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March 22, 1988 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-03-22

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Tuesday, March 22, 1988 Page 5

Stunning

'Charlotte'

showcases artistic

genius

By Juliet James
Every so often, there exists an artistic genius who
displays diverse facets of his or her personality in his
Sor her works. This weekend, People Dancing's presen-
tation of Charlotte: Life? or Theatre? gloriously de-
picted several aspects of such a genius, painter Char-
lotte Salomon.
During the hysteric period in Europe in between the
World Wars, Charlotte Salomon created nearly 1,300
gouache paintings. Educated at the State Academy of
Fine Arts, Salomon used her paintings as a visual
commentary on the rampant social disorder she saw in
her environment as well as a personal account of her
life.
Salomon's important work, Life? or Theatre?, or-
ganized as a "singspiel," or a play with music, is the
primary source for the project's narrative. Her
compositions incorporate written text, much like con-
temporary multi-media theatrical productions.
Whitley Setrakian, choreographer and artistic direc-
tor for People Dancing, has done an excellent job of

presenting the essence of the artist's life. There is more
of a focus on Charlotte, the woman, than on Salomon,
the painter. The art historical perspective has not been
ignored, but rather the engrossing aspects of her per-
sonality have been emphasized. Also, Setrakian has
chosen to portray the tragic irony of her situation -
she was one of many artistic geniuses in Berlin and
throughout Europe whose talents were obscured in the
chaotic nature of that era.
The timbre of Charlotte Salomon's existence is
brilliantly demonstrated through Setrakian's choreogra-
phy and masterfully executed by the members of Peo-
ple Dancing. The range of emotions intrinsic to Char-
lotte's character are expressed; we see true depth, intel-
ligence, and sensitivity. Also illustrated is the major
role that familial relationships played in the develop-
ment of these traits. In an especially evocative dance, a
trio of Charlottes - the suicidal aunt for whom she
was named and Salomon herself at two separate stages
in her life - depict the poignancy that comprised an
instrumental element in her works.
The frantic vigor and exuberant physicality of the
choreography is juxtaposed with slow-paced, plodding

movement to personify the inspirational outpouring of
dance, music, and culture that was contemporaneous to
the socio-economic depression in Berlin between the
Wars. The dancers were precise and skillfully expres-
sive in presenting this parallel relationship between
Salomon and her environment, and indeed the dual na-
ture of the painter herself.
Also worthy of mention is the profound dramatic
contribution made by Performance Network's resident
theatrical ensemble "La!" The narrative dialogue
heightened the sense of drama in Salomon' s story. As
the voice of Charlotte, Tracy Lee Komarmy gave a
haunting effect to the artist's words. The eerie music,
composed by Dick Siegel, serves as a lush, stirring
background.
There is also an attention to detail which enhances
the drama of the project. The historically accurate cos-
tuming lends a sense of credibility to the actors' and
dancers' appearances. The colorful, hand-painted canvas
that covered the stage floor was the primary decorative
element of the sparse set design. At various points in
the drama, we see Charlotte on a platform holding a

picture frame, illustrating her life through her painting
while in the background hangs a single window frame,
showing the reality of Salomon's situation.
The lighting, an effusive mixture of reds and blues,
was effective in transforming the tone of the action
onstage. This production can be viewed as an interest-
ing opportunity to explore Charlotte Salomon, the
painter, the social observer, and most importantly, the
human being. Charlotte: Life? or Theatre? is not an
angst-ridden dedication to the suffering, prejudice, and
frustration experienced by so many artists and non-
artists alike during the '30s. Instead, it is a luminous
celebration of the genius and character of an extraordi-
nary individual.
Performances of CHARLOTTE: LIFE? O'6 THE-
ATRE will continue at Performance Network (408 W.
Washington) Friday through Sunday afternoon.
Evening performances begin at 8 p.m., and Sunday's
matinee begins at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7 and discount
tickets for seniors and students will be available .on
Thursday and Sunday. Advance purchases can be made
at First Position on Williams St. and by contacting
Performance Network at 663-0681.

Young
ordinar

author
v to s

overcomes

the
style

cceed

with

y

By Lisa Magnino

When Ann Hood's first novel,
Somewhere Off The Coast of Maine,
came out last year, it was buried
amidst the collection of first novels
from other authors in their late
twenties to early thirties, all inspired
by the success of the brat pack writ-
-rs, led by Bret Easton Ellis and Jay
McInerney.
But those who waded through the
'nire of uninspired, repetitive stories
recognized that Hood's style was
anything but run of the mill. James
Atlas, critic for Vanity Fair, calls
Somewhere "an estimable debut ...
poised between two generations,
Hood is a shrewd chronicler of both."
Gilda Povolo, a lecturer at the Uni-
versity and a close friend and col-
league of Hood, agrees that the suc-

cess of Somewhere comes from
Hood's ability to portray both gener-
ations effectively: "She can appeal to
either generation because she looks at
each from its unique perspective."
Somewhere deals with the lives
of three roommates, from their col-
lege days in the '60s to their lives in
the '80s. Hood cleverly uses music
and other cultural props from these
times as a backdrop to her story
which adds credibility to her mutual
perspective.
Somewhere was also the debut
release from Bantam New Fiction, a
line that has given acclaim to the
publisher for its introduction of new,
talented authors.
Hood has published short stories
in McCall's and is now working on
her second novel, Waiting to Vanish,
scheduled out in June, that promises
to be just as successful as her first.
Today is a chance to see a talented

young author who hasn't succumbed
to the pressures of the brat pack.
ANN HOOD will read from her
upcoming novel, Waiting to Vanish,

today at 4 p.m. in the Rackham East
Conference Room as part of the En-
glish Department's Visiting Writers
Series.

