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November 11, 1992 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-11-11

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily- Wednesday, November 11, 1992

Attitude, suits and some singing roosters

by Jen Slajus
.:You've gotta love promotional
brochures: "Chanticleer's captivat-
ing stage presence and flair make the
ensemble one of America's finest
musical attractions."
"Hrnm. I wonder who wrote that.
We're just a bunch of guys wearing
tuxedos," admitted Frank Albinder,
assistant conductor and really mel-
low member of Chanticleer.
Of course, they are more than
that. They must be, with their
records, which include two new ones
this fall: "With a Poet's Eye," a col-
lection of new American choral mu-
sic, and Antoine Brumnel's "Missa
Berzerette savoyenne." Not to men-
tion that for the last four years, the
Naticnal Endowment for the Arts
has awarded them its largest choral
grant. Plus, they've performed all
over the world, citing the National
Concert Hal in Taiwan as one of the
stand-out concert arenas. And you
may even have heard them crooning
through the waves of National Pub-
lic Radio.
This Wednesday evening they're
doing Ann Arbor fwr the first time in
two years, as part of a six-week
trans-continental tour. "Thanks-
giying (will be spent) in a small
town in Austria that I can't even find
on the map," noted Albinder.
For those of us who have been
living in the silence of books since
1978, when the group was founded
in San Francisco, Chanticleer hap-
pens to be the only full-time profes-
siqnal a cappella group in the United
Stites. "For people who have heard

a lot of a cappella groups, we're ... a
cross between lots of other groups,
not the same as anybody," explained
Albinder. "The group started out do-
ing only Renaissance music, and be-
cause of that, we're still doing lots of
early music (written before 1700).
But over the years, the group's ex-
panded its repertoire, and now we do
a lot of stuff that's written especially
for us. Also a lot of pop stuff, like
gospel and jazz, swing and '40s and
barbershop. (Tonight's program)
will be a very eclectic mix."
Essentially an orchestra of
voices,' the group is composed of 12
men who hail from all over the U.S.,
accompanied with comparably di-
verse musical backgrounds, inlclud-
ing musical theater, opera, and spiri-
tual. This variety of tastes and expe-
rience, noted Albinder, fuels their
creative appetite. "One of the great
strengths of the group is the fact that
we do so many styles of music and.
that we try and create a different
sound for each style we sing," he
As for Chanticleer's all-maleness,
Albinder offered a brief history
lesson. "When the group started,
they only did Renaissance church
music. In the church of that period,
there weren't any women who sang,
because it wasn't permitted. They
either used boys to sing the high
parts or men, (countertenors), sing-
ing in their high registers. So they
were trying to cOme closer to the
performance style of the period."
Though this somewhat hinders
the group's musical options, Al-
binder noticed its supreme value in

sniffs out


No, it's not an Arrow shirt ad. Decked out in white, the men of Chanticleer are everything the Friars want to be.

performance. "It has to do with the
timbre, or color, of the voices," he
said. -le likened the vocal purity of
any group of related voices to that of
a family singing group. "Their in-
struments are all made by the same
people," he opined.
If they sound smart, it's probably
because they are. They select songs

only if the words are right: "Poetry
that has some meaning for us," said
Albinder. All - except the guy
(Tim Krol) who graduated from
M.S.U. with a B.A. in business -
have music degrees. And even the
name Chanticleer derives from liter-
ature: Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales."
So. Midterms are over. Stop fret-

ting and go see these guys. But don't
forget extra cash to pick up their lat-
est Christmas album. (Perry Como
just won't cut it anymore this sea-
son.) And say hi to Frank.
CHANTICLEER will perform in
Rackham Auditorium today at 8 p.m.
Tickets range from $16 to $26. Call

Continued from page 5
laughed OyamO. "I (had) to let the
spirit of playfulness that he mani-
fested all of his life be also mani-
fested in the play."
OyamO's solution? "I had a big
plyoto of him blown up, and I put it
up on my wall. Underneath it I al-
ways kept a candle and incense
burning, and I never wrote unless his
music was playing."
"I used to get in front of this
photo there, my altar, if you will,
and say 'Lester, what kind of play
should I write about you? Talk to me

man!"' GyamO believed that Ycung
wanted him to make certain that it
was a uniquely original play. "I like
to believe I followed his directions."
This performance of "Lady
Lester" will hopefully give Young
the recognition he didn't receive
during his lifetime. One of the main
features - a °professional on-stage
jazz combo - led by tenor saxo-
phonist Vincent York will be on-
stage, behind a scrim, throughout the
performance. "Vincent York will be
dressed as the actor (playing Young)
is dressed," remarked director Kate
Mendeloff. "This is a dream play; it
goes back and forth in time, bound

together by the structure of jazz."
"However," stated OyamO, "and
I want to stress - it is not a musical.
It is not a black musical revue." On
the contrary, this production has
both black and white actors in it. "In
the middle of the racial strife that ex-
ists in our country, here's a group of
people sitting down and they're
making somnething work together,
and that is a very beautiful sight."
LESTER will be periformed at the
Mendelssohn Theater this Thursday
through Sunday. Tickets are $14 and
$10, $6 for students. Call 764-0450.

