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November 15, 1993 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-11-15

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Quartet gets the spotlight

What can one say about a stupendous, knockout per-
formance by the Uptown String Quartet this past Saturday
at Rackham Auditorium? Once again, the University
Musical Society has succeeded in diversifying its concerts
Uptown String Quartet
Rackham Auditorium
November 13, 1993
and in introducing Ann Arbor to a group most deserving
of the spotlight.
The concert opened with a spiritual entitled, "Over-
ture," written by Odie Pop, followed by another spiritual
"Calvary," arranged by Cecil Bridgewater. New works by
Francisco Morre and Betty Olson showcased the group's
versatility and deep understanding of a contemporary
composer's intentions. The second half of the concert
featured an arrangement of a tune by Charlie Parker, as
well as original arrangements by the members of the
The quartet's members were visibly comfortable with
their instruments as well as with each other, while the
communication among the players was intense.
The two violinists appeared very relaxed and calm as
they watched and listened to each other with the utmost
concentration. The same was true for the cellist and the
violist who were often heard playing off each other. We
also heard some very unique sounds coming out of their

instruments. There was foot tapping, snapping, strum-
ming, plucking and rhythmic shouts from the performers.
All of the members of the quartet are composers as
well as performers. On Saturday night, we were privileged
enough to hear some of their original compositions. Eileen
Folson, cellist and University alumna, wrote a remarkably
interesting and challenging piece entitled, "Just Wait A
Minute." This Latin inspired work had various forms of
rhythmic displacement and required improvisatory work
from the entire string quartet.
Violinist Lisa Terry's composition "Sugar Shuffle"
was marked by original harmonies and jazzy rhythms. All
of the new works demanded bold performances and a high
level of musicianship.
What was so remarkable about the group was their
amazing stage presence. Diane Monroe, violinist, and
Maxine Roach, violist, informed us of the work's Titles
and brief explanations of the pieces. They both impressed
the audience with their warm, down-to-earth personali-
I cannot finish this review without mentioning two of
the Uptown's showstoppers. The first was Diane Monroe's
solo performance of "Amazing Grace." It was filled with
such heartfelt emotion and awesome technical facility that
the entire audience immediately gave her a standing
ovation. Her humble, apologetic reply was, "You can find
that on our most recent CD."
The other truly unforgettable performance was an
arrangement of James Brown's "I Feel Good." Complete
with the appropriate sound effects, this piece once again
brought the house to a standing ovation.

The Uptown String Quartet got some well deserved attention at Rackham Auditorium on Saturday night.

'Deep and Heavy' fairly fun and lighthearted

The BFA dance performance "Undeniably
Deep and Heavy" sizzled with an attitude to which
the audience was very receptive. Michele Proctor
was cheered on as she amazed the audience with
IS the height of her extensions in "Pussycat Blues,"
Undeniably Deep and Heavy
Dance Building Studio A
November 13, 1993
a steamy jazz piece danced to music by Katie
Webster. Dancing with Proctor was Tyrone
Peterson who played the cool chaser in both of
Proctor's dances, but the independent women
didn't want any of that. Snap!
Inherotherpiece, "Backyard Ballet," apicture
was placed on one side of the stage of a girl on a
picket fence doing an arabesque. In the first sec-
tion, Proctor soloed as a little girl trying to copy
the one in the picture, but she had to make it to the
top of the fence first. The light formed a runway on,
the floor as she ran and j umped - but didn't make
it. Stomping back to the beginning she tried again
and again, never making it up high enough. But
between the attempts she did her own dancing,
and by the end she realized that she didn't have to
be that girl on the fence, but just herself. While
there was some pretty hot dancing in the second
section with Peterson, Dafinah Blacksher and
LeAndrea Williams, it didn't seem to be part of
the same dance. It seemed more along the lines of

the "Pussycat Blues" relationship scheme.
Michael Woodberry began his solo "Distant
Dimensions" with fluid movements accompanied
by the sound of water. His arms, at times, per-
formed swimming motions which also added to
the aquatic mood of the dance. Lisa Darby's solo
"Freedom", choreographed by Adam Clark, was a
celebration of movement that Darby performed
with apparent ease. Her legs looked as natural in
leaps and extensions as they did standing on the
Expressing "comfort, courage and compas-
sion" Jeremy Steward's "Fear of Fall II" was a
dance of five women accepting each other and
themselves. During the dance they described them-
selves and then at the end, each other. A particu-
larly touching scene was when the girl from the
Philippines told a story about a death in her
village. Portrayingheras agirl, twoofthedancers
watched out the window. She said the women
believed that the spirits of the dead can rise on
their wails up to heaven. Periodically using blind-
folds, they seemed to be testing their courage to go
on dancing even with the hindrances that life
"Enough Said,"choreographedby Lisa Darby,
began with a bit of ballroom dancing with Amy
Darby on the feet of Chris Gentner. Alternately
lifting each other, the dancers in their matching
white tank tops and dark pants presented them-
selves as asexual. Joining them in the next two
sections were Alexandra Beller and Donna Pisani.
Beller interrupted her dancing in frantic searches
for her pulse, finally finding it, she danced to the

beat of her heart.
Addressing interracial relationships, Danielle
Archer combined music and dialogue to comple-
ment the dancing in "Prism." Among the variety
of pieces was Barbra Streisand singing "Some-
where" from "West Side Story" and dialogue
from "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and
"Jungle Fever." These touching accompaniments
gave a kind of poignancy and drama to the dance
and allowed for a lyrical expressiveness in Archer
and the other dancers. After a disturbing fight
scene from "Jungle Fever" during which Archer
expressed the terrorand pain of the struggle through
movement, the dance became more comforting,
the music slow and sad and the dancing languor-
ous as they rocked from side to side slowly adding
more energy, eventually turning the rocking into
Scraping her hands along her body, Archer
seemed to be trying to wash away the blackness of
her skin. Her dancing was desperate and sad but
also strong and beautiful. This section called
"Color," showed firstherrejection and then gradual
acceptance and joy of the richness of her skin.
Again dancing in reaction to the music, Archer
and Lei Maxwell added comedy to the night in a
mix of funky and graceful movement in "Forget
Me Not." The music started with a classical piece
and more traditional ballet movements, but as the
music got faster they increased the speed of the
dance creating a comic effect.Moving on to music
by Santana they got into the beat. In all, it was a
very creative dance presented in a lighthearted
energetic manner.

