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September 07, 1989 - Image 83

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-07
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The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 7, 1989- Page 10

The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, S

Films arrive from all
corners of the globe-.

Stages of greatness.
bauild around campus

By Marisa Anaya
Daily Arts Writer
Before coming to Ann Arbor you may have
shied away from the theatre, thinking that it
just can't match up to the big (or little) screen
for edge-of-your-seat entertainment. Or you
may have been turned off after sitting through
high school productions of non-risqu6, parents-
approved musicals like Oklahoma that you
attended because your friend was in the cast or
because you'd get extra credit for your English
class. Or you may have written off theatre
from your life because you simply do not have
the means to fly off to London or New York
to see The Phantom of the Opera or Les
Miserables at $50 a ticket.
Rejoice, then, because all of these excuses
are rendered obsolete upon entrance to
WolverineLand. Ann Arbor and the University
of Michigan provide you with enough gooood
theatre to put off studying indefinitely under
the pretense of getting "cultured" - while
being fully entertained in the process.
Ann Arbor abounds in varieties of theatre;
the University's Department of Theatre and
Drama, located in the Frieze Building, is where
you can always get information on current
productions and auditions. Or simply stroll
through the Diag and you'll see fliers and
banners on the kiosks and in the trees.
University Players is the undergraduate
theatre group which puts on faculty-directed
shows with an all student cast. Last year this
group shocked audiences with a revolutionary
production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer
Night's Dream, in which director Philip Kerr
(whose impressive credits include co-starring
on Broadway with Christopher Plummer and
Glenda Jackson in Macbeth) replaced the tra-
ditional fairyland forest with a modern day-glo
discotheque peopled by Ziggy Stardust con-
temporaries.

University Activity Center's MUSKET,
run by students, produces two musicals a year,
including SophShow. MUSKET's past credits
include Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and
the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and
Jesus Christ Superstar. Just last year they put
on a production of the classic Chicago that
was so professionally polished that I swear it
could have been on Broadway - or at least Off
Broadway.
Another University-sponsored theatre group
is the Residential College Players,
primarily constituted by but not limited to RC
students. They put on a wide variety of plays,
which are many times the culmination ofan
in-depth study of the play in an Residential
College course. Last year this led to a
powerful performance of Marlowe's Dr.
Faustus.
Like RC Players, the Brecht Company -
which also performs in East Quad, although it
primarily consists of non-students -
concentrates on the "epic" theatre form of
Bertolt Brecht and other works influenced by
the German playwright.
Black Theatre Workshop, headed by
Charles Jackson, features Afro-American
playwrights, artist, and performers. In addition
to directing, Jackson portrayed Malcolm X last
year in Performance Network's The Meeting, a
powerful, thought-provoking play dealing with
the hypothetical confrontation of Malcolm X
and Martin Luther King, Jr.
A non-profit community theatre,
Performance Network provides a great
opportunity to get away from the campus
scene and experience unconventional theatre at
its best. This intimate old warehouse theatre,
located out on 408 W. Washington, is com-
plete with black walls and a black concrete
pillar in the center that obscures your view if
you sit in certain seats. Performance Network

will transport you to the cozy hole-in-the-wall
theatres of Off Off Broadway, and spark your
curiousity with titles such as Wowie Kazowie
and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. Local
writers get a shot at premiering their works
here, as well as local directors who want to
stage their interpretations of plays by famous
authors such as Tom Stoppard and Sam
Shepard.
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre is another non-
University related organization offering main-
stream productions right here in town.
But if you prefer more of that luring inti-
mate atmosphere and have seen everything that
Performance Network is offering, explore the
Kerrytown Concert House, which is
literally the size of a living room. This past
spring they presented Hopwood Award Winner
Dan Plice's Submarines and Weltschmerz,
two powerful dramas that show why this U of
M graduate is destined for a successful career in
playwriting.
Submarines had its premiere on the Arena
Stage in the basement of the Frieze building.
As the home of Basement Arts, students test
their mettle in all sorts of acting, producing,
and directing endeavors on Thursday and Friday
at 5 p.m. And what's more, you can
experience this plentiful talent free of charge!
There are a number of additional groups
that are no less entertaining, such as the
University's Musical Theatre Department,
the undergraduate group which puts on big-
name musicals; Barrier Free Theatre, a

group consisting of both handicapped and able-
bodied performers; Comic Opera Guild,
specializing in European operettas; and the
Gilbert and Sullivan Society, dedicated to
the preservation of the ever-popular duo's
operettas.
The University has been extremely privi-
leged to attract big names to its theatre de-
partment, such as Andr6 De Shields (who
starred in the title role of The Wiz o n
Broadway). As the 1989 Martin Luther King
Jr./ Cesar Chavez/ Rosa Parks Visiting
Professor, De Shields directed The Trojan
Women and turned it into a technological
masterpiece. The University is also blessed
with well-known and respected faculty
members, such as Benedict Nightingale,
theatre critic for the New York Times.
These are the solid foundations upon which
successful theatre is built. But what makes its
productions truly rise up in performance is the
steady current of talent flowing through the
University and Ann Arbor community. After a
show or two you will see howtAnn Arbor
bursts with famous names in the making.
Remember that Arthur Miller, James Earl
Jones, and the late Gilda Radner all began their
careers here at the U of M - who knows what
new stars are yet to ascend from our local
stage?

By Mark Shaiman
Daily Arts Writer
Years ago tons of films were.
shown here in campus auditoriums
by the local cinema groups - even
on weeknights. These days, the
showings are still the most readily
available and inexpensive entertain-
ment around. On the last few days of
each month, students scramble
around town to find the new copy of
Current, a free magazine listing the
upcoming month's events, and then
plot their schedules around the list-
ings found in the back.
Ann Arbor has a reputation that
even draws filmgoers from Detroit,
Canada, and Ohio. In the last year,
Ann Arbor has been host to the
Midwest premiere of The Accidental
Tourist, the national premiere of the
significant Turkish film, Iron Earth,
Copper Sky (bringing in the director
to the United States for the first
time), a festival of films by the
Japanese master Ozu, and a Lesbian
and Gay Male film festival.
Basically, there are three places to
see movies easily within walking
distance of campus - the Michigan

Theater, and the Ann Arbor
Theater, and campus lecture audito-
riums at Angell Hall and the
Modern Languages Building, as
well as assorted others.
The latter locales may seem the
least glamorous, but they offer the
biggest range of titles - and since
the 'U' is currently renovating many
of these auds, the equipment is mod-
ern and the seating comfortable. At

$2.50 for a single film, $3.50 for a
double feature, the price can't be
beat.
Three primary groups regularly
show films in these auditoriums, and
now that they are recovering from a
financial dry spell, they are also re-
gaining their own identities.
Cinema Guild has been around
the longest and is known for its se-
lection of classic American (Hawks,

Ford) and foreign (Truffaut, Kiro-
sawa) films. Cinema II has become
associated with Bugs Bunny (and
pals) Film Fests. The Ann Arbor
Film Cooperative has the most
interesting schedule of all, bringing
in off-beat films from Tod Brown-
ing's Freaks to Czechoslavakian
animation.
Two other groups, Hill St.
Cinema (which shows at the Hillel

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