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February 11, 1993 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-02-11

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The Michigan Daily -Weekend etc. - February 11, 1993 -Page 5

The naked truth about 'The Crying Game'

OK, now that we've all seen Neil
Jordan's "The Crying Game" - I am
assuming you've seen ithere- let's get
past The Secret that has plagued any
discussion of the film. The tyranny of
The Secret has distorted the perceptions
of those who have and haven't seen the
film.
Those whohave seen the film refuse
uuirn.muMmY~ Uil 11 m''I

little movie with one surprising mo-
ment that wasn't that hard to figure out
anyway.
What has made "The Crying Game"
a hit - the Secret - is just what keeps
it from becoming a great film. The
shocking revelation is a useful device to
shake the audience and Fergus (Stephen
Reaof "Life is Sweet" fame) outof their
complacency. Buttreating itas the single
revelation of the film is an exaggera-
tion. It's one more step in the collapse of
Fergus' identity.
The film itself exacerbates the prob-
lem with the jokey, lighthearted attitude
toward revealing the secret. Jordan's
script teases us with titillating hints at
Dil's identity; the bartender (Jim
Broadbent, also seen in "Life is Sweet"),
for example, begins to tell Fergus "She's
a-" butis cut offbyDilsinging the title
song. Even worse, Jordan can't resist a
little wink at the audience with the open-
ing and closing songs: "When a Man
Loves a Woman" and "Stand by Your
Man." They're easy, crowd-pleasing
cracks which would be more at home in
Jordan's film "We're No Angels."

All the minor characters, in fact, are
sitcom caricatures, undermining the
nobler intentions of the rest of the film.
The bartender, Fergus' annoying boss
and Dil's annoying boyfriend Dave
provide a few chuckles but little more.
More damaging to the film as a
whole is the offensive characterization
of Jude (MirandaRichardson, whodoes
what she can in an impossible role).
Jude is the woman as devil stereotype,
asex and violencemachine who terror-
izesFergus. SneakingintoFergus'room
in London, she immediately grabs his
crotch and charmingly asks, "Fuck me
Fergus?" She's so detestable that it's
impossible to understand what Fergus
was doing with her in the first place. If
she had been atall sympathetic, Fergus'
rejection of her and his IRA identity
would have been more meaningful.
There's also something vaguely mi-
sogynistic about Fergus' progress in
general: he leaves his evil girlfriend for
the perfect woman - a man.
But I think the film's better than
that, and these minor characters are,
fortunately, minor. Beyond all thehype

and contrivances and flaws, "The Cry-
ing Game" is intensely haunting. The
title song perfectly captures the resigned,
melancholy tone of the film at its best.
The mood is reflected in the gauzy
cinematography by Ian Wilson. Even
the worst scenes, like the final tacked-
on epilogue in the prison, possess that
hint of ambiguity in the visuals.
JayeDavidsonembodiesallthecom-
plex feelings the film evokes in his
remarkable performance. His Dil is
tough, fragile, alluring, unattractive,
maternal, childish, confident and inse-
cure - a presence that perfectly con-
veys the unsettling yet seductive effect
the film is after. Even after we know
Dil's big secret, he or she is just as
fascinating to us as she is to Fergus.
Like the film as a whole, Dil can't be
pinned down with a simple label like
male or female. For that reason, unlike
other movies known for its plot twists
("House of Games" comes to mind), the
film actually gets better upon repeated
viewings. The real secret of "The Cry-
ing Game" is that its Secret makes no
difference at all.

*I

to talk about it, not wanting to give
anything away - "I won't say any-
thing, just see it," they say. Critics too
have gone overboard on ambiguity -
Janet Maslin managed to write an entire
profile on Jaye Davidson without re-
vealing that he is a he.
Intrigued by this mysterious aura,
audiences then go to see it in remark-
ably large numbers, expecting some-
thing special, something brilliant and
unpredictable - and often end up rela-
tively disappointed to find it's a quirky

Jaye Davidson (top) deserves an Oscar, not Miranda Richardson.

