Page 8- The Michigan Daily - Monday, December 7, 1992
Trapped in the 'Wells'
'U' playes transcend a problematic Victorian play
by Nima Hodaei
"Automatic for the People" is
weak, and proves that R.E.M. (much
to the dismay of many a college ra-
dio fanatic) are mortal. Michael
Stipe, Peter Buck and the rest of his
Athens, GA buddies have run out of
ideas, and this time, there's no
"Losing My Religion" out there to
save them. What ensues is pretty
bland, boring, and altogether lifeless
Whether this album is a reaction
to the overwhelming mainstream
Automatic for the People
popularity of last year's "Out of
Time," or not doesn't seem too im-
portant. One can't help but notice a
little bit of an attempt by the band to
regain some of that mystique which
surrounded them back in the days of
"Reconstruction of the Fables," or
the glorious "Life's Rich Pageant."
What R.E.M. fails to consider is that
those albums are now well behind
them, and efforts to reproduce them,
will be met with harsh comparisons
I truly feel for this group. After
all, R.E.M. today are the reference
point of countless American bands.
With that amount of pressure riding
atop your shoulders, it's difficult to
come out with music that still sounds
fresh and innovative. Maybe it's too
soon to call it quits, but it's time
R.E.M. returned to one of the
fundamental things that made their
music so appealing for so many
years - playing it for fun.
by Laura Alantas
Arthur Wing Pinero obviously belonged to the
"too much is never enough" school of thought. The
evidence for such an assertion is the University De-
partment of Theatre and Drama's production of his
play "Trelawny of the 'Wells."'
Pinero wrote the play in 1898 as a retrospective
of the theater world during the early 1860s.
"Trelawny of the 'Wells"' dramatizes the evolution
Trelawny of the 'Wells'
December 4, 1992
from broad, obvious acting to more natural, realistic
acting. Scripts originally contained very didactic
language, but playwrights eventually began to re-
flect real people's conversations in their scripts.
"Trelawny" dramatizes the effect of all of these
changes on the actors and the need to accept the act-
ing profession as a legitimate one. The need for tol-
erance among all people was presented as well as
the virtues of being true to yourself and the benefit
of chasing your dreams. "Trelawny" had a lot to say.
Too much, in fact.
These problems, however, are ones that are in-
herent to the script, not ones that rest with director
John Neville-Andrews' production. On the contrary,
Neville-Andrews and his company did an admirable
job capturing the brilliant comedy associated with
the personalities of the characters and the mood of
The manner in which Neville-Andrews presented
the show, while in keeping with the trends of the
time period, were original and fresh for today's au-
dience. Stationed at opposing ends of the stage, two
capable pianists (Richie Keen and Jody Madaras)
opened the show with a lively overture and played
during certain scenes to emphasize the action. Dur-
ing the scene changes, members of the cast enter-
tained the waiting audience by singing songs from
the era. These details made even the transitions in
the show enjoyable to watch.
"Trelawny" revolved around vivid, diverse char-
acters and the actors all made strong choices that
effectively captured their own character's sensibili-
ties. From Anthony Giangrande's remarkable
prankster Augustus Colpoys to Aaron Tishkowski's
timid but. lovable Arthur Gower, a full range of per-
sonalities were presented. Particularly noteworthy
was Clinton Bond Jr.'s energetic portrayal of Tom
Wrench. Every one of Bond's movements and man-
nerisms thoughtfully forwarded his character's de-
The weight of the show, however, rested on the
capable shoulders of Erich John Jungwirth and
Stephanie Fybel. Jungwirth's Vice Chancellor Sir
William Gower, with a resonant voice and promi-
nent belly, effectively intimidated everyone on
stage. Sir William, however, was not a one-dimen-
sional character. He learned to accept Rose and her
unique ways, and Jungwirth was able to soften Sir
William's hard edges during such tender moments.
