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November 02, 1990 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-11-02
This is a tabloid page

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their concerns where they may
not have been able to before," he
says. "There's no other ethnic
group or place that does (that)."
Wu says the MAC has become
more effective recently because
individual members have put the
agenda of the group ahead of their
personal interests. He says MAC
members brought their groups'
agendas to a meeting earlier this
year and that similarities were
But coordinating different
ethnic groups is difficult, Wu
"There are organizations that
don't like MAC - they feel other
groups would drag them down."
think the University
should make more
effort to bring
together students of
"The culture of this university
does not stress that working
together is a positive trait," Harris
The University recently
established a $100,000 fund for
students, faculty or staff to
finance "creative proposals to
promote diversity." The money is
available for any organization with
a proposal for a new program or
event. The fund announcement
lists workshops, seminars,
publications, and social events
among the events which could
receive money.
Walter Harrison, Executive
Director for University Relations,

come up with the military angle.
The Safety at Home, Security
Abroad sub-text was meant to
show the integral role of campus
police and University military
research in the preservation of
Our Future, and it came off
The students were restless, of
course, and maybe they should
have had a bigger pen to march in
- because it did get very
crowded. But the chicken wire
kept their contribution to a
minimum, and the press was
given an excellent view of the
new police force marching at the
front of the military-industrial
As the parade rounded the
library and came onto the center
of the Diag, the police spread out
into elegant formation -
surrounding the students - with
a great clicking of heels and
rattling of riot gear, and
Blundersplat mounted the steps
of the new monument.
The midday sun reflected off
the gold stars and buttons of his
uniform - and off the uniform of
every single police officer there
- as Jimmy unrolled the scroll
and began to read his first
proclamation as Commander-In-
Chief of University Police.
"This Code of Non-Academic
Conduct will lead us safely,
securely, and proudly into a
future of diverse plurality..."

the actor/critic who
flew into a tirade
at the suggestion
of preforming
Rickman and
Shaw, who had
been previously
unwilling to risk
the publicity
live-from LondonIsurrounding the
I i e r on1 o nd on .troupe's transfer,
Jon Casson! takes relented.
4 ~Thus Casson!
h p ta eand four students
from Yale, UCLA,
underground in A nnN-'uand
A r bo r found themselves
the new owners of

--For 50 years, we have
wished success & happiness
in your exams & well-being--
The Dascola Stylists
opposite Jacobson's

budgets. Because of the
incredible short-sightedness of
legislators and voters. Because of
the blood lust socialized into
children starting with the first
time they turn on 'G.I. Joe' on the
tube. Because..."
Thumbing through my
pamphlets, I finally found the
correct NRA response to his
I shot him.

"Like Tv, ninety percent of all
theater is boring," says Jon Casson!,
theater student and director of the
upcoming Basement Arts' show
Reckless. Casson! is out to support the
remaining 10 percent with a
vengeance. Last year, in order to make
up for what he perceives as a lack of
innovative theater on campus, he
brought The Dilletante Theater Group
West to Michigan. Originally
established in England a decade ago,
The Dilletante Theatre Group was, in
its day, the underground theater in
"[TDTG was] concerned with taking
risks and saying something to the
public that applies to them in today's
world - art for fun's sake and art's
sake," says Casson! There was no .
advertising, no Broadway (or in
London's case, West End) hype, and
no concern about pleasing crowds..
Despite - or because of - this, the
group's work drew large audiences.
TDTG eventually folded, but now, 10
years later, the troupe has been revived
here in the United States. The story of
how Casson! came to own the rights to
the TDTG trademark is a drama in itself.
Its first act took place last summer,
when Casson!, then studying in
England, was forced to rehearse a piece
from Chekhov. He instead performed a
monologue of his own, in which he
spewed his irreverent opinions about
the theatric canon, which he decried,
rightly or wrongly, as dry and boring.
His tirade did not go unnoticed. To
TDTGfounders Fiona Shaw (from My
Left Foot and currently an actress with
the Royal Shakespeare Company and
National Theater Co. in England) and
Alan Rickman (Die Hard, Quigley Down
Under, and the original Valmont the
London production of Les Liasons
Dangereuses), Casson!'s speech sounded
familiar. It was the same sort of thing
they had discussed when they found
the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art's
curriculum boring, and started TDTG.
At the end of the summer of 1989,
Rickman and Shaw were served with
legal papers asking-for the rights to the
TDTG name. Recognizing Casson! as
by Jenie Dahlmann and Mary

TDTG's trademark. Being Americans,
they added "West" and a new
company was born.
The new owners of TDTGWest had
no immediate plans; their ownership
was a fluke as a result of a legal
dispute in London. But upon his
return to the University, Casson!
found student theater unexpectedly
restrained in its habits, even within the
supposedly innovative Basement Arts
Casson! and David Wilcox, who
graduated last spring in Theater and
Drama, gained a slot in the Basement
Arts program, but didn't want the
Basement Arts name on their 1989
production of Caryl Churchill's Cloud
Nine. Instead, Wilcox and Casson!
produced Cloud Nine under
TDTGWest's trademark.
TDTGWest only performs works
written within the past few years
because Casson! believes works lose
their social relevance at a faster pace
these days. Plays like As Is, which
deals with the AIDS epidemic in the
early '80s, are trite to audiences today,
Casson! claims.
Casson! also says that performances
about social issues must be subtle.
"Messages pushed down
your throat don't do any
good. The person goes away
thinking the obvious and
forgets about it the next
day," he says. Possibly the
most daring production ever
staged on this campus, Caryl
Churchill's work deals with
sexism, racism, and
homophobia in a radical way.
The cast included "Blacks as
whites, men as women,
women as boys, and a doll as
a girl. It was this reckless
thing," says Casson! Because
of the absurdist casting,
audiences weren't quite sure
what they were viewing, but
they left feeling different.
Although Casson! believes
"this year things have(
changed completely for the
better in Basement Arts," he
Beth Barber

will use TDTGWest trademark
week's production of Craig Lt
Reckless. Between it and Cloud
TDTGWest has accrued 20 new
members. Casson! chose Reckk
comedy that takes a right turn
hell," because he agrees with :
message and because "it's just
nuts." The main character, Ra
finds her life torn apart one Ch
Eve, and tries to run away fron
past, but it "won't let her go n
how nicely she asks it. She dis
route that she is not alone in h
lifestyle torn from her, as she
everyone she hides from is on
from their star-crossed lives."
Casson! believes that if mor
was innovative and willing to
perhaps the American public'v
discover theater's magic, inste
sitting around watching televi
"Theater often doesn't allow
enjoy the fact it's theater anyr
tries to be television and film
should remain its own art form
says. The theater is a place of
uncertainty and imperfection
have immediate interaction be
actor and audience. Nothing c
that. "Emotions travel throug
space - they can't be recorde
TDTGWest may be moving t
York next year to continue its
In the meantime, without suc
in the Basement to work with
scripts and ideas, theater wou
obsolete . Weird theater gurus
needed to keep innovative dr
and although Casson! may see
epitome of the avant-garde th
freak, in his words, "If I'm the
thing this campus has, than th
is in trouble."
Reckless, by Craig Lucas wil
preformed Nov 8-11 at5 PM Are
basement of Frieze Bldg, free -




November 2, 1990


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