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September 12, 1991 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-12

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 12, 1991
Strindberg and Chekhov do the basement

by Jennifer Workman
Have you ever wondered exactly
what post-modern expressionist
theater is all about? Well now's
your chance to find out, and it won't
cost you a penny. This week,
easement Arts will present Scenes
grom Modern Drama, a chore-
ographed series of scenes pulled
from plays by some of the big names
in modern theater - Chekhov,
inter and Strindberg, to name a
few. Bits of their works are woven
together by twelve actors, who jug-
gie genres from expressionism to
absurdism from scene to scene.
'Kevin Humbert, the director and
.goordinator of Scenes, hopes to
showcase a mixture of dramatic
writing styles and acting tech-
niques. The texts will move in a
scattered chronological order
throughout the evening. "The audi-
ence should be prepared for a fast-
paced volleying of scenes," Hum-
bert says. Each scene will have a
short introduction to give the au-
dience an understanding of what the

play entails, as well as to fill in any
blanks that may emerge. The ensem-
ble begins with Chekhov's, The
Seagull, written at the end of the
19th century, and concludes with a
scene from Harold Pinter's 1988
Mountain Language.
Although he experimented and
worked informally throughout the
summer with the play's actors,
Humbert stresses that he ensemble
is not working toward a polished
performance. Holding the belief
that fixed goals within scene pre-
sentation stifle creativity, Humbert
says he wishes that "the show could
be seen as a lab or workshop."
Working on a shoestring budget,
the Basement Arts troupe is self-
sufficient. "We direct ourselves.
Everyone gives his own opinion,"
Humbert says. As well as acting in
the scenes, each student participates
in running the lights and in handling
props. The number of short scenes
being performed presents difficul-
ties for each multi-roled actor. Eric
Vesbit, an actor in Basement Arts,

explains the challenge of "trying to
make a scene stand on its own." "It
is much more difficult to just do
one scene," he says. "(Although)
the entire play is revolutionary, the
scene may not be so revo-
lutionizing."
Holding the belief that
fixed goals within
scene presentation
stifle creativity,
Humbert says he
wishes that 'the show
could be seen as a lab
or a workshop'

addition to presenting differenti-
ated writing styles, Humbert also
wanted to present a "mix of comedy
and heavy stuff."
Humbert's collection of scenes
moves from Chekhov's realism to
Strindberg's expressionism, from
Edward Bond's British mixture of
epic theater and post-modernism to
the absurdism of Beckett's Waiting
for Godot, concluding with scenes
from Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern are Dead.
Leaving realism behind and ex-
ploring these dramatic styles is hard
for many actors. "Actors are influ-
enced by realism and naturalism
from TV and the movies," Vesbit
says. "It's difficult to work on
scenes and to break away from real-
ism." Although theatrical realism
may present problems for his actors,
Humbert points out, "The stage is a
stage and not real life."

Every scene that Humbert chose
needed to be somewhat self-con-
tained. Finding scenes that met the
constraints of the low number of
actors he had to work with, as well
as avoiding references to the rest of
the play, was an obstacle for him. In

SCENES FROM MODERN DRA-
MA will be performed Thursday
through Saturday at S p.m. in the
Arena Theater in the basement of
the Frieze Bldg. The performance is
absolutely free.

George Sand (Judy Davis) cross-dresses and smokes cigars. Here she
contemplates the Parisian art world. "Paris is Burning, you know, maybe
those guys were onto something!"

L'artistes
(pro)create

Impromptu
dir. James Lapine
by Mark Binelli
T he love affair between George
Sand and Frederic Chopin was the
stuff People magazine covers are
made of: she, a notoriously liberal
proto-feminist, as well as the most
popular novelist of her time (a time
which included Charles Dickens and
Victor Hugo, among others); he, a
See IMPROMPTU, Page 9
ANN ARboR
6TH AVE. AT UBERTY 78t-i700

s

3.00DAILYASHOWS BEFORE PM

1

STUDENT W M I.O1.50O
NOW SNOWVING
LOVE WITHOUT PITY
THE DOCTOR ipa.i
BUY A 22oz. DRINK AND GET ONE

. 1

I

FreBU 4A 2oz .PR ADGO N
PRESENT THIS COUPON WITH PURCHASED
TICKET THRU 9/1291
Ifor UAC ! MUSKETs Production of

Monday, September 16 @ 7:00pm
In the Anderson Room of the Union

I

University Activities Center is a student-run
organization providing nrtnmnad
cultural programming for students of theV of M.

.1

"I want to know the
thoughts of GOD,
everything else is
just details"
Albert Einstein
Campus Crusade for Christ's weekly meeting
Singing, meeting new friends and
learning more about Christianity's

4

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