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February 01, 1993 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-02-01

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I, , ARTSI

The Michigan Daily Monday, February 1, 1993 Page 5
Avant-garde production of 'Antigone' sends in the clowns

by Liz Shaw
I didn't exactly attend the Irondale
Ensemble Project's production of
Sophocles' "Antigone" with an open
mind. It was a very cold night, I was in
a very hot mood, I had to bribe one of
my friends into going with me, and it
was aGreek classic redone with clowns,
for goodness sake.
Antigone
AVlichigan Theater
January 29,1993
However, even I was pleasantly sur-
prisedathow wonderfully theEnsemble
pulled off this avant garde rendition of
the powerful play. The audience actu-
ally laughed ... and they were supposed
to. The use of clowns as characters
added a great deal of levity to the play
without making it silly or stupid. Al-
though a truly familiar eye could spot

many strains of the original piece
throughout the performance, if you'd
never read or seen "Antigone" before
this was not something to base a book
report on.
I must say, however, that the produc-
tion could have easily (lone without the
singing and dancing. I'm not exactly
sure what message they were trying to
get across with the singing, but if it was
that they couldn't sing, they succeeded.
The dances, as my friend so fittingly
pointed out, were annoying and disrup-
tive. Even I could see absolutely no
point to Ismene dancing all over the
stage with the chorus after she found out
that her sister Antigone was going to
risk her life and break the law by bury-
ing their brother.
The woman who played Antigone
was wonderful, especially off Terry
Greiss' powerful yet funny Creon. The
two together drew and kept your atten-
tion perfectly, and Griess' side-long
glances at the audience were priceless.

Although a good actress, there was
something about Ismene at the begin-
ning of the play that just didn't sit well
with the audience. Maybe we just
couldn't respect her after her aforemen-
tioned jaunt with the chorus. however,
she did become a stronger player as the
production progressed. Asdidhervoice,
which I was almost sure was going to
leave her by the end of the first half hour.
Although only seen as Creon's son
Haemon for a very brief point, the por-
trayal left one thinking of a true nineties
man, standing up to his father for the
woman he loves, yet not really doing
anything to stop his father from killing
her.
The character that I was most im-
pressed with was the Sentry, he had to
be the funniest man on stage at all times.
Not once did he let the audience down
- they could count on his entrance for
some hearty laughs. Not only was he
impressive in his comedic acting, but
when he abruptly changed into a serious

speech, he made the transition so
smoothly that you almost forgot that he
was afool only 30seconds earlier. Alone,
or when playing off the chorus, he did
an excellent job. The chorus did a good.
job of playing all of the necessary "leff-
over" parts, and did wonderful slapstickk
routines.
Kennon Rothchilds's sets were very
effective in setting the right mood, and
the circus tent hovering over the entire
performance gave you a sense of it 41
being justone ring of a three ring circus.
I have to admit that I really didn't
understand the end of the play. I was
following it just fine until Creon slipped
Antigone a fake knife in the suicide
scene. Then a gun that shoots out the
word "bang" when the trigger is pulled.
Then a foam mallet. Finally, Antigone
receives a pie in the face, as all the men
in the chorus pull their pants down
around their ankles and stand there
sheepishly. 1mm... I didn't even try to
interpret it.

* No, it's not Nanci Griffith on a bad hair day. It's the play "Antigone."

Ice Cube
The Predator
Priority Records
Ice Cube is easily the most impor-
tant man in hip hop today. Free of the
shock rock excesses of former
bandmates (the now-useless) N.W.A.,
or the authoritative politicizing of BDP,
Ice Cube's eloquentexpressions of Black
rage are far too real.
So I was more than just a little con-
fused after the first few spins of "The
Predator." After the perfectly executed
concept of "Death Certificate," this
seemed, well, disjointed.
"Death Certificate" took us point
by point from how Africans ended up in
the precarious position we're in, to the
anger that pervades our community, up
to what needs to be done to remedy the
situation. It was a poetic textbook for
African-Americans in the 90's.
On "The Predator," we find Cube
kicking old skool gangsta shit, such as
shootin' up punks ("Now I Gotta
Wet'cha") to X-rated kiddie rhymes
("Gangsta'sFairytale2"). I was crushed.
The beats are slammin,' but where's the
agenda? Where's the prophetic verses
about what's gonna go down?
Then, it all made itself perfectly
clear. Ice Cube is pissed. Real pissed.
Throughout "The Predator," Cube re-
minds us that he's told us time and time
again what was gonna happen. Back in
the day, he hit us with "Fuck Tha Po-
lice," which caused a national outrage.
Then we had Rodney King. And Malice
Green. Everyone from the Guardian
Angels to the editor of Billboard maga-
zine condemned Ice Cube for tracks
like "Black Korea." Then the tensions
between Korean merchants and the
Black community culminated in the
murder of a young Black girl by one
such merchant. After the LAriots, jour-
nalistsandnewsmediaeverywherewere
scrutinizing Cube's work, deluginghim
with interviews, asking "How did you
know?"
So this disc is Ice Cube's statement
of vindication. Basically, it's one larger-
than-life 'Fuck You' to those people
that tried their damnedest to silence his
truths. Over the disc's 16 incendiary
tracks, Cube vents his rage by simply

