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October 25, 1993 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-10-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

8- The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 25, 1993
visits Ann Arbor

Tonight the University Musical
Society hosts the world-famous St.
Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra in
what is sure to be an incredible per-
formance. For almost90 years the St.
Petersburg Philharmonic (formerly
the Leningrad Philharmonic) has been
known for its extremely talented play-
ers and mastery of, particularly, the
Soviet orchestral music repertoire.
The orchestra is in the middle of a
tour of the American midwest, hav-
ing played shows this weekend in
Nebraska, Iowa and Chicago. Ameri-
can shows are nothing new for these
globetrotters, as they were in Ann
Arbor in 1990 for an unforgettable
performance that is still spoken about
in hushed whispers by the local musi-
cal community.
Mariss Jansons will be conduct-
ing tonight's performance, and has
selected Berlioz's "Roman Carnival
Overture," Rachmaninoff's "Sym-

phonic Dances," and, what is sure to
be the highlight of the evening,
Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3.
Maestro Jansons is revered the world
over as one of the top conductors to
come out of the Soviet Union, and
serves (no small feat!) as Principal
Guest Conductor of the highly selec-
tive London Philharmonic.
Also on the ballot for this evening
will be famous Russian pianist, Dmitri
Alexeev. He has performed exten-
sively in the Pacific rim and northern
Europe, and has appeared at various
important European classical music
festivals. Although Alexeev tours
extensively with various prestigious
ensembles, he regularly returns to
Russia and frequently appears with
the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. He
has done extensive work with Mae-
stro Jansons and Philharmonic Musi-
cal Director Yuri Temirkanov both in
Russia and abroad, and their finely-
tuned professional relationship can

Dmitri Alexeev plays piano with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic tonight.
only enhance the performance tonight. student rush tickets will be avail-
The concert will be held tonight at able at the Union Ticket Ofice from
8:00 p.m. at Hill Auditorium. 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. today and at
Tickets can be purchased for $16- the North Campus Commons, next
$45 by calling the University to Little Caesars from 11:30 a.m. to
Musical Society, 764-2538. $9 2:00 p.m.

'Pope' takes a -
stand on condoms
"The Holy Father can't cope."
This was the judgment given by Sister Gabriella (Kim Gainer) in The
Basement Arts production of "The Pope and The Witch," presented this
weekend. From there the action took off, showing the Pope to be suffering 4
from paranoia and a nervous breakdown. These stresses were apparently
brought on by the pressures of his job and from his seclusion from the real
Not a pope mind you, the Pope, Pope John Paul the second. The individual
granted the honor of playing this role was Sylvin Jankowski, a junior in the
BFA Theater Program.
This production, by the way, did
The Pope and not give too sparkling a characteriza-
tion of this modern day spiritual guide
The Witch of Catholics. Not at all. In fact, one
The Arena Theater might possibly say that they made the
October 21, 1993 pope look like a childish fool; who's
easily led and unforgivably out of
touch. What, with the Pope's constant companion of a life sized doll made in
his own image. Not to mention his red candy ring which he nursed at from time
to time, one might say he seemed a bit daft, and they wouldn't be far off from
the truth.
This play, which was set in 1993, was shameless and stopped at nothing.
It stepped on anyone's toes who dared to get in it's way. It showed, for
example, the obvious materialism of the church when all three characters on
stage, the two cardinals and the nun, pulled portable phones from their sleeves.
This was not, however, a play about religion. In fact, the Pope and the
...the Pope ... runs around passing out condoms
to the audience spouting, 'Condoms are not the
devil's raincoat.'
Vatican were not the only social institutions to feel the scorn of this play. The
play also took stabs at politics. What became clear was that these catholic
figures were being used as example. The playwright and, (by extension) those
involved with the production were criticizing the detached and hypocritical@
element of those in power. The play also dealt with how these figures tend to
ignore those individuals who they claim to serve.
Seem like too heavy a plot for a comedy? Naah. How better to show the
ridiculous and stupid elements of society than by utilizing humor? That
seemed to be the playwright Dario Fo's idea anyway. Not only was this play
a terrific social commentary, but it was a farce. This play was simply
outrageous. How? Well, let's just say that, during a scene change, the Pope, by
the second act has a change of attitude, and runs around passing out condoms
to the audience spouting, "Condoms are not the devil's raincoat." Besides
contraception, this play also looked at modern attitudes about abortion and
drug rehabilitation.
Now, comedy is difficult, but comedy with social commentary is really
tough. Joe Gold's cast of nine pulled it off nicely, though. The double-casting
made the actors seem more involved and familiar than if there would have been
more actors doing smaller parts. This created what Gold termed an, "en-
semble" feel, which was a comfort. It also seemed to challenge the actors, by
forcing them to create more original characters.
All the cast did a good job. Sylvin Jankowski (Pope John Paul the second)
was hilarious, and Alison Fisher (Elisa Donadoni) who played the witch,
portrayed the strong character that the role called for. All things considered it
was a good show, and an effort worthy of recognition of all those involved. 0

