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December 03, 1993 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-12-03

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 3 1993 - 13

.Gabler' high in drama
Hilberry production is compelling yet flawed

Of his play "Hedda Gabler,"
Henrik Ibsen wrote: "It was not really
my desire to deal in this play with so-
alled problems. What I principally
wanted to do was depict human be-
ings, human emotions and human
destinies." The subject of "Hedda
Gabler" is, in essence, undramatic; it
is a character study of a brilliant but
destruptive woman. Fortunately, Ibsen
structured "HeddaGabler" with subtle

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I Hedda Gabler
Hilberry Theatre
November 27, 1993
hints of great theatrical potential, and
Wayne State University's graduate
theater program capitalized on that
potential in a compelling -- though
by no means flawless - production.
The casting of Hedda has always
*een a problem for even the most
talented directors. Ibsen took great
pains in describing Hedda (unusual
for Ibsen): "A woman of 29 .:. her
face and figure show breeding and
distinction ... pale and opaque com-
plexion ... steel-gray eyes (which)
express a cold, unruffled repose."
Hedda is not afenimefatale; she should
be striking, but not conventionally
lamorous. Jan Waldron fit those de-
criptions well.
And then there is the matter of
playing Hedda. It is important to real-
ize that while Hedda is scheming,
manipulative, jealous, repressed and
vindictive, she is brilliant and calcu-
lating; she is a victim of the conven-
tions of her society, but she is strong
and enduring. Waldron made the com-
mon and usually disappointing choice
f playing Hedda as a bitch. How-
ever, Waldron delivered her lines with
enough variation in her voice and her

body to justify that characterization.
Sometimes that tight little smile was
on her face, sometimes it was in her
mind; sometimes she got snippy,
sometimes she took her time and de-
liveredher lines with a calculated
Save some flawed characteriza-
tions, the rest of the cast contributed
well to the structure of the show.
Your standard Ibsen drama goes like
this: Pow! A. Pow! B. Pow! C. Pow!
D. It is tightly-woven and steadily but
stalwartly moving. Therefore the cast
must communicate on the same level.
As Hedda's schlep of a husband,
Christopher Newman was just right.
George Tesman is really clueless -
he thinks that a honeymoon is the
perfect time to research the Domestic
Industries of Brabant during the
Middle Ages. Newman carried off
well all the "hms," "ehs" and "whats"
that end George's every line - all
with a goobery smile plastered on his
Thorsten Kaye was slightly disap-
pointing as Eilert Loevborg, Hedda's
former love and the man through
whom she lives vicariously. Kaye
looked the Dionysian hero, with his
dark eyes and chiseled profile, but
was a little too subdued to be believ-
able. Kaye's Loevborg would not have
taken a gun from Hedda and promised
to kill himself "beautifully"; he would
have refused it, and gone off to com-
plete his novel.
As Thea, the "pretty little fool"
whose idea of freedom is flitting from
one man to another, Gretchen
Alexandra was quite nice at first, but
gradually became annoying. She was
just a bit too wimpy to be the woman
who has such tremendous power over
Making up for these flawed por-
trayals was PeterToran's Judge Brack,
the slimy man who wants his place in

Hedda and George's relationship. He
wants the same thing Hedda does --
"to shape a man's destiny." For this
reason, the exchanges between Hedda
and Brack were the best scenes in the
production. A great topic of discus-
sion amongst Ibsen lovers is the rela-
tionship between Hedda and Brack
(and George). Some suggest that
Brack is sleeping with Hedda, others
say that consummated sexual desire
would ruin the power struggle that
fuels their relationship. This produc-
tion left that debate unresolved - the
safe and the smart choice to make.
The ambiguity was there, and that
was exciting enough.
The Hilberry did make use of a
"handsomely decorated set," as Ibsen
dictated. The oriental rugs, rich bro-
cades and tapestries, browns and reds
combined for a fitting bourgeois look
- "Hedda has to do things with style,"
after all. The furniture was hidden by
dustcovers when the lights went up,
which Bertha the maid (Roxanne
Wellington) proceeded to carelessly
remove. (In reality, the maid would
have folded the dustcovers, to avoid
scattering dust over the room.)
One embarrassing hitch was the
set of double doors at the back of the
drawing room. Hedda would say "I
can't bear all that light," referring to
the light coming through the doors
when the portieres are drawn - but
no light was coming through.
Director N. Joseph Calarco made
the obtrusive choice of accompany-
ing many exits with piano music. As
if Ibsen wasn't laden with enough
melodramatic potential! In perhaps
the most powerful scene, when Hedda
is burning Loevborg and Thea's manu-
script - killing their child, essen-
tially - "Moonlight Sonata" played
in the background. Any musical the-
ater buff will recall the words set to
that piece in "You're a Good Man,

