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March 31, 1988 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-03-31

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily
Comedy Co. d

Thursday, March 31, 1988

Page 5

By Lynn Gettleman
Where can you attend the world's
slowest reading contest, learn the
methods of pickpocketing, and wit-
ness a generic murder mystery all
under the same roof?
Just walk over to Mendelssohn
Theatre this Thursday, Friday, or
Saturday night to catch a performance
of Comedy Company's The Really,
Really, Big Show. For those of you
who don't know, the Comedy Com-
pany is a Saturday Night Live, Sec-
ond City-type comedy troupe that

was formed six years ago by a group
of student writers who wanted to see
their material performed. Since then,
the student-run company has offered
the University community a new
show each semester.
Lately, however, the Comedy
Company has expanded beyond the
University community to take to the
road. The company recently returned
from Evanston, Illinois, where they
presented a compilation of their best
sketches at Northwestern Univer-
sity's McCormick Auditorium. Ac-
cording to Co-Director and LSA ju-

lelivers
nior Matt Schlein, not only was the
trip to Northwestern "fantastic fun,"
it was also quite successful - NU
asked the Company to return next
year. As for other future road trips,
Schlein says the Comedy Company
will consider it, but at the moment
the company has no definite com-
mitments.
While previous productions of the
Comedy Company have been very
successful, Schlein says that this
semester's production "is even better
- definitely one of Comedy Com-
pany's strongest shows." Schlein

really, ri
adds, "For the very first time, the
second act will run continuously,
with one act feeding into another -
kind of like Monty Python." Unlike
previous shows that recycled old
material, this semester's material is
all new. Schlein attributes the
strength of the new material to the
cohesive core of writers who form
the backbone of this semester's
show.
One such -writer, LSA junior
Kevin Hughes, also emphasizes the
collaborative effort that went into
this particular production. According

eally big
to Hughes this semester's material
gears itself more toward the "slice of
life" than to political jokes or spoofs
- although a couple do manage to
slip through. "We [the writers of
Comedy Company] like to observe
everyday things as well as as taking
certain situations and placing them in
totally different eras," Hughes says.
"Basically, we just want to make you
laugh."
Apparently, Comedy Company
has been quite successful at making
people laugh; according to Co-Direc-
tor and LSA junior Jon Hein, the

laughs
Company has completely sold out its
last nine shows. Why is the Comedy
Company so popular? Hein believes
it's due to the fact that Comedy
Company "is just a big bunch of
wacky funsters. People come to
laugh and we are funny."
The Comedy Company's THE
REALLY, REALLY BIG SHOW
will be performed at Mendelssohn
Theatre tonight, Friday, and Saturday
at 8pm. Tickets are $3.50 in advance
at the Michigan Union Ticket Office
and $4 at the door. For further infor-
mation call 763-1107.

I

'I have

been

By Todd Shanker
Trumpeter Hugh Masekela left the strife of South
Africa in the early '60s and has since recorded a string
of international African-jazz hits. His new album To-
morrow is reflective of his rich culture: a collection of
fiercely passionate South African jazz grooves inter-
twined with dark, poetic lyrics.
Besides being an international jazz star, Masekela is
a leader in the fight against apartheid. The searing
trumpeter will appear with "The Empress of African
Song," Miriam Makeba, on Sunday evening at the
Power Center for two shows, at 5 and 8 p.m. Masekela
recently spoke to me over the phone from Ottawa,
Canada.
Daily: You recently toured with Paul Simon on
his Graceland Tour. Many anti-apartheid organizations
say that Simon broke the cultural boycott against
South Africa. Do you believe he has exploited African
music or hurt the resistance cause?
Masekela: From Graceland came the renaissance
of Miriam Makeba; Ladysmith Black Mambazo has
won a Grammy, and I had the opportunity to compose
the music to the smash play on Broadway called Sara-
fina about the oppression that the children of South
Africa live with every day. Because of the positiveness
of what happened as a result of Graceland, the different
liberation movements had to re-examine their stand.
The problem was that there was a lack of communica-
tion between these movements and South African soli-
darity musicians. These groups just assumed that, be-
cause we were condemned in South Africa, we were
also helpless. Since then we've sat down with people
from the movements and we have devised a plan of re-
ciprocal communication. Too many people just jumped
on the media bandwagon and in the process they alien-
ated the very people involved in the struggle - the
Black South Africans. Graceland was definitely a
positive thing.
D: South African and African music in general is
gaining much more attention - artists such as your-
self, Fela Kuti, Salif Keita, and Alpha Blondy. What
do you think the future holds for African music on a
worldwide perspective?