ZETA TAU ALPHA
presents
MR. GREEK WEEK 1988
COME CHEER ON YOUR FAVORITES!
Thursday, March 24,1988 at 7:00 p.m.
Michigan Theatre
Tickets $3.50 advance/$4 at the door
for more ticket info call 761-1472
ALL PROCEEDS GO TO W.AR.C.

Special Student and Youth Fares to
EUROP
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0

COMMUNITY LEADERS
Dean Baker, Candidate for U.S. Congress
State Representative Perry Bullard
City Councilperson Dave DeVarti
State Senator Lana Pollack, Candidate for U.S. Congress
Barbara Ransby, Steering Committee, United Coalition Against Racism (UCAR)
Julie Ann Steiner, Coordinator, Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC)
STUDENT LEADERS
Brenda Aaronson, Michigan Video Yearbook
Devon Anderson, Women's Alliance for Nuclear Disarmament (WAND)
Ann Arbor Tenants' Union
Chris Artis, Chi Phi Fraternity
David Austin, LASC
Lisa Babcock, Associate Editor, Michigan Journal of Political Science
Carol Bell, Society of American Foresters
Debbie Blatt, Coordinator, Amnesty International Campus Chapter
Jim Blevins, Steering Committee, DSA
Diedra L. Butts, Public Health Students of African Descent
Steve Childs, Program Director, Michigan Economics Society
Donald Coleman, Guild House
Margo Cooper and Martha R. Young, Students for Simon
J. Will Cwikiel, Resident Director in Oxford Housing
Corey Dolgan, GEO member
Richard Engel, Mens' Lacrosse Team
Phillis Englebert, Alternative Career Center
Mike Epstein, Students for Social Responsibility
Jeff Gearhart, Agenda Interns
William Gladstone, Amistad
Andrew M. Grove, Managing Editor, Shaking Through; Michigan Student Magazine
Sandra Hauser, Involved in Michigan Political Action Committee (IMPAC)
Heidi Heard, Chair, UAC Mediatrics
Christine Hunsinger, American Field Service
Lauren Jill Janke, Baits Interhouse Council

STUDENT LEADERS cont
Pam Kisch, Alternative Action Films
Zach Kittrie, LSA Representative to MSA
Katherine Y. Koh, Coordinator, SAFEWALK
Rob LePrete, Michigan Union Board of Representatives
Sybil Leung and May Liang, Co-Chairs, Asian American Law Students Assoc
Linda Lowry, Women's Law Student Association
Daniel McMahon, Asian Studies Student Association
Melanie Mitchell, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
Pam Nadasen, Free South Africa Coordinating Committee (FSACC)
People Organized to Wipe Out Rape (POWOR)
Robin E. Rhein, Wildlife Society
Laura A. Sagolla, Undergraduate English Association
Peter Sandback, Art Students League
Matthew Schultz, Representative to Rackham Student Government
Justin Schwartz, Michigan Alliance for Disarmament
Diane Sotak, UM Recycling Club
Gus Teschke, Representative to Rackham Student Government
Darshan Vyas, Indian American Student Association
Lisa Wallace, Nursing School Representative to MSA
Carol Wayman, LaGROC
Matt Weber, Coordinator, SAFEWALK
Rama Wiener, Co-Chair, Student Women's Initiative Group (SWING)
James Williams, Mary Markley Student Council
Laura Ziemer, Environmental Law Society
FACULTY
W. Andrew Achenbaum, History
Frederick Amrini, German
John Bassett, School of Natural Resources
E. Jean Brennen, School of Natural Resources
Bunyan Bryant, School of Natural Resources
Natalia Challis, Slavic Studies
Edna Amir Coffin, Near Eastern Studies
Tim Croxton, Social Work
James I. Crump, Jr., Asian Language and Culture

FACULTY

ont

Sandra Danziger, Social Work
Kenneth J. DeWiskis, Asian Language and Culture
Anthony T. Edwards, Classical Studies
Hans J. Fabian, Germanic Languages and Literature
Julian Faraway, Statistics
Phillip Fellin, Social Work
Peter W. Ferran, Theater and Drama
John Harer, Mathematics
Don Herzog, Political Sciencd
David Hills, Philosophy
Warren Holmes, Psychology
Paul Huth, Political Science
Charles R. Krammalkov, Near Eastern Studies
Hugh Bell Miller, School of Natural Resources
Harriet C. Mills, Asian Language and Culture
C.J. Nesbitt, Mathematics
Ric Northrup, Political Science
Erica K. Paslick, Comparative Literature
Michelle Perry, Psychology
Jo Peters, Political Science
David Potter, Classical Studies
Jimmie L. Reeves, Communication
V. Shevoroshkin, Slavic Studies and Linguistics
S. Shishkoff, Slavic Studies
Joel Smoller, Mathematics
Michael Soule, School of Natural Resources
William Taschek, Philosophy
I.R. Titunik, Slavic Studies
Joseph L. Ullman, Mathematics
Noel M. Valis, Romance Languages
Arthur Wasserman, Mathematics
Kathy Wheatley, Romance Languages
C. Witke, Classical Studies
J. Frank Yates, Psychology

I

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