Stratford Festival
brings 'Earnest' along
Just over 40 years ago, one of the most unlikely theater ventures in stage
history opened its curtains on Stratford, Ontario. It was a case of the improb-
able becoming the unthinkably successful. The Stratford Festival today ranks
among the top three English speaking theater companies in the world. This
week, Ontario's Stratford Festival comes to Ann Arbor for a week long
residency program.
While the Stratford venture successfully swept Canada into a new era of
performance, in the world of theater, there's generally something to be said for
the tried and the true. After almost a century of popularity, none would argue
that Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" was untried. And
according to Lucy Peacock (who plays Gwendolen Fairfax to Colm Feore's
John Worthing) the Stratford Festival's version of Wilde's satire, is nothing
less than true.
"Our version does not stray from the text. This play is an extraordinary
piece of literature - a jewel, a gem, it's perfection. You wouldn't want to
tarnish it in any way."
"The Importance of Being Earnest," written by Wilde in 1895, takes a
comedic look at 19th century upper class social norms through the lens of two
lying friends and their would-be wives - both of whom, Gwendolen (Pea-
cock) and Cecily Cardew (Marion Day), have always wanted to marry men
named Earnest.
"(Performing 'Earnest' is) really fun," said Peacock, "It's trying to make
what straight off the page may seem like nonsense into something real. It's a
great challenge to the mental and verbal athletics that one has to perform. One
word missed can throw the whole thing off and so the challenge is to make it
as smooth as possible. There's a great amount of dexterity required to speak
the language that Wilde has written. It has its own unique music, and finding
it is the challenge."
Judging by the rave reviews to which Stratford's "Earnest" has played, this
cast has succeeded in finding that music. "The key is the simplicity of it. To
lean toward farce or melodrama would be dangerous - it would be stretching
the comedy to the point that it's unreal. We've made these people real without
losing the humor by doing the play as it was written," said Peacock.
"Earnest" director David William apparently realizes the obvious: you
don't mess with a hundred years of success, with the tried and the true.
The Stratford Festival's week long residency will include not only perfor-
mances but educational programs as well. According to Kenneth Fischer,
executive director of the University Musical Society, "The company offered


Cows performance shakes the walls of the Union

Despite some predictions to the
contrary, the Union Ballroom was
still standing after an intense show by
the ever-cool Cows. Playing to a
Michigan Union Ballroom
November 13, 1993
crowd of slightly under 100, the
Amphetamine Reptile Records band
presented itself on a rather unsturdy
looking plywood stage, elevated all
of two feet. This UAC-sponsored
event certainly did not have all the
amenities of a normal concert venue,
like a barrier between the stage and
the floor or tough security guards, but
all involved really felt that was for the
best. Itmade up for the hanging plants.
The evening got underway at 9:30
p.m. with Vineland. Spewing out some
rather dull but harmless drowning
guitar for a crowd of stocking-capped
kids who couldn't get into the Blind

Pig and Cows fans who were not
particularly pleased with the first band,
Vineland played for far too long. The
most positive thing to be said about
them is that their bassist looks like
Pam Dawber.
Cleansing the palette a bit was
Don Cabellero, a voiceless metal
group. The most kinetic of the three
bands, they flew around the little stage
like demons, adding an air of show-
manship to their rather chaotic musi-
cal style. To alleviate possible bore-
dom with their set, the drummer blew
fire into the crowd, making the whole
experience all the better.
The Cows took the stage rather
late, and so it was probably for the
best that Rodan did not play as had
been previously announced. Starting
at 11:55, singer Shannon Selberg
mounted the small wooden elevation
dressed in a shaving cream bra, a
plastic mask, chaps (no underwear), a
baby doll's head (with roving eyes)
for a codpiece, a dildo tucked into the
back of the chaps and some ink marks
on his buttocks. This outfit quickly

changed when Selberg took his mask
off, walked out into the crowd and
wiped his bra off on the crowd, mostly
on one particular woman's head. And
within 10 minutes after the start of-the
show, someone from the venue made
him place a towel over his bare but-
After this amazing beginning, the
show continued fairly well. The band
played well, and during several songs
Selberg again ventured into the crowd,
which was partially covered in (and
smelled of) shaving cream. An espe-
cially memorable crowd incursion was
during the song "Mine," when he
started taking peoples hats to illus-
trate his lyrics. Everyone got their

hats back and was ecstatic at being so
intimate with the band. Unfortunately,
the slam pit got a little out of hand at
times, but it wasn't anything worse
than is to be found at any other good
show. As is often the case at concerts,
the vocals were not always as audible
as they should have been, but this is
excusable considering the venue.
When the Cows left the stage in an
uncharacteristically subdued way af-
terarelatively mellow song, the crowd
was satisfied with the 45 minute show,
which made up for in quality what it
lacked in quantity.
It isn't often that the University's
campus gets rocked good and hard.
Saturday night was one of those times.

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I nformat ion Meetings
This Week! !
Monday. November 15
Salamanica, S3PAIN'
1994 Summer Program



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