'Folly' is a no holds barred romantic comedy

In case you weren't quite sure, let me share
with you: love is so very tiresome. I mean, first
you have to admit to yourself that you're in love,
Talley's Folly
Residential College Auditorium
October 23, 1993
then you have to admit it to the person you're in
love with; which is usually a very long and stu-
pidly painful process. And as if you haven't gone
through enough at this point, then you have to wait
around for that person to go through the process
themselves, and they're usually quite pig-headed
and stubborn about it, especially if they feel the
same way about you. It's the way love's always
been and the way it always will be.
One of the good things about "Talley's Folly"
is that it didn't stray from my philosophy. Matt
Friedman (Rob Sulewski) and Sally Talley (Toni
Trapani) were the ultimate "couple in love who
can't get their shit together" example. Sulewski
played the man in love beautifully, keeping his

German-Jewish accent in tact throughout the en-
tire show.
Trapani played her stubborn character well,
almost to the point that you didn't like her. Her
southern twang, however, was at times annoying
and forced. In fact, Sulewski's German-Jewish-
Southern mockery of her accent came up sound-
ing better than hers did at some points during the
The most outstanding aspect of the play was
definitely the lines and the way in which they were
delivered. It was a wonderfully written play and
the actors only added to the greatness. The audi-
ence was drawn in by the opening monologue of
Matt Friedman in such a way that they were ready
to cheer him on to the very end. Sulewski made
Matt a truly likable, and hey Sally why not lov-
able, character. Plus, who else but Matt would don
a pair of ice skates in a boathouse and try to learn
how to skate on a rotting wood floor. And fall
through the floor. It was priceless.
Trapani's portrayal of Sally Tally as having
the typical female I-really-couldn't-care-less-
about-you attitude was excellent, and I'm sure it
brought back horrible memories to all the men in
the audience. Her snootiness took such lines as

"You do not have the perception God gave a head
of lettuce," and carried it off with style.
Director Jeffry Herman did a great job with
this piece, and his dedication and that of the actors
and the entire crew shined through. it was great to
see him and assistant director Dan Yezbick sitting
stage-side on the edge of their seats, looking like
they were going through the lines in their heads.
The sound crew (Nicole Hartley, Sunil Rajan)
got their five minutes of fame when Matt actually
addressed them at the beginning of the play, in
asking foradog, which sent them scurrying for the
proper sound effect (don't worry, it was scripted-
had it truly happened I would have swooped down
on it in the second paragraph just to make them
feel bad).
I could tell that someone fixed the lighting in
the RC Auditorium (Greg Reidenbach) because it
was looking quite a bit better than it was the last
time I was there. That could also have something
to do with the lighting talents of Alison Wolocko,
who operated the light board.
The final plus to this play was the fact that
Sally and Matt did indeed get it together at the end.
How fortunate. Doesn't that just make you feel
like there is hope after all?

