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October 15, 1992 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-10-15

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The Michigan Daily-Weekend etc. October 15,1992 Page 1
Cold looking
for that hero X X
ast week, it was expressed in
these very pages the glaring
lack of heroes in our society. Sit- x
ting with some of my fellow mem-"
bers of the cultural elite at one of
A2's fine philosophical outposts
(a.k.a. coffee shops) we gathered to
sip espresso and wax eloquently on
said topic.
Resplendent in black turtlenecks
and berets, we attempted to deter-
mine a true-blue, living and breath-
ing hero. We decided early on to
eliminate all sports stars and musi-
cians from contention. It's far too
limiting for kids to aspire to be
another Chuck D or Michael Jor-
dan (and being a Pistons fan, I find

Jordan and his crony Scottie Pippin
insufferable).
We soon realized there was a
depressingly small number of
people we could come up with, and
that was a struggle. Alice Walker,
Jesse Jackson, and Louis Farrakhan
were among the few names batted
around. Still, we couldn't come up
with anyone that more than one or
two people could agree on.
"Why is it that we need one
person to look up to for some kind
of inspiration?" I argued. "The
people I respect the most are groups
of people thathave banded together
to combat racism and oppression,
and got theirs in the process. Take
the Jews, for instance. You wonder
why there's somuch anti-Semitism
in the world? Because despite
worldwide attempts to keep them
down, (and even exterminated) they
overcame and established them-
selves. They came to America to
escape hatred, only to face ithere as
well. They were herded into ghet-
toes, which they turned into flour-
ishing communities. They started
businesses, hiring their brothers and
sisters (literally and figuratively)
putting the money right back into
those communities. Basically, they
did whatever was necessary to make
abetter life for themselves and their
children. And it worked. And that
power scares the shit out of a lot of
people. I think it's time for Afri-
can-Americans to follow their ex-
ample and get ours."
One of our panel members was
not amused.
"Hey, they could pass for WASP
when they needed to. All they had
to do was change their last names
and they were in there. And don't
forget they came of their own free
will. We were dragged in chains!
There's a big difference there,
brother."
"I don't need a history lesson
from you," I retorted. "But aren't
you tired of finding excuses in-
stead of working towards a solu-
tion? All I'm saying is that there's
no reason we can't form a united
front to gain power, which we all
know comes with money. Instead
of us Detroiters rushing out to the
suburbs to give our money away on
a new pair of baggies, why not buy
'em in the city, at a store like Spec-
tacles, that's run by a sister doing it
for herself?"
"What the hell do jeans have to
do with this?" he steamed.
"The question is moot," I an-
swered. "It's merely symbolic of
the powerof the African-American
dollar, andourresponsibilities when
using that power. Once it's har-
nessed, we too will be a force to be
reckoned with. Why do you think
there are so many Black TV shows
this season? Sudden cultural aware-

really want this play
and terribly feel that I
have something to do
with this. Like when
you have image of the
play once, it is very difficult to get rid
from this image. You have to materialize
your fantasies about the play. Otherwise it
will torture you a long time."
It is recent Russian immigrant
Vladimir Mirzoev's image that will take
form in the University Department of
Theatre and Drama's first production of
the season, "The Birthday Party" by
Harold Pinter. Mirzoev is a guest director
originally from Moscow who currently
resides and works in Toronto. "The
Birthday Party" is his United States
directorial debut.
It was a coincidence that Mirzoev
would make his debut at the University.
After several staff members saw his work
at the Horizontal Eight, his theater in