Patricide in East Quad

. .,_

by Lia Kushnir
Everybody wants their parents
out of their lives at one time or an-
other, but murder? The story sounds
familiar, but once you see these
teenagers actually get together in
their own basement to plot their par-
ents' murder and trial, the fantasy
comes to life. The RC Players' pro-
duction of "The Criminals" exam-
ines the relationship between parents
and children and who is to blame.
As it turns out, planning a murder
isn't easy for Lalo (Peter Campbell)
and his sisters,;Cuca (Mary Hannah)
and Beba (Nancy Skinner-Oclander).
As these characters imitate how they
perceive their parents to be, am-
biguities arfise. There's a question of
authority and the siblings are torn
when they find themselves identify-
ing with the parents they once
"They're trying to fight with the
fact that they live with these parents,
and are alike in many ways and even
understand them," Skinner-Oclander
The play also portrays the rebel-
lion against social hypocrisy, as the
children act out a variety of charac-
ters, from their parents, friends and
neighbors, to the police, lawyers,
and judges. At last, society can be
seen from the younger generation's
perspective and how they try to re-
late to adult issues. Reality and illu-
sion become intertwined. "We never
know if what we're seeing is just a
game or if there's really a murder or
really a trial," admitted the director
Leah Beecher. Everybody is sub-
jected to outside influences, so there
is no such thing as a truly guilty or
innocent person.
Don't worry if you can't find

Jose Triana's award winning play,
"The Criminals" in your family li-
brary or American theater classes.
Rarely seen on the Western stage,
this play is a product of the Latin
American theater movement.
Beecher finds this intriguing. "It
deals with human emotions, because
the people of these countries are suf-
fering great cruelties and hardships
under oppression, which enables
them to write about their experiences
with such richness and eloquence,"
she said.
"The Criminals" was originally
introduced as "The Night of the As-
sassins" and produced in Cuba. It
won the 1965 Havana Concurso de
Theatro award for best play. Triana
gained literary acclaim at the outset
of the Cuban cultural revolution, but
fled to France in exile. "Although
he was initially part of the revolu-
tionary movement," Beecher ex-
plained, "he refused to abide by
Castro's dictates. Ie focused on the
audience relating to and identifying
with the characters and evoking a re-
The RC production presents a
play within a play and characters
within characters. Beecher hopes the
enactment will be of universal rele-
vance, transcending the limits of'
time, place and space. "It could be
any three children, in any basement,
anyplace in the world. The end of
the play is actually the beginning of
another ... and it could lead any-
THE CRIMINALS will le performed
at the RC Auditorium in East Quad
Thursday at 8:30 p.min., Friday and
Saturday at 8 p. 1)., and Sunday at 6
p.m. Tickets are $5,(students $3) at
the door.

corrup ton
by Amy Meng
Imagine, if you will, the daily toil
of an autoworker caught in an indus-
trial society whose decay is as ab-
surd as it is inevitable. Bruce
Thayer, a native Michigan artist, ex-
presses his viewpoints about the en-
vironment in which he works and
lives in the exhibit entitled "Only the
Smell Makes Cents." His creations
on paper and sculpture represent the
changing social and political mean-
ing of society on a macrocosmic
Moving from piece to piece, the
images, colors, and play on words
that he uses are overwhelming upon
first sight. Thayer draws, paints, and
stamps in images that represent mul-
tiples of individuals interacting with
each other in the political arena. His
Bruce Thayer
Only the Smell Makes Cents
Ann Arbor Art Association
approach is straightforward, and he
is not afraid to write or draw what he
has on his mind. Images span the
entire area of the collages. The
works are bombarded with parts and
pieces of people close up and far
away. He portrays individuals who
possess great power and status ver-
sus those of great worth to society,
but who lack real political status.
By intentionally representing
people as a smorgasbord of images,
Thayer hopes to cause the viewer to
stop and reflect upon one's own re-
ality and question larger issues in;
life, such as the importance of im- :
age, attitudes, size, and composition.
Thayer believes that there is no;
rhyme or reason foY the way society
functions. There has always been a
pyramid-like structure in which em-a.
ployees and employers backstab"
regularly, unemployment runs ram- '
pant, and the taxing system alows.
outrageous and unjust con fiscation,
of material goods. All of these ele-'
ments add to the slow erosion of sO- :
ciety - the disasters of industry. i
"Searching for Pair-A-Dice"
gives viewers a good taste of the
satirical attitude that Thayer strongly4
asserts. He uses words written as ifV
from the hand of a child, words likes
"PAY, PAY, PAY," implying that,
though adults struggle to overcome
social inequality, it is comforting to::
imagine ourselves as children, wish-
ing that there were no taxes and;
other ominous storm clouds hanging
over our heads. An I.R.S. man is"
drawn to immense proportions,
holding a "TAX" book in his hands~i
with his eyes covered as if he were
ready to rob the next victim of his':
monetary worth.
He depicts anonymous workers:
like lab rats who move along the as-"
sembly line with distorted, demonic"
faces, complete with gritted teeth
and bloodshot eyes. They are subjectm
to manipulation by the players of.
society, those who work in highem
echelons and make the judgment;
calls. These powerful representative0
are drawn on a much larger scale,h
while the workers are drawn like
ants in comparison.
Thayer uses a horizontal band of
TV images frozen in time as then
foundation for his pieces. Each suc;
cessive frame represents the big

characters of society who relate the
workers to their bosses who lineg
them up like bricks in a set pattern in
order to build upon the structure of
society, to heighten the level of pro-
duction and thus give more power to:;
the government hot shots.
"Monkey See, Monkey Do"::
shows government figureheads with;
lifeless eyes, expressing no sign of;
concern for humanity. Their con-°
cerns are elsewhere, mainly to make
America look good in the eyes of its
foreign competitors, seemingly un-i,
aware of corruption and implicit;
business dealings exchanged beneath;
the glossy surface. °I
Thayer mocks the government,::
comparing it to a baseball game;
where one side has a baseball bat,
and the other side holds a gun. His
work is full of signs that illegal bar-;
tering occurs all the time. The point;
is very aggressively stated: one must
find humor in an insane society such;

m a v ____ .~1, mu n * uu~

i . i

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