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March 05, 1992 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-03-05

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The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - March 5, 1992 - Page 5

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by Darcy Lockman
To most, the
* -~ -word 'accident'
. hasnegative con-
notations. Whether
preceded by 'car'
or followed by 'prone', it is a term
met with apprehension. But student
directors David Kirshenbaum and
Clint Bond, along with student
choreographer Michol Sherman,
have a certain attachment to the
aforementioned word, as all three
began their theater careers quite
accidentally.
"I fell into it by chance junior
year of high school. My friends were
doing a perfornance and asked me
to direct it. I just kept at it when I
got here," explains Kirshenbaum.
'Kept at it' is putting it mildly.
Since his arrival in Ann Arbor in the
fall of 1988, Kirshenbaum has
worked on shows such as Grease,
Guys and Dolls, Cabaret and
Afterthoughts. He is currently
working on Chess, and just recently
finished Better All the Time.
Kirschenbaum not only directed
Time but wrote the script, music, and
lyrics for the musical as well. "I
want to be a lyricist. I'm getting my
Bachelor of Musical Arts in theory
and composition," he says.

Sherman also has an ache for the
big time. After his graduation in
May, he hopes to get a fellowship in
directing, and then go on to work in
musical theater. le first took part in
choreography when his sixth grade
class performed a version of Annie
Get Your Gun. And he's been in-
volved with theater and dancing ever
since, not only as a choreographer,
but as a dancer as well, performing
both professionally and on campus
in such shows as Oklahoma, Hair,
Chicago and Pippin. While he loves
to perform, choreography is his fa-
vorite part of theater.
"It's a lot of work," says
Sherman. "Some pieces just come to
you, but others need to be worked
and reworked. When you see a piece
coming together, that's when it's
rewarding."
Like Kirshenbaum and Sherman,
Bond began his theater career quite
by chance and at a tender age, when
he was made director of his fourth
grade play. He has been drawn to di-
recting ever since, and recently was
involved with A Moon for the
Misbegotten in the Basement Arts.
"It's a challenge." says Bond,
"The hardest thing to do as a director
is to make anything look honest. It's
also difficult to learn that your ideas
can't always take precedence. It's

like a parental thing. You can't tell
your kids what to do, you've just got
to help them see the right thing to
do."
While working with the per-
formers is a major part of directing
and choreographing, a great deal of
the work takes place offstage. It is
common for a director to spend
months on a show before actually
beginning work with the performers.
"You have to really take a piece
apart before directing it," says Bond.
"I try to understand and look at dif-
ferent angles of a character. It's nec-
essary to be familiar with all the
ways a character can be played so
that you can understand the one way
that an actor is going to do it," he
concludes.
With all the time spent organiz-
ing a performance, classes and
studying can be difficult to manage.
"For a while, I was living for the
stress in a way. Rehearsing is such a
good feeling. It's so much the oppo-
site of academic life," says Sherman,
a pre-med psychology major, who is
putting medical school on hold to
pursue a theater career.
Kirshenbaum also finds the time
aspect stressful. "The hours never
stop. I've never known anyone
working on a show who's ever felt
they were on schedule. There aren't

enough hours in a day.".
Although time may be in de-
mand, all three manage to carry full
class loads and still stay active in the
theater. For them, putting together
performances is just as much, if not
more, a part of their education as the
time spent in the classroom. And
each director interviewed, while still
in school, is working with energetic
drive to get experience and build a
resume that will help him enter the
"real world" of theater.
"People who want to get in-
volved should do as much as they
possibly can without flunking out,"
advises Kirshenbaum, who says, "A
good resume implies that people
liked what you did."
It's motivation which is needed
to get a chance in professional
theater. Kirshenbaum, Sherman and
Bond know this and are working to
get that edge. All three know,
however, that theatrical success is
more than just money and fame.
"Making it has different defini-
tions. If someone enjoys one of my
plays, or if I connect with an actor,
than I've made it," says Bond.
Kirshenbaum says a much of success
is chance. "You need to be aggres-
sive, but you also need to be lucky.
A lot of it has to do with being in the
right place at the right time."

What ever happened to Madonna?
Has anyone noticed how putrid Madonna looks nowadays? I kinda
attribute this to the way her "feminist" discourse is roughly parallel to
the "pro-Black" stance of degenerate rap acts like Too Short, Eazy-E
and 2 Live Crew. Madonna's proud to be a woman, even if her most
vivid expressions reek of self-hatred and self-immolation. She degrades
herself and sells millions of records by exploiting her own sexuality. She
gives head to a gigantic Evian bottle on film and joyously masturbates
before a stadium-sized crowd in Canada. This is what we want to see,
isn't it?
My guess is that even a girl like Madonna has to change - you know,
evolve. Note then the order of my six favorites as related to the progres-
sion of her career:
6. "Love Song" - This was absolutely inevitable. In a ballad having
nothing to do with love, two seriously lapsed Christian (well, a Christian
"reformist" and the ultimate Catholic school girl) subversive freaks
come together with scandalous results.
5. "Like a Prayer" - Madonna discovers the gospel choir and her
ultimate weapon, sexual sublimation, builds to unexpected, meteoric
powers. Astounding.
4. "Act of Contrition" - Two lapsed Christian subversive freaks
discover, to their eternal damnation, that they're headed straight to Hell.
Great guitar from Prince.
3. "Vogue" - Madonna discovers alternative sexuality and, as Sandra
Bernhard might attest, the results are spectacular. Madonna's icy veneer
serves house's sterile sensuality perfectly, and her Bette Davis rap
renders her nigh invincible.
2. "Express Yourself" - Once again, the house format serves her well.
The video is brilliant, with Madonna shouting "respect yourself!" while
crawling on her hands and knees, drinking cold milk from a bowl on a
floor.
1. "Justify My Love" - She's not your sister. She's not your mother.
She's not your lover. She's the woman who ripped off Public Enemy
and Ingrid Chavez at one and the same time. Tell me she can't grab her
dick with the best of 'em. Come on.
- Forrest-Mack Dog Nasty

