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April 08, 1988 - Image 19

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-04-08
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THEATRE

Oh where, oh where can Ramona's
All-local production ponders the boundaries of
theatre and the definition of reality, life, and love

reality

be?

By Linda Gardner

What 'is real? Perception of
reality or reality of perception
dominate Oh, Ramona!, the
new play by University graduate
student Naomi Saferstein. If
traditional realism is your answer to
the question of what drama should be
and experimental theater disturbs you
then you may not want to attend. On
the other hand, if you don't mind
your personal perceptions of reality
being distorted and distracted in six
directions at a time...
Ramona Stone (Johanna Boor-
man) lives a constant game of let's-
pretend in a world all her own, a sit-
uation which gets sticky at times as
.Celationships dominate her life. Ra-
mona is too caught up with her self,
and this frustrates the two men vy-
ing for her attention. She flits be-
tween elderly gentleman Henry
Horowitz (Professor arwulf arwulf)
and teenage rap artist Luther Hanks
(Mike Rubin). She runs from
Luther's basketball court to Henry's
house only to be pulled away by the
trio of "girls" - and just who are

these "girls" anyway?
Jennifer Lynn, Megan Hickey,
and Ingrid Fey play the high-heeled,
high-voiced, neon-clad women who
invade Ramona's life at the most
inconvenient times. The play begins
peacefully as Ramona addresses the
audience from the safety of a wooden
stool. But enter "the girls," and the
stage becomes a three-ring circus.
"We're having a party!" they an-
nounce as they take over the the
stage, carrying huge boxes. "Don't
you wonder what's in this box?"
they ask as they smile and scatter.
The "girl" at the front purses her lips
to the audience while Ramona blows
soap bubbles in the air.
And who is Henry Horowitz? A
birdwatching grandfather, he pa-
tiently plans out Halloween cos-
tumes for himself and Ramona and
at one point squeezes McDonald
ketchup containers into a 32 ounce
Heinz jar.
And Luther Hanks? A basketball-
dribbling, long-haired teenager who
can't get dates "because girls can't
see my face." He's going to region-
als - rap regionals, that is - and
-II

Ramona has promised to go. But it's
the same day as Henry's Halloween
party. "Oh, Ramona!"
But the most important question
remains: who is Ramona? Her ram-
bling monologues hint at the real
self. During one she breaks into "Go
tell Aunt Rhody" and relates stories
about airplane rides: "The absence of
sound, the pressure of being sur-
rounded by nothing - that's what I
think about when I'm in planes."
Any detail can show up in her off-
beat way of thinking. "If God were a
man, I bet he'd be a lot like Albert
Einstein... the Albert Einstein who
was only happiest when his toes
could breath." Her monologues also
introduce an imaginary seventh
character, Seymour Glass, from J.D.
Salinger's short story "A Perfect
Day for Bananafish" (recommended
reading before the show).
These long (but interesting) so-
liloquies alternate with knotted
spurts of action. Two scenes often
compete for your attention at once.
Should you watch Henry Horowitz
talking to himself about birdwatch-
ing, or should you concentrate on
the Dating Game with Luther, Ra-
mona and "the girls"? The choice is
yours, but no matter what you de-
cide, you may end up with a sense of
having missed something. But that's
the point. In real life it's hard to fo-
cus on everything at once, and the
dual action on stage underscores this.
But the last third of the play
makes all the head scratching worth
while. The emotional conflicts cul-
minate in complete confusion for
Ramona. Distracted by "the girls,"
she finally flings herself and Henry
around the stage in an ecstatic loss
of control - only to stop in sudden
silence as a dose of reality slaps her
across the face. Luther demands her
honesty, but how can she "have
memories and make memories at the
same time?"
Oh Rapona demands effort from
the audience when it presents two
simultaneous realities, but the
voices and movements reach a
musical unity at times. Don't you

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sometimes have problems cutting
through the fog of everyday life or
think that, you hear voices in your
head? It's not realism, but Oh Ra-
mona attempts to show a reality -
and very often succeeds. "I want to

Johanna Boorman plays the title role in 'Oh Ramona.'

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be real!" she cries. But is it all just a
dream?
Oh Ramona debuts on Thurs-
day and runs through Sunday at the
Performance Network on 408 Wash-
ington St. Performance time is 8:00
p.m. with a 6:30 p.m. Sunday
matinee. Tickets are $7 for general
admission, and $5 for student and
seniors. Call 663-0681 for more in-
formation.
WEEKEND
MAGAZINE
Fridays in The Daily
763-0379

PAGE 14 WEE KENAPRL8 1988

WEEKEND,'APRIL8 1988,

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