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November 09, 1989 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-11-09

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ARTS

I

the Michigan Daily

Thursday, November 9, 1989

Page 7

Chill

out

Long

Time Since

Yesterday

an intense drama

BY KENNETH CHOW

JOSH MOORE/Dal
In the bawdy Casina, Athenian Senator Lysidamus (Stephan Vernier) and his slave Olympio (John Marshall)
plot a solution to Lysidamus' pressing problem: how to eat your slave and have her too.
autus Casina: RC Players'

W HAT do you get if you put five
gut-spilling women in a house for
an entire day? Well, aside from a
whole heap of guts, you also get a
remarkable drama, Long Time Since
Yesterday. Written by P.J. Gibson,
the play portrays five Black middle-
aged upper-middle class women who
are brought together after more than
ten years by the death of their good
friend, Janine. In the course of the
story, each of these college buddies
tells of her childhood struggles, so-
cial problems, and personal crises
while the reason for Janine's suicide
slowly unravels.
Long Time Since Yesterday
"gives Black women a voice," said
director Charles Jackson. "Unlike
most social dramas, this one isn't
about racism or sexism. It examines
the personal experiences of not just
Black women but Black women who
are professionals and prosperous."
The play itself is very intense. It has
the potential to put the audience
through a variety of moods - weep-
ing tragedies, gleeful memories,
gasping surprises. The presentation
of the story takes on a train of
thought approach, in which individ-
ual scenes that take place in the past

Fanshen Cox, Robin Murphy, Torya Beard and Angela Peaks star in Long Time
Since Yesterday, a play about a get-together of college pals after the suicide of a
friend. Ann Arbor just breeds this kind of story, doesn't it?

rambunctio0us
BY MIKE KUNIAVSKY
4
0NE wouldn't think that the Romans had a
Tsense of humor we could appreciate. Wasn't it their
Empire, after all, that loved seeing Christians being
eaten by lions? That's not really my cup of tea."
This was my attitude upon entering the RC Play-
ers' production of Plautus' Casina. I left feeling
quite differently. This is a comedy that's not only
funny, but fresh and entertaining after 2,200 years in
the can. (What else do you know that stays fresh that
long?)
: Casina, a critique of Roman society, takes place
in Athens, on the street in front of the houses of two
well-to-do senators, Lysidamus and Alcesimus. The
play concerns the trials and tribulations of Lysi-
damus as he tries to get laid by one of his slaves,
Casina. There is a slight hitch in this as Lysidamus
is already married to - and nagged by - Cleostrata.
Thus he must fin'd a way to both bed Casina and stay
fresh-smelling.
Lysidamus' method of choice, devised with the
help of his favorite slave, Olympio, is a cunning
marriage with Casina for the servant and a honey-
moon with Casina for the master. But Olympio is
not just in this for the entertainment: he has a grudge
going with Cleostrata's favorite, Chalinus. Now if
this isn't enough, the next-door neighbors
(Alcesimus and Myrrhina) get roped into the act. It
-ends up looking like post-stone age pre-Dallas R-
rated Flintstones. And it's funny. Plautus and direc-
tor Kevin Saari didn't intend for the play to have
many deep resonances with the nihilistic plight of

Roman romp
those caught in the postmodern condition; they're
just ripping on their sex-starved, male-dominated so-
cieties.
Now here is where the prospective audience
should be warned. The play is done in the classical
style, and this means that all of the performers wear
masks and togas. This also means that the play is
presented in its bawdy, raunchy entirety with all of
those great explicit jokes the Romans were famous
for.
Overall, the performances fit the material well:
it's not very serious and neither are the actors.
Stephan Vernier's Lysidamus is boisterous, if a bit
too Pythonesque. John Marshall's Olympio is more
than amusing even though he sometimes seems like
Paul Puma from those '50s Warner Brothers car-
toons. The rest of the cast fares well in their roles
with some effective moments .from Miriam Ger-
show's Cleostrata and David Levine's Chalinus.
Saari's direction emphasizes the comedic aspects and
really puts forward the excellent translation of the
script. The costumes and the music, although created
as authentically as possible, don't add that much be-
cause in the end it's the script that makes this story.
In any case, when you get down to it none of this
really matters: it's a funny show that just happens
to be older then Western Civilization. You'll it leave
smiling, having satisfied whatever's left of good old
Plaut.
CASINA plays tonight at 8 p.m. in the East Quad
Auditorium. It also plays tomorrow and Saturday at
8 p.m.and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5, $4 for
students.

are skillfully intertwined with the
main storyline. It is through these
flashbacks that the deceased character
is developed and the cause of her
death revealed.
The production of LTSY is put
together by the University Players, a
group of students in the Department
of Theatre and Drama, with the help
of director Charles Jackson, a faculty
member of the school, and a design
staff made up of several master de-

signing students. The set designer,
Kevin Myhre, created a noteworthy
stage set, comparable to some of
Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture.
Long Time Since Yesterday, a
powerfully introspective drama of
five women should, according to
Jackson, "stimulate fruitful, positive
discussions about critical issues fac-
ing women and other segments of
society who historically have been
See LONG, page 8

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