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September 29, 1989 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-29

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 29, 1989
Slings and arrows of intensity
Two Hamlets and technology combine in Hamletmachine

BY JAY PEKALA
AMID the enormous scaffolding
and fencing gridwork which sur-
rounds the stage and seats of the
Trueblood Theater, performers appear
as parasites in a desolate urbanism.
Hamletmachine begins as actors
hurl themselves at a chainlink fence
standing directly before the audience.
The whole play is viewed through
this fence - perhaps a comfort to
spectators that they will not be
sucked unwillingly into the macabre
festivities. In a burst of aggression,
the eight actors run toward us and
thrust themselves onto the fence as
if to collectively topple the barri-
cade. Act one commences, and the
next 90 minutes are a collage of im-
pressions centering on the 20th cen-
tury's conflict of thought and action,
highlighting the struggle between
the sexes.
University Productions opens its
season with a grotesquely beautiful

and provocative vision of East
German playwright Heiner Muller's
Hamletmachine. Muller describes
his play as a "self-critique of the in-
tellectual," as well as a post-
Communist rethinking of the
Hamlet character. Within its mere
six pages are found many Daliesque
images - a woman dangling from a
rope, a blood-oozing refrigerator, a
Madonna with breast cancer - all of
which director Arnold Aronson and
his designers and actors have strik-
ingly captured.
In many ways, Hamletmachine
is an elaboration of Shakespeare; so
many images lead us to reconsider
issues of Shakespeare's original
work. In Aronson's play, Polonius
impales himself on a sword stuck
out from behind the plastic arras,
Hamlet kisses his mother tenderly
on the lips and then mimes the sex
act over her prostrate body, Hamlet
wears Ophelia's dress and makeup
and then follows Horatio's lead in

waltzing around the stage. Each im-
age raises an interpretation that may
have gone unnoticed in viewing the
melancholy Dane.
Director Aronson provides two
Hamlets: a classic one with dark hair
and thin beard wearing a gold-
trimmed black doublet, and a modern
one with hanging reddish curls in a
loose black shirt imprinted with a
large gold pattern.
Both Hamlets are eloquently
played by Ken Weitzman and Jon
Casson respectively, yet both inten-
tionally do little more than passion-
ately emote. Their sweat-streaked
words are more show than tell. By
the fourth act, Casson's lengthy
monologue and costume change into
jeans nearly go unnoticed as he
stands atop a freight elevator at the
back of the stage. More interesting
are the three television screens
perched on the scaffolding; they
show scenes of revolution and "daily
nausea" as well as a live video image

of the audience shot by an actor car-
rying a video camera.
In contrast to the Hamlets,
Ophelia - whose entrance is marked
by actors kicking doors open to let
cold air sweep through the theater -
is a woman of action. Bela Peixoto
portrays Ophelia as a tormented, an-
gry figure, her heart represented by
an alarm clock hung on the fence and
amplified by a microphone. The
ominous ticking and rush of cold air
stand as preludes to Ophelia's
"madness." Pouring a chalice over
her head and smearing the red over
her white dress, hanging from the
fence as she crawls across it, remov-
ing her clothes in an eerie, unerotic
striptease for Hamlet - all these Mao, Marx, and Lenin turn up Hamletmachine, a post-modern rendition of
images have more impact than any- Shakespeare's Oedipal opus. Blame it on class conflict.
thing Hamlet does. Ophelia epito- feminist themes over the socialist help to hold the piece together even,
mizes social change in her very be- ones." though they may not know the.
ing, and it is she who is bound at In directing the production, source." In sculpting his impression.
the end of the play, made inactive. Arnold Aronson wanted to construct istic play, Aronson has drawn unique
Implications in the final image of images that would in turn evoke and often daring performances froma
two men in lab coats wrapping a other images. He said, "The play has his actors. With the able assistance
shouting Ophelia vividly aid to work subconsciously. The audi- of choreographer Chris Goetsch, seta,
Aronson's intent to "emphasize the ence will recognize quotations which SeeMACINE. nee 9

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RESERVE OFFICERS' TRAINING CORPS

6

Being a Marine Corps Officer can open the door to opportunities Juniors train in one ten-week summer session and earn
you may have thought were beyond your reach. It helped Marine more than $2100
Officer Charles Bolden become a NASA astronaut. And if you're Free civilian flying lessons
willing to make the commitment, it could help you also. You can A starting salary of more than $20,000
get started while you're in college with our Platoon Leaders Immediately upon graduation you could become a Marine
Class program. You could take officer. It's your choice.
advantage of getting: Maybe you're the kind of
$100 a month while in school 1n a tv O U man we're looking for.
Freshmen and Sophomores train77e
during two six-week summer ses- fa r
sions each paying more than $1200 to Uon raaesw& m ane

'

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h4

"THE DASE CO-OP PROGRAM IS LIKE
A COURSE IN REAL LIFE!'
"The big thing it offers is experience, and that's what companies look for.
There are things I've learned on the job that I couldn't learn in school"
The Department of Army Scientific and Engineering (DASE) Co-op Program
provides ROTC students the opportunity to work in a Department of the Army
facility while still in college. Each is paid while getting practical work experience
in a high-tech facility. Selected students also receive up to $5,000 tuition assistance
per year and the opportunity for continued employment after graduation.
Tb be eligible, you must be a freshman in a baccalaureate program leading to
a degree in science or engineering. For more information on application pro-
cedures, contact the Chairman of the Co-op Department, or the Professor of
Military Science.
Students are selected on a competitive basis.
ARMY ROTC

G

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THE SMARTEST COLLEGE
COURSE YOU CAN TAKE.
Find out more. Contact Captain Alicia O'Rourke.
131 North Hall 764-2400

Accepting applications for pilots now.
Call collect 313-973-7070/7501.
'F

THE

COLOR

OF

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II/1111 ""
v
RAly

ALEXANDER THE GREAT
HE DIDN'T
HAVE MUCH EXPERIENCE
EITHER.

By age 30, Alexander the Great had con-
quered the known world. But it wasn't his
resume that led him to victory. Instead, he
possessed the ambition and perseverance of

are the energetic academic achievers excited .
by hands-on responsibility and hard-hitting
impact early in their careers. If you have what
it takes to start out, stand out and forge

The "Green" starts at $5.00 an hour.
But there's more!
Earn up to $7.00 an hour.
Earn bonuses.
Enjoy flexible, evening hours.
Meet fun, friendly people.
Develop valuable communication skills.
Gain impressive experience for your resume.
Talk with alumni across the country.

a dynamic leader.
At Watkins-Johnson, it's Di
that combination that "
drives our team to the " Phys
forefront of the elec- On-Campu
tronics industry. With Tuesday
over $292,000,000 in Octc
sales last year, we continue
to excel in the design and
manufacture of microwave components and
systems. 1988 also brought the introduction
of over 115 new products used in a wide

ificrin"

EE "
sics End
is Inte
y&W
ober 1(

it

ahead, Watkins-Johnson
nes: wants to talk with you.
ME We currently have openings
gineering for recent grads with a BS,
irview Dates: MS, or PhD in one of the
ednesday disciplines listed in the box.
0 & 11 Positions are available in
our Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa
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and Gaithersburg or Columbia, MD, facilities.
Please contact your Placement Center for
Y . .. .. . 5 , r ... .11K . ..1 A . - .

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