Toronto, an invitation was arranged for
him to come here as a guest director. This
is the first time that he has directed
students.
"I was scared, to be honest, to direct
students because you have to train them,
you have to teach them very fast to
introduce your method and to use this
method immediately. Because I'm
working in quite definite style and it's not
easy to get all ideas very fast. You have to
spend like one year, maybe, working
together and after this you will find
common language. In my group, in
Toronto, we working together second
season and I cannot say that we are
absolutely fine. We still have a lot of
problems. It is a process of development,"
he said.
Mirzoev's approach to directing is
hardly dictatorial, even with inexperi-
enced undergraduate actors. Although
working with students is a new experience
for him, he does
not feel that he
has had to change
his style to
accomodate them.
"It's not easy
to do something
really new in this
sense," he said.
"Even though I
understand that I
have to have
different attitude
because they're
not professionals.
They still
leaming things. A
lot of things for
them completely
new but still I get
used to being
with my actors on
equal foot. I want
to have exchange
of ideas and I
need, really,
feedback, very
strong creative
energy from my
actors.
"I think I am
pushing them (the
students) to this
side. It's not easy
for them because
I have feeling that

this method which they learn before, actor
more passive, that director should feed
them and finally we have this form on the
stage. But I think it's wrong, especially
for students. They should be really active
in their work, really creative, to suggest a
lot, to really be energetic and creative.",
"The Birthday Party," written in 1958,
is a play which demands this creativity
and energy. Pinter, who is also known for
his screenplays for such films as "The
French Lieutenant's
Woman" and "The E B
Comfort of Strangers," T
uses complex techniques October -
of speech to portray the October
many layers of meaning True"o Th -
in language. n th
The play centers
around Stanley, an C
unemployed pianist who
is living in a boarding house. Two
mysterious invaders threaten Stanley and
charge him with unexplained crimes. The
play follows Stanley through his transi-
tions.
"This play is very much about transi-
tion through which each human being
should go. To be born or to die, it is
transition from one space, or from one
state, of biological life. This idea of
transition very connected for me with this
English language world in general
because of culture and with United States
and Canada," Mirzoev said.
Mirzoev left Moscow in 1989 in
search of the reality that would accom-
pany his image of Western society. He
moved to Toronto and spent about six
months doing odd jobs and learning
English.
"I felt really strong about this immi-
gration partly because almost all my
productions in Moscow were foreign
plays," he said. "It was modern English
language or French language theater. At
some point I just start to ask myself why,
why I'm so interested; why I'm really
attracted to foreign writers. I realize that I
really have certain image of foreign
culture which is very important for me
and this image very much connected with
everything I'm doing in Moscow. .
"So, I decided to have this trip and to
make this culture real for myself, to learn
language, to be surrounded, not just by
books but by different reality. So, I
decided to open for myself another culture

which was influence on me really strong
from my youth."
For Mirzoev, his move to Canada
mirrored the transitions in Pinter's drama.
It is from this move that Mirzoev is
drawing on to bring the play together.
"I grew up with this mythology (of
how the United States would be). And
now I transferred myself from reality of
Russia into this mythological reality. And
this is experience of transition from one
culture into another. It's very much
shocking and
interesting
experience. For
and 22 - 24 at 8 . me this play is
25 at 2 pm.about this kind
of experience,"
iig."i" he said.
$6 for students Even though
the move has
been a positive
one, some things were lost in the process.
"Even in Moscow, I could do more
interesting things because of situation. In
Moscow you could find interesting things
in the garbage. In Canada you have to buy
garbage," he said.
Besides the garbage, however,
permanent repertory companies are also
more prevalent in Russia than here, which
are an advantage, Mirzoev explained.
"It was unusual idea to have very little
company but rep company. A permanent
group of people working years and years
learning how to work together and so on.
It was very alien idea," Mirzoev said. "I
think it (working with a permanent group)
is really important in theater art because
people jumping into relationships, doing
something and immediately splitting, it's
like promiscuity. It doesn't work."
Mirzoev has done many things besides
directing. He worked on several theater
journals in Russia as well as written
several pieces of fiction. But he seems to
have found his niche in directing.
"More than directing, it is art of
interpretation, I would say because
modern theater language very complex
and it should be complicated," he said.
"Theater is not democratic art anymore.
Theater cannot compete with television or
films and so on.
"It is very different art from theater in
last century. It's a very different situation.
So, it means that theater should be
complicated enough and shouldn't be just
See BIRTHDAY, Page 8

I-"

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