A strange brew of animation

The National Film
Board of Canada's
Animation Festival
Various directors
by Chris Lepley
The Michigan Theater's showing
of The National Film Board of
Canada's Animation Festival has
presented us with a rare opportunity.
This could be the first year in many
of our lives when we can watch the
Academy Awards, secure in the
knowledge that we know who de-
serves the Oscar for best animated
short. That's right, this year you can
say with assurance after it loses,
"Man, 'Blackfly' shoulda got it.
They got hosed."
The Festival opens right up with
a yawn. Although Brian Duch-
scherer's "The Balgonie Birdman" is
a masterpiece of puppet animation
with some exciting action scenes, the
film is mostly a bore. But the good
thing about the Festival is that
nothing lasts very long - so if a
film is dumb, at least it's short.
Some classic moments from
previous Festivals are included in
this film in celebration of the NFB's
50th anniversary. These past ani-
mated shorts are alternately beauti-
ful, poignant and comic.
Caroline Leafs "Two Sisters" is

a scratch film which tells the story of
a disfigured writer and her sister
who live in isolation. The animation
is sparse and difficult to decipher at
times, but the emotions are crystal
clear. "Strings," Wendy Tilby's
short, has been nominated for an
Academy Award, but instead of
Tilby's confusing portrait of two
strangers getting their drains fixed,
give the Oscar to Christopher
Hinton's "Blackfly," a comedic,
dramatized folk-song about being
eaten alive by bugs in Northern
Ontario.
While I may be biased from
watching too much Bugs Bunny, I
found the funny shorts to be the
highlights of the festival. Les Drew's
"Every Dog's Guide to the
Playground" and Richard Condie's
"The Apprentice" were both hilari-
ous, but the biting irony of Suzanne.
Gervais' and Jacques Giraldeau's
"The Irises" - a comment on the
insane price ($54,000,000) paid for
Vincent Van Gogh's "The Irises" -
and John Weldon's "The Lump" -
a story of popularity and power -
were the most engaging.
THE NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF
CANADA'S ANIMATION FES-
TIVAL plays tonight at 7 p.m.,
Saturday at 5:15 p.m. and Sunday at
4:30 p.m. at the Michigan Theater.

Gilda Radner (center) got an impish start in the 1968 production of "The Elves and The Shoemaker" at the Lydia.
Giv e $50,000 to the U and get a
theater named for dear ol' Mom

Wally

By Carina A. Bacon
T o many of us
.T avid theatergo-
ers, the name
Lydia Mendel-
ssohn sparks ma-
ny memories.
The minute you,
walk in the door of the intimate
674-seat theater, you are struck by
its quaint old-fashioned charm.
The dim lighting, red velour seats,
crystal chandeliers and gently
sloping aisles are rich with
tradition.
Maybe you have acted upon her
proscenium stage, played an instru-
ment in her curved orchestra pit,
worked behind the scenes, or just
enjoyed one of her many perfor-
mances. However you have come
to know the Mendelssohn Theatre,
have you ever wondered who the
real woman was behind the name?
According to Ralph Beebe,
Mendelssohn house manager,

Lydia was the wife of Louis
Mendelssohn, who died in 1901.
She had no affiliation with the
University, but when the women of
the Michigan League needed mon-
ey, her son, Gordon Mendelssohn,
donated $50,000 in her memory.
"Lydia" is now in her 63rd year
here at the University, and the
changes to the theater have been
relatively minor. While air condi-
tioning was added and front stage
steps were removed, everything
else remained intact. In 1979, just
before the theater's 50th birthday,
a benefit performance enabled
some modern renovations, without
losing the playhouse's old-fash-
ioned charm.
The Mendelssohn Theatre has
been home to a variety of commu-
nity theatrical organizations, stu-
dent productions, and, in former
years, touring companies. Jeffrey
Kuras, managing director of
University Productions, explained
the process by which performances

end up on University stages.
"University Productions main-
tains the building and is in charge
of scheduling, but there are three
major groups who are in charge of
producing the shows: the Office of
Major Events, University Musical
Society and the School of Music."
The scheduling office begins to
plan performances around May or
June for the entire upcoming year.
Groups such as Gilbert & Sullivan,
Musket and SophShow receive pri-
ority before times are offered to
other theatrical organizations.
Within the School of Music and
the Department of Theatre and
Drama, each type of show to be
performed is chosen by that par-
ticular department from musical
theater to dance to opera. Perfor-
mances range from classical to
contemporary, with department
members keeping track of the ratio
of women to men and making sure
to include diverse cultures.

Saturday at 5:15 p.m. and Sunday at
4:30 p.m. at the Michigan Theater.
A
timfeless'
classic
~The
scarab
M- Bracelet

Wally The Safety Dog stars in "Every Dog's Guide to the Playground."

available as
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-experience with workshop 30 hours of training on facilitation skills
opportunity to presentations, teaching and racism, sexism, heterosexism and other
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