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March 30, 1993 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-03-30

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ARTS

'U' gets serious with 'Andromache'

by Laura Alantas
Perhaps the best kept secret among the
University's Department of Theatre and Drama is
Director John Russell Brown's version of
"Andromache." This original show, an adaptation of
Racine's telling of the Greek tragedy, will only
promise to challenge the audience to explore the
attitudes of the society in which we live.
One of the few elements that Brown has revealed
about the show is the complex storyline. The play
begins at the conclusion of the Trojan War. After
killing Hector and defeating the Trojan army, the
Greeks prepare to divide the spoils of the battle: the
women. Achilles' son Pyrrhus (Chris Stapleton) is
madly in love with and wants to marry Hector's
widow, Andromache (CeCe Grinwald). Pyrrhus,
however, is betrothed to Hermione (Christy Wright).
Orestes, the former lover of Hermione, arrives and
relays the order from the commanding generals that
Pyrrhus must kill Andromache's son Astyanax and,
therefore, end Hector's lineage. If he killsAstyanax,
however, Pyrrhus will never win the love of
Andromache and he will then be obliged to many
Hermione. This marriage, however, would destroy
Orestes' chance with Hermione.
The original text by Racine was written in the
strict, traditional form of French seventeenth cen-
tury drama.With alexandrinerhythm scheme (twelve
syllables to a line) and rhyming couplets, Brown
disliked the translations that he found. "The transla-
tions that attempted to keep the rhythm and rhyme
schemes were empty and clumsy," said Brown.
The play had struck a chord with Brown, how-
ever, and he did not want to abandon the show
merely because of these awkward texts. Undaunted,

Brown decided to translate theplayhimself. "I woke
up at six a.m. every morning and would work on a
hundred lines before leaving for classes," Brown
said. "Doing the translation provided an extraordi-
nary adventure and instant immersion." Brown's
version preserves the essence of Racine's text with-
out the confining literary devices of set rhythm and
rhyme schemes.
Brownremainedpersistentbecauseofthestrength
of the story and its relevance to today's world. "I like
to do a play where students can draw on their own
experiences. I like actors to act out of imagination
and experience," stated Brown. "These characters
are young people who have inherited a world of
violence. This is aplay that exposes theeffectson the
second generation's politics and personal relation-
'These characters are young
people who have inherited a
world of violence. This is a play
that exposes the effects on the
second generation's politics
and personal relationships
while living in a time of
violence.'
-Director John Russell Brown
ships while living in a time of violence."
This violent society affects the characters in very
real, highly profound ways. According to Grinwald,
"the characters are very emotional. They show every
feeling that they have. This story is about war and
what people do in these intense times and how it
changes lives and kills and ends lives."

To emphasize the relevance of these themes in
today's world, Brown has developed a frame play
called "Andromache Project.""The frame play pre-
sents the issues of 'Andromache' in a way that is
alive for the audience," revealed Brown. Performed
immediately before and after the core play whicU'
tells the story ofAndromache, "Andromache Project"'
is a creation that this entirely separate cast haS
designed among themselves.
Said Brown, "I wanted to work with students on
the same material that is treated in 'Andromache,'
but withouta text. I feel that it's valuable for students
to use theater to present what they think. They have
invented the words. I have invented nothing. I'm
proud that they have made their own mark."
When asked to further elaborate on the show,
Brown declined, saying that he had already revealed
more than he had wanted to. Even Grinwald admit-
ted that, "I can't tell you beans about theframe play,"
because she had never seen it herself. This con-.
spiracyofsilencestemsfromBrown'sdesiretohave
his audience enter the theater without expectation,
without prejudice. As Grinwald explained, "experi-
mental theater is a wonderful tool to open people up
to ideas and to learn more about themselves. It's anF
experiment. It's not there to please you." But as for,
the audience's potential reaction to it, Grinwald
remarked, 'That's the glory of it, nobody knows."
ANDROMACHE will be performed at the
Trueblood Theater. Previews will be March 30 &
31 at 8pm. Tickets are $5, $3 for students with ID.
Performances will be April 1-3 and 8-10 at 8pm f
and April 4 and11 at 2pm. Tickets are $10, $6for
students. Tickets may be purchased at the League
Ticket Office. For more info call 764-0450.

The U production of "Andromache" promises to be like no other.

Great White survives in psycho city

by Kristen Knudsen
For all those who thought "Once
Bitten, Twice Shy" was Great White's
brightest moment, their recently-re-
leased sixth album, "Psycho City," will
be a rude awakening. "Psycho City" is
not just a group of songs like earlier
works; it's an album, a smooth combi-
nation of rock and blues on which all
parts equal the whole. The sound and
mood are varied, but an overall sense of
bitterness pervades on songs like "Step
on You," "Love is a Lie" and "Big
Goodbye" which expound upon life's
woes and frustrations.
Prompting suchan attitude was mas-
sive, internal upheaval within the band
-bassist Tony Montana left before the
recording of the album, and is yet to be
replaced; a trusted business partner
packed his bags; guitaristMark Kendall
and singer Jack Russell faced the task of
overcoming severe chemical depen-
dence; and other problems such as di-
vorce plagued the normal songwriting
process.Addtothatless-than-spectacu-
lar sales of their fifth album "Hooked"
in 1991, and a series of death threats
along the way. It was a low point in the
lives of Great White, and they did what
any tired,iife-threatened guys in aband
might do. They got the hell out of town.
Holed up in a ranch house some-
where deep within California, Jack
Russell, MarkKendall, drummerAudie
Desbrow and keyboardist / guitarist /
co-producer Michael Lardie could fi-
pally get some peace. Lardie explained
thatrecording "PsychoCity"in themore
relaxed environment was the perfect
(though temporary) cure for Great
White's ills.
"Itwas greatforeverybody's state of
mind, being abletogetup atany time we
cared to and start recording, whether
that was at noon or 10 o'clock at night.