Nutty 'Nunsense' returns for sequel

by Melissa Rose Bernardo
What's black and white and produced all over? It's the
second longest-running off-Broadway show in history (after
"The Fantasticks"). It's the hit musical "Nunsense," the tale
of the five wacky nuns who sang and danced their way into
our hearts. Author / director Dan Goggin's first "Nunsense"
was so popular that theaters all over the country begged him
for a sequel. In "Nunsense II, the second coming ..." the
Little Sisters of Hoboken are back, and more outrageous than
ever. But where did these two musicals come from?
"The whole thing started as ajoke!" laughed Goggin. "A
friend of mine, a Dominican Brother, sent me a mannequin
dressed as aDominicannun-this was when the Dominican
nuns in Michigan went modern - and we all thought it was
so funny." This joke then turned into a cabaret show.
Audiences liked the cabaret act so much that they wanted
to know more about the nuns, so Goggin expanded the act
into an off-Broadway musical. "You get a feel for who they
are, but it's still more or less a variety show," he explained.
"Nunsense" involves the Little Sisters of Hoboken: The
Mother Superior, Sister Mary Hubert, the mistress of nov-
ices; Sister Robert Anne, the tough, street-wise nun; Sister
Mary Leo, the ballerina; and Sister Mary Amnesia, who was
knocked out by a crucifix and can't remember her identity.
They put on a variety show as a benefit to bury some of their
fellow sisters who were poisoned by their cook.
The show ends when Mary Amnesia remembers that she
is really Sister Mary Paul, the nun who won the Publisher's
Clearing House Sweepstakes. Now they could clean out the
freezer, bury their frozen sisters, and everyone is happy.
"Nunsense II, the second coming ..." picks up six weeks
later. The sisters are putting on another variety show, as a
"thank-you" for people who supported their benefit in the
first production. They getaphone call, and anew catastrophe
comes upon them! So the Mother Superior tries to keep the
variety show together while dealing with this dilemma -
which Goggin would not reveal. "And once again, every-
thing but the kitchen sink is in the variety show," he added.
He emphasized the unique nature of the sequel. "Number
one, you don't have to be Catholic to enjoy it. Number two,
if you haven't seen the first one, you'll understand every-
thing! They do a two-minute reenactment of the first show -
sort of like watching a movie on high speed."
When asked about how this sequel compared to the first,
Goggin felt that it held its own. "Naturally, we were con-
cerned about maintaining the level ofhumor, and keeping the
audience laughing ... we did a sneak preview in Connecticut,

and people said they liked (the sequel) better!"
Goggin discussed how the two scores compared: "I think
it's - especially this one more than the last - very eclectic
... real Broadway-style music, like 'Hello Dolly' and that
type of song ... the music is more sophisticated because ...
the sisters feel they're putting on a real Broadway-style
musical." He assured that the amateur quality was still left in
the score -after all, this is a group of nuns, not the touring
company of "Les Miz."
The cast of "Nunsense II" is by no means unfamiliar with
the story. All five actresses are recreating their respective
roles, which they have played in at least one production. The
woman playing Mary Amnesia, in fact, has played all five
roles in various companies. Goggin felt that their experience
enabled them to adjust to "Nunsense II" much quicker. "The
challenges I think for the characters were somewhat mini-
mized ... we had a huge advantage," he said.
Currently there are over 300 productions of "Nunsense"
across the country and some 400 productions pending of
"Nunsense II." What do people like about the two shows?
"Beats me!" Goggin exclaimed. "I think there's a fasci-
nation about the traditional nun thatyou can'tresist." He also
sees both of the shows as escapist musical comedies.
"I think that right now with the economy and everything
else, people just want to go to the theater to laugh and have
agood time... the time is right (for the show)," he explained.
For Goggin and the cast, the audience is a big part of the
production. Both shows include bits involving audience
participation (you won't have to get on stage or anything).
"It' sa whole new thing-to break that fourth wall, and make
sure the audience feels like they're part of it," Goggin said.
"Nunsense II, the second coming ..." has its official
world premiere in Birmingham, launching a national tour
before it begins an off-Broadway run. It will open in New
York next fall - Goggin wants to run it in the theater right
next door to "Nunsense."
Dan Goggin seems tobemaking a"habit" of"Nunsense."
So, when was the last time you went to the theaterjust to have
a good time? "Nunsense II, the second coming ..." is sent
from heaven.
NUNSENSE I1, THE SECOND COMING ... will be
presented at the Birmingham Theatre (212 S. Woodward)
February 13-March 14; Call 644-3533 for specific dates,
times and prices.

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Kick back at O'Sullivan's on Thursday, Friday
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'iii iii
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FRIDAY Y JERRY SPRAGUE!
SATURDAY -JIOHN D. LAMB & THE WILD BLUE!

* All entertainment starts at 9:30 pm *

You don't have to be Catholic to enjoy "Nunsense 1I, the Second Coming."

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