living my life
M: Its popularity will continue without diminish-
ing. You see, the musicians are really good. It's just
sad that it took the oppression of apartheid to expose
these people. I guarantee that more and more superb
artists will emerge from the woodwork. They have a
voice that must be heard.
D: Your homeland is South Africa. What was it
like growing up under the apartheid regime and why did
you leave the country?
M: Well, man, it was very demeaning living in
South Africa. At the time I was preparing to leave I
was a jazz musician, and I wanted to reach the highest
heights. I wanted to be where Miles (Miles Davis) and
'Trane (John Coltrane) were and the only way to do
that was to go to New York City. I also had to get an
education overseas because at the time it was not
available in South Africa. Living in South Africa is
like living in a prison. And that was then, now it is
much worse - it's like being trapped in a dungeon. By
the time you're four years old you realize that you are
inferior because of the color of your skin ... Botha
makes his message very clear. Living in a brutally re-
pressive country only made me aspire to my dreams
with even greater conviction.
D: Who are some of the artists that have influenced
your music?
M: Jesus. Louis Armstrong, Ma Rainey, Bessie
Smith, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fletcher Hender-
son, Coleman Hawkins, even Tommy Dorsey and
Glenn Miller. When I was a kid everyone in South
Africa idolized American jazz. I was in a swing band
when I was six years old! I'm also into Dixieland mu-
sic from the turn of the century. When I was 12, there
were guys in Johannesburg that could tell you exactly
where Bird (Charlie Parker) was playing each night
back in the States. Man, it was amazing.
D: Can you return to South Africa, and if so, what
are the implications?
M: I don't think I could go back to South Africa
until Botha's regime is destroyed. I don't think I could
get past the airport without slappin' an Afrikaaner po-
liceman. I have spoken out against Botha and his
regime for so many years that I would fear for my life

hoping for th
if I went home. It would contradict everything for
which I stand - I would be recognizing apartheid. I
want to concentrate on getting the country back for the
people and even taking Botha to trial.
D: What are your personal feelings on the future of
the struggle in South Africa?
M: It's going to be a very, very, tough struggle.
And I don't expect much help from the Western world
because they are partners with apartheid. And the Rea-
gans (laughs) - they've made it especially clear they
will do nothing to help us. I definitely don't think that
the attention against apartheid was ever brought to
light by any Western government; it came from my
people at home, especially the kids since the 1976
Soweto uprising. The only time Ronald Reagan does
anything to help us is when he is forced. He doesn't
want to do anything. Hopefully the next president of
the U.S. will be much more effective. I don't think my
man Jesse (Jackson) will make it to the White House.
His People's Coalition is beautiful, but I would be
afraid for his life if he actually won.
D: Your latest album, Tomorrow, is a celebration

freedom

.0

of the culture of South Africa. But there is a definite
theme running through the album. Could you explain
this?
M: Well man, the Black South African's struggle is
all steeped in the future. We live for tomorrow. But
our children are catching hell all over the world. For
these children, who represent the future, tomorrow just
isn't coming soon enough. South African Blacks are
obsessed with the hope of a free tomorrow. I have been
living my life hoping for the freedom that tomorrow
could bring for nearly 30 years. The only thing we
have is each other and hope. To gain our freedom, first
we must beat Botha and his boys. He is executing a
military operation with the sole purpose of stifling the
Blacks of South Africa. Tomorrow carries the hope of
victory and freedom.
D: What are your goals and aspirations for the fu-
ture?
M: We are all looking forward to the day we can
return to Pretoria and celebrate the renaming of it. The
freedom of South Africa's people will always be my
first and foremost aspiration.

A+ STUDY HABIT

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