And we were far enough away from any
other property that we could be as loud
as we wanted to and the only people or
things that bitched were the cows."
However, in many regards, bad luck
was still following Great White. The
threatening wacko called to say that the
safe-haven ranch was actually his house,
and theL.A. Riots had hit full-swing by
the time Great White returned to record
some overdubs. City-imposed curfews
at the time did nothing to boost their
morale.
"I (was) in my house going this is
ridiculous. This really makes me angry
that what we're doing is supposed to be
creating something that'sgonnabemak-
ing people feel good," Lardie described,
"And because of what other people are
doing, trying to create angst and anar-
chy around the corner, it's stopping my
ability to do what I want to do."
According to Lardie, he and his
newly-sober bandmates decided to set
this frustration to music, "rather than
turnitomenacingmembersofsociety"
themselves.Forexample,"PsychoCity"
contains the actual death threat(asLardie
pointed out, "Whatshe gonnado-go
to a lawyer and ask forroyalties?). This
lends authenticity to their view of the
city, wherepsychos roam free everyday.
"Any big city's the psycho city,"
Lardie stated. "Think about all the vio-
lence, all the murder and stuff that goes
on in your city from day to day. Obvi-
ously, Los Angeles ... We wrote the
song three or four months before the
riots happened, so it was pretty weird
when they did."
Although they were upset by all of
the low moments, which is apparent on
the album, Lardie was determined to
carry on and he managed to remain
level-headed and logical through it all.
'The analogy that I draw about being in

the business, if you are indeed moti-
vated by continuing to do it year after
year, is of an actor or an actress doing a
movie that's a big hit; then she does
another one that she's really proud of but
it's not quite met with the same aplomb
by the fans, and then she does another
one three years later that turns out to be
a big hit. You know there are ups and
downs, and if it's really important to
you, you stay with it and just be proud of
what you do."
Since "Psycho City" is almost plati-
num, and Billboard Magazine called it
"Great White's best album," these guys

have reason to be proud. "It's so funny
about every album that you do. I mean
it's so clich6 for a band to say 'Oh this is
our best album to date,"' Lardie said.
"But as far as it being for me personally
a really good amalgam of the last three
records, I feel like itis the best combina-
tion of the styles that we can do, in terms
of blues, straight-ahead rock 'n' roll ...
Compositionally, I feel very strongly
that it's our best to date."
Amidst bullshit flying from every
direction, Great White has finally been
cleansed. Whether you buy it or not,
know that these guys paid their dues.

Color Us Bluegrass
You don'toftengetachance tohear
bluegrass music anywhere, so tonight
can be yourchance toindulgeasAlison
Krauss, singer, songwriter and fiddle
prodigy, leads thebluegrassbandUnion
Station for a hootin'-tootin' concert.
Some think Krauss is the hot test thing
to hitcountry music sincekd lang. You
decide tonight at the Ark. The concert
takes place at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Call
763-TKTS.
Choral Heaven
If you don't feel like paying to hear
some good singing, try Arts Chorale.
Paul Rardin, Theo Morrison and Ben-
jamin Cohen direct a chorus of non-
music majors as they sing sacred vocal
music, inculding works by Britten,
Holst, Sanders and Gibbons. Arts Cho-
rale will begin tonight at 8 p.m. at Hill
Auditorium. Call 763-4726.
Musical Discussion
And in case you don't want to hear
any music at all, but just feel like
talking aboutit, leading composerT. J.
Anderson who's currently in residence
attheUniversity will discuss his music
tonight at 8 p.m. at Rackham. Call
763-4726.
Tears of Joy
Everyone's favorite Bergman is
back! That's right, "Cries and Whis-
pers," one of Bergman's most haunt-
ing and strikingly visual dramas about
faith andthemeaning of life, is coming
and if you've never seen it, you better
run. "Cries and Whispers" explores
the relationships between a dying
woman, her sisters and her servant
who cares for her in the last few days

of her life. At first, Bergman's visuat
assault on the audience with the colot
red (red carpets, red wallpaper, red
chairs, red wine) can be off-putting,
but stick with it. At the end, the Swed-
ish master gives an unusual uplifting
moment about the glories of simple
human interaction. You'd better have
a good excuse if you're going to miss
this. The film begins tonight at 7 p.m
at the Michigan Theater. Call 668
8397.
Cry Me a River
If you're looking for some good)
music to feed into your walkman as
you're walking across the Diag, there's,
a ton of great new releases, including
the soundtrackto"The Crying Game."
Whetherornot you think the "Game"
is agood film, the soundtrack is genu
inely haunting and the songs, includ-
ing the title track performed by Boy
George, areboppy and listenable.Also
of note is "Arrested Devlopment Un-
plugged," taken from their brilliant
MITV session(ignorethe"remixes"at
the end, however. It's just the same
songs minus the vocals). It takes their
sound to another dimension. The
sophmore release from D.C.'s
Basehead(akaMichaelIvey)is amust-
have as well. Equal parts Velvet Una
derground, early Prince, jazz-tinged
hip hop and far too many intoxicants
rank this up there with Dinosaur Jr's
"Where You Been" as one of '93s
best. Retro-heads that missed the 70s
will also rave over the latest offering
from Lenny Kravitz, "Are You Gonna
Go My Way." They don't make 'em
like this anymore - warm, engaging,
full of killer hooks and grooves. The
Black Crowes on a serious soul jones,
if you will. Happy listening!

Great White has a hit with their lastest album, "Psycho City."

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