Fybel's Rose Trelawny also underwent many
changes throughout the show. Beginning as a wild
gypsy and ending as a responsible lady, Fybel's
transformations were subtle, yet definite. Her
greatest moment on stage was the opening of the
second act. The Rose that entered was not a
flamboyant Rose, but a subdued Rose who had real-
ized that the theater world was not "the" world, but
merely "a" world. This new, mature Rose was beau-
tifully captured by Fybel.
The picture of Victorian England was made
complete with detailed sets, appropriate costuming,
beautiful lighting and Neville-Andrews' intelligent
staging. There were so many positive elements of
the production of "Trelawny of the 'Wells'" that it
made you wish that Pinero's play had lived up to the
Quentin Tarantino praises Harvey Keitel for his "cold-ass toughness" in
Tarantino's stunning directorial debut, "Reservoir Dogs."
Continued from page 5
Keitel stars as a trapped man. The son of a low-rent loanshark, Keitel's
character is part shake-down muscle, part struggling pianist. Like his
Charlie, this character is doomed by his split identity. This is Keitel's show
all the way. He leaves the audience torn between disgust and genuine empa-
thy. "Fingers" gives us the best glimpse of what we're missing in not seeing
Keitel in more starring roles.
But there has been a vindication of late. Keitel's new clout has provided
audiences with two treasures this year, "Reservoir Dogs" and "Bad
Lieutenant." As Mr. White in Quentin Tarantino's stunning first film, Keitel
provides "Reservoir Dogs" with its dramatic backbone. While other actors
in the film (Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi) shine in showy roles, it is
Keitel's quiet, almost kingly take on a veteran criminal that gives
"Reservoir Dogs" its surprising depth.
Director Tarantino, in the latest issue of Film Threat, makes the point
that Keitel is of a brand of actor rarely found anymore: "Harvey.is really
the only actor who, like the early Robert Mitchum, can walk in with this
cold ass toughness." But Keitel's Mr. White is far from the standard action
hero tough guy. Keitel imbues his character with the cunning ambiguity at
which Keitel is a master. A taut mix of wired violence and personal honor,
his Mr. White lives by a code which inspires a puzzling respect, even admi-
ration for him. It is a true testament to Keitel's talents that he can make such
an egregious character so winning.
So why should such a respected character actor, with a newly broadened
choice of roles open to him, opt to bare himself (literally and figuratively) as
a drug-taking, sexually out-of-control, corrupt cop in Abel Ferrara's "Bad
Lieutenant"? Keitel, in recent interviews, has talked of personal risk-taking,
of fighting the falseness of the family values agenda, of exploring a person's
loss of God.
Whatever Keitel's personal rationale, however, we all profit from his
commitment to such ground-breaking performances. Keitel's characters
plumb the depths of human ambiguity. He makes his heroes partly villains,
and his villains half-heroic. Even his failures, the roles which waste his time
and talents, are all valuable in shaping the complex body of experience
Keitel draws from with each new role.
Keitel has often said he came to acting with a sense of awe, even fear.
And while he is now a master at his craft, that fear-tinged reverence gives
his performances the grit and the edge unique to today's actors. He is con-
stantly testing his skill, and the audiences. Movies need someone who takes
WHO WHA [WHERE i WHEN~;i1'1I
Erich Jungwirth (far left) gives the "gypsies" a piece of his mind as Sir William in "Trelawny of the 'Wells."'
GIFT CERTIFICATES IN ANY AMOUNT ARE SURE TO PLEASE!
As wonderful as the Choral
Unionwas singing Handel's
"Messiah " Saturday night, we
can't help but be annoyed with the
ushering. As we see it, ushers are
supposed to stop talking during a
performance, not exacerbate it.
Granted, the ushers were over-
whelmed by the masses of the
annoyingly tardy, but did they
really have to brief the late-comers
as to the best way to get to their
seats in annoyingly un-hushed
whispers during the music?
A bit of Tiff
But enough about our foibles. In
our never-ending quest to inform
and entertain, we talked to our
friend, Amy (below) and she said
you ought to stop by the Museum
of Art and see the Tiffany Exhibit
(also pictured - you know, the
peacock behind her). We can't
think of a better way to forget
about uncouth ushers.
20# White, 8.5x11 (I
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