAIR-RAISING FUN!"
-Janet Maslin, NEW YORK TIMES
"AN AMAZINGLY RICH,
AUDACIOUS COMEDY!
It's a family movie both the Bradys and the Mansons
could adore: affectionate, liberal and deeply subversive."
-David Edelstein, ROLLING STONE
A new comedy by John Waters
SIt 1r %ff% r %AN/

Student Comedians
OM VAN BRAGT
FRED CLARKE
MATT SCHLEIN
EDNESDAY
MARCH 16
And Your Host
TER BERMAN

IN

The University of Michigan
College of Literature, Science and the Arts
Twelfth Distinguished Senior Faculty Lecture Series
David Noel Freedman
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor
of Biblical Studies
in a three-part series, will discuss
The Unity of the
Hebrew Bible
March 14
The Primary History

i

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