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September 13, 1990 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-09-13

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The Michigan Daily

--------------

ARTS
Thursday, September 13, 1990
comedy returns

Page 5

Havel's dark

by Jenie Dahlmann
In the mid 1960s Vaclav Havel, a.
zechoslovakian poet and play-
wright, latched onto the tradition of
absurdist theater because he believed
it best reflected the political and so-
cial systems of Czechoslovakia at
that time. Today, not only is he one
of Europe's foremost playwrights,
he also happens to be the President
of Czechoslovakia. Because of a
huge show of curiosity from the col-
lege community about this eclectic
*ontemporary figure, the Perfor-
mance Network is staging a revival
of their sold-out summer production
of Havel's comedy, The Memorah-
dum.
The Memorandum addresses the
negative aspects of a de-humanized
society. The plot takes place entirely
in a generic office building where no
company logo or corporate associa-
ti6ns are ever mentioned. The
managing director is overthrown by
an ambitious assistant who creates
an. artificial language, Ptydepe, in
Qrder to make communication com-
pletely exact and efficient. The lan-
guage becomes so complicated that
no one can learn it, thus making
communication virtually impossi-
ble. When Ptydepe falls apart, yet
another language is introduced.
*These languages were meant to
serve human beings but they end up
ruling them," says production direc-
tor Rick Sperling.
- Sperling, a native Ann Arborite,
believes that Havel's politics and art
age one and that people are able to
get a richer picture of the man's pol-
itics through his plays. However,
the last thing he wants people to be
The University Activities Cen-
ter's musical productions group,'
MUSKET, is holding auditions for
Pipin by Rodger 0. Hirson to be
performed this semester. Auditions
are on Friday in the Anderson Room
of the Union and on Saturday in the
back room of the UAC offices.
Callbacks are on Sunday. To audi-
tion, sign up on the audition list on
,the door of the UAC offices, second
floor of the Union. Auditioners

Private Life
Private Life.
Warner Bros.
Ok, let's name drop - Eddie Van
Halen and Van Morrison, both of
whom need no introduction, and Jeff
Katz, long-time photographer for
Prince, all had something to do with
Private Life's self-titled debut al-
bum. So, once one gets past the big
names, what does the band have to
offer?
With "Touch Me," the LP's
first track, the band shows that they
may have a female lead singer, Kelly
Breznik, but they are definitely not
going to pussyfoot around. Jennifer
Blakeman, who plays keyboards,
also refuses to allow herself to go
unnoticed. She starts the song and
the album off with a dynamic intro-
duction. Breznik boldly repeats
throughout, "Touch me (ooh) if you
dare. Don't be afraid to love me
anywhere." Now, aren't you a tad bit
intrigued?
The men in the quintet do not go
unnoticed, either. Danny Johnson,
guitarist and background vocalist,
performs a powerful guitar solo that
leads into "Fallin' Apart," most
easily explained as a blues song with
an edge. Johnson plays extended un-
dertones that climax into an all-out

jam, with Breznik's vocals keeping
up with him all the way.
The final track on side
one,"Communication," showcases
the abilities of drummer/background
vocalist Chris Frazier. Frazier and
Johnson kick-start the tune with a
killer drum-guitar accompaniment,
and bassist/background vocalist
Steve Kershisnik keeps things tight.
The lyrics are irrelevant, except
where the chorus, a hollow cry of,
"Communication..." interrupts the
rhythm of the pounder and the stro-
ker.
"Night All Night," side two's
first track, is comprised of the musi-
cians' best. This, basically, is what
Private Life is about. The song
rocks as the powers of the five mu-
sicians blow the graced listener
away. Breznik punches the lyrics to
her audience, "Live it up right," and
the music screams - "We are gonna
rock you 'til you're scarred."
"Domino," the Van Morrison
cover tune is rather lame, never
mind a poor choice for inclusion on
the album, especially since the
group has proven itself to be made
up of a bunch of skilled writers.
-Kim Yaged

Jeff Seasholtz expresses the pressure of using Ptydepe in Performance Network's second run of Vaclav
Havel's The Memorandum.

thinking as they exit the theater is
that "things are awful in Czechoslo-
vakia."
"Havel didn't write solely for his
country, it was his starting point of
experience but his message is uni-
versal. You can apply it to all mod-
ern industrial societies, the United
States especially," Sperling says. In
The Memorandum Havel raises
questions about modem bureaucracy
and technology and how these elabo-
rate systems get in the way of hu-

man relationships, morals and
ethics. He introduces the idea that if
people put too much faith in one
system, they start to treat their fel-
low human like mere parts of the
machinery that make the system
work.
The Memorandum might sound
like a night of heavy, contemplative
theater, but Sperling assures "Humor
is part of Havel's politics, he doesn't
take himself too seriously." He en-
courages the audience to laugh even

though they may be hesitant at first.
At one time people might have left
the theater thinking that systems are
impossible to escape, but because of
today's optimism about Eastern Eu-
rope Sperling hopes the audience
will realize this message: "Whenever
you try to fit human beings into
boxes they will eventually bust
out."
THE MEMORANDUM will be
presented at the Performance
Network, 408 West Washington St.
on Monday, Sept. 17th through
Thursday Sept. 20 from 6-10:30 pm
in the Michigan League Studio
(basement.) For more information
call the UMGASS office at 761-
7855.
Share the
news~

ATTENTION VOICE STUDENTS!
The Mvetropolftan opera XNational(Council
announces
The 1991 Great Lakes Region
District Auditions
Deadline for application: October 13, 1990
Applications must be obtained
by contacting the Detroit District Co-Directors:
Mary Sue Ewing (313) 477-8629
Elaine Fontana (313) 644-8197
The auditions will be held in Detroit on Saturday, October 27, 1990
Sponsored by Royal Maccabees Life Insurance,
in Association with Michigan Opera Theatre.

should prepare one song and bring
sheet music (but not a piece from
the show), and wear dance clothes.
Be prepared to stay for an hour and a
half. Knowledge of the musical is
encouraged. For more information
call 763-1107.
Amaiz'n Blue, the University
Activities Center's acappella

group, is hotding auditions on Sept.
18 in the Anderson room of the
Union before the UAC mass meet-
ing. All parts are needed. For more
information call 763-1107.
The U of M Gilbert and Sulli-
van Society is holding auditions for
the fall productions of Princess Ida

_

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