kicking jeep-bumpin' jams.
Cube kicks off the jointby hittin' us
with the dopest use of Queen's "We
Will Rock You" beat ever on "When
Will They Shoot?" Cypress Hill's D.J.
Muggs lays down that phunky phresh
vibe on the boomin' "We Had To Tear
This Mothafucka Up," and the deep as
hell groove of "Check Yo Self'(where
Cube also shows he's down with the
new skool by letting Das EFX kick the
chorus). "Dirty Mack" even nods along
righteously on a thick Steely Dan (!)
sample
He slows it down on the gorgeously
mellow "It Was a Good Day," which is
basically a utopian fantasy of a life
Cube will probably never know.
So while it isn't the prophetic text-
book that "Death Certificate" proved to
be, "The Predator" is one seriously fresh
joint after another. Cube hasn't fallen
off; We just don't deserve another mas-
terwork quite yet.
-Scott Sterling
Nirvana
Incesticide
DGC
You're Nirvana. Yeah, you know,
that ultra-hip, grunge-ola, guitar trash-
ing band from SEATTLE (just below
Mecca on the ladder of holy pilgrimage
sites), that shocked the world with their
power-pop creations. Anyway, you've
pretty much milked all the success you're
going to get from "Nevermind," and it's
time tostartputting someseriousthought
towards your future plans. You can ...
A) Retire from the music industry
and go down as the greatest one-hit
wonders in rock history.
B) Take on Axl Rose's demeanor
and decide that it will take you a jillion
years before your next "masterpiece" is
ready.
C) Scrape together a few of your old
demos, b-sides, cover tunes, and other
assorted goodies that you have laying
around, and release them as a new al-
bum. This way you'll rake in some good
dough on name value alone, and also
keep that pimply-faced youngster who
has been drooling for your next record,
tied over for a while.

Kincaid: Cagey, honest.
by Joshua Keidan
When asked whether she is currently working on any projects, authorJamaica
Kincaid replied "Yes, but I would never tell you."
This evasive author of two highly-acclaimed novels, "Annie John," and
"Lucy," as well as a collection of short stories and the book-length essay "A
Small Place," bases her writing on her own life. "My work is completely
autobiographical, so far," she said. As for the future, "I can aim to stay with it
(autobiography), but whether I will succeed I can't say."
Like the title character in her novel "Lucy," Kincaid was born in St. John's,
Antigua, and came to the United States as an au pair while still a teenager:
Perhaps due in part to this dual cultural background, Kincaid's work appeals t6
a wide audience. "I'm very surprised that people read what I've written. I hadn't
expected it. I'm very grateful." Her appeal? "I really don't know, it's amystery
to me, and I hope no one tells me - I think that to know wouldn't do me any
good, and it would probably do me some harm."
Since anger permeates much of Kincaid's work, some of her appeal
undoubtedly comes from the tense mood she creates. Fierce and furious are two
words frequently used to describe her writing. This is a description Kincaid
questions in her own mind. She said, "I always think, 'I wonder if I was a man,
they would say that?' or 'I wonder if I was a white woman, they would say that?'
But I never ask them."
Her own opinion actually differs from that ofher critics. "I don'tthink there's
a lot of anger (in my work). I think it's the truth. If you were saying something
you thought was true, you wouldn't say it was angry of happy.You'd say it was
the truth," she said.
Both Kincaid's novels and short stories center around mother-daughter
relationships, a bond she sees as intrinsic. "I can't say it is the most important
thing in anyone else's life - it happened to have been the most important thing
in my life. I wouldn't apply my obsessions to anyone else."
Kincaid prides herself on no particular technique or style, but rather on
feeling. "Intuition is my method," she said. She does not call herself an artist.
"If I were self-consciously trying to make art I wouldn't be foolish enough to
tell you, but I don't believe Iam. I don't think I really believe in art, for myself.
I like art, in other people - I just wouldn't do it myself. For me, to say I was
creating art would be a luxury, and I don't have time for that - I'm doing
something else." ;
If not creating art, then, what does Kincaid see herself doing? "I wouldn'j
want to name it, but for me it's absolutely necessary. It's not necessary for
anybody else to read it, but I have to write it. That's just the way I feel."
As for her evasive answers to many questions, when I suggested to Kincaid
that she seemed a bit, well, cagey, she responded, "You must be sure to tell
people that. And I consider myself so without guile --it only goes to show. I'm
trying to maintain my freedom: it's why Icame to this country. There's no sense-
in going through all this only to commit myself to a young man from the
Michigan Daily. I don't want to be pinned down, not even in my own mind
especially not in my own mind. It's not cagey, Im just trying to stay free."

Nanci Griffith could use a few lessons in manners from Nirvana.

The obviousanswer is (C) of course.
Nirvana are too cool to fall into the Rose
.trap (at least for now), and too smart to
give up a good thing which they still can
flaunt.
The culmination of there scraping is
"Incesticide." There isn't toomuch here
that you wouldn't be able to find else-
where. Songs such as "Sliver," and
"Dive" (which 89X incorrectly called a
new single) are all available as previous
releases. But there are some interesting
tidbits like a funky "new-wave" version
of "Polly," and the hard to find, "Mexi-
can Seafood."
"Incesticide" also contains tunes
from the band's Peel Sessions, includ-
ing cover songs of "Molly's Lips," and
"Son of a Gun," from the Vaselines.
These were available previously on
Nirvana's Japanese import
"Hormoaning," that cost a small for-
tune to obtain, or if you were lucky

enough to catch Nirvana on tour two
years ago when the songs were staples
in their set lists.
Fans who just love collector's items
will see more in this than just filler-time
between albums. Listeners looking for
the nextalbum of truly original Nirvana
material, however, will have to wait
until later this year when their new
album is tentatively scheduled for re-
lease.
-Nima Hodaei

e r r r u ~ ~~ i u t r nr rr I a it'n et u I t u s 0 r n v i n

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