'Nightmare'is a modern Grinch

Some movie magazine printed a picture of the original
concept for Edward Scissorhands. Anyone who saw that
picture, with the long limbs and the dark look and realized
that this is how Tim Burton sees things, will know right
away that "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christ-
Tim Burton's The Nightmare
Before Christmas
Directed by Henry Selick; screenplay by Caroline
Thompson; with the voices of Chris Sarandon, Catherine
O'Hara and Danny Elfman.
mas" is definitely a Burton film.
A modern day "Grinch Who Stole Christmas" in
reverse, the film follows the protagonist Jack Skellington
through his quest for the Christmas spirit. Set mostly in
Halloween Town - one town in a land full of other
holiday towns - the Pumpkin King, Jack, finds himself
depressed after another successful Halloween, just like
the one before that, and the one before that ... Wandering
through the woods wondering what to do, he comes across
Christmas Town, and becomes mesmerized by the colors
and snow. Bringing parts of it back to Halloween, Jack
gets everyone excited about the idea of Christmas. But in
his lab experiments on the holiday paraphernalia lead to
dead ends and he cannot figure out the heart of the holiday.
Then the idea - to do Christmas himself. It'll be some-
thing different for him and the people of Halloween town,
and it becomes certainly different for the people in the real
One of the wonderful things about this and many other
Burton projects, is that no matter how different the hero is
(and seven feet, 30 pounds of skeleton in tails is certainly
different), they are good people at heart. Jack loves what
he sees of Christmas, and in kidnapping Santa and getting
everyone in Halloween town help him run the holiday, he

really means nothing but the best, even though something
gets lost in the translation.
Filmed in the time-consuming stop-motion process,
the film is visually stunning. The work of the animators,
in bringing a figure of latex bones to life is enhanced by the
direction of Henry Selick ("Slow Bob in the Lower
Dimensions"), who takes the camera off the tripod used in
many other stop motion films, and dares to swirl it around
the world Burton has created.
Like many of the holiday stop-motion specials, "Night-
mare" is a musical. Borrowing from classic musical styles,
and injecting his own, Danny Elfman has a success here.
Through roughly seven songs, Elfman's fun and macabre
lyrics move the tale along. Though many songs are trapped
in the confines of the film, sure to have a hard time
standing on their own, several numbers are worthy of a@
listen outside the theater. "What's this," Jack's musical
number when he discovers Christmas Town, works on all
levels - the lyrics, the music and the execution (Elfman
gives a great turn as the singing voice for Jack).
The biggest problem with the film is the story - it's
been told before. To make up for it, Burton has created
some great characters with some great moments, though
many of them don't come until near the end. Lock, Shock
and Barrel are worthy of their own tale, but don't appear
until halfway through. And the greatest part of the film,
when Jack finally runs December 24th 125th, is at the end.
Until then, the tale tends to drag.
But anyone who likes Tim Burton's work and is
curious about what Burton does when the confines of
reality are no longer there, as they were with "Edward
Scissorhands." The short, 75 minute picture should also
prove to be an enjoyable time for anyone even slightly
interested in the world in Tim Burton's mind. But most
people will walk out dazzled by the achievement of the
animators (done with models rather than impersonal com-
puters), and whistling the "Oogie Boogie" song. 1

"Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas" dazzles with its animations.

CHRISTMAS is playing at Showcase.


Continued from page 5
2000," which simply begs for a
new element to be thrown into the
mix. They redeem themselves at the
end of album, however, with the fiery
guitarphasings of"Something'sBurn-
ing," and the warm, atmospheric loops
of "Autopilot," which is by far the
most experimental track on the al-

Seam's formula can certainly be
timid at times, and could often use a
little more adventurousness. More
often than not, though, the songs on
this album are nothing less than sheer,
unadulterated pop perfection.
- Andy Dolan
Graveyard Rodeo
Sowing Discord In The
Haunts of Man
Century Media
With all the exciement ahnnt the

World Series, here is a little baseball
analogy about Graveyard Rodeo's
"Sowing Discord In The Haunts of
Strike One - A song titled "The
Truth Is In The Gas Chamber." Oooh!
Isn't that scary boys and girls? The*
band's attempt to be intimidating falls
flat as one can only laugh at such
inane song titles (another example
being "Kommon Knowledge").
Strike Two - The lyrics from
"Future of The Carcass." Lines like

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