Jan Waldron and Thorsten Kaye are lovers separated by 19th-century societal constraints in "Hedda Gabler."

Charlie Brown," clearly an inappro-
priate reference in such a grave scene.
Since this is Ibsen and since this is
social realism, the flaws cannot go
unnoticed. But since this play is a

study of Hedda, the flaws in set and
direction become secondary to
Hedda's performance. In this produc-
tion, Hedda got what she wanted; she
had power over the audience.

HEDDAGABLE? runs in repertory
through January 27 at the Hilberry
Theatre in Detroit (4743 Cass). Fof
specific days, times and ticket
prices, call (313) 577-2972.

Continued from page 12
rows heavily from such seminal
janglers as the Byrds, the Who, Big
tar and the Beatles.
"Antedium" is especially reminis-
cent of the Who's landmark 1967
album "The Who Sell Out," which
interspersed great pop "radio songs"
with commercials, jingles and public
service announcements; Sex Clark
Five's latest album is 24 songs strong;
most of these are short, wacky num-
bers such as "Knights of Carumba,"
"Strum and Drum" and "Ketchup if
Wou Can." Many of the songs are
cute, poppy jangles that barely last
long enough for one to listen to. Three
of the songs are truly great: "Feast
Days" is based on an irresistible riff
that propels the song to new levels of
guitar greatness; "World of Wonder"
is packed with sweet harmonies; and
"Cold and Gray" sounds like a time-
less radio classic. Fans ofjangly anglo-
*op should take note: "Antedium""is
a winner.
-- Heather Phares
Tr de Test Transmissions
Considering that the Buzzcocks
are some of the founding fathers
(grandfathers, even?) of punk rock,
Oranking out such great tunes as "Or-
gasm Addict" and "Ever Fallen in
Love?" back when punk was a move-
ment and not a marketing concept, it
is amazing not only that they are still
around, but that "Trade Test Trans-
missions" has as many hits as it does.
One would think that the band
would be rusty after nearly 14 years
out of the studio, but this is not the
ase. Songs such as "Innocent," "Iso-
Wation," "Last to Know," "When Love
Turns Around" and "Who'll Help Me
to Forget?" show that Pete Shelley,
Steve Diggle and the rest of the crew
continue to write classic punk/power-
pop songs. Though they seem to have
become more of a mod group than a
punk rock group, the Buzzcocks are
one of the first classic punk groups to
'ow gray gracefully. "Trade Test
ransmissions" shows that this band
is more than just an influence on the

bands of today, but that the Buzzcocks
are still creative in their own right.
- Heather Phares
Eleven started in the L.A. club
scene in the early '80s. Currently, the
band is a three piece whose most
famous member is Jack Irons, for-
merly of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
In different incarnations, the band
included the late Chili Pepper Hillel
Slovak and Flea. "Eleven" is their
first release on the Hollywood label,
and it has been eagerly awaited. Few
will be disappointed by this classy,
engrossing collection of rock songs.
Eleven is a well-oiled machine
that sounds like it has been together
forever. Guitarist Alain Johannes and
bassist/organist Natasha Shneider
share the vocal duties over the ten
tracks, bringing a fresh approach to
each of the songs. The laid-back, de-
ceivingly complicated riffs are coor-
dinated well with the vocal melodies.
Mike Patton is a major influence on
the vocal styles of Johannes and
Shneider, but it does not detract from
the music because the songs work.
"Eleven"is an excellent alternative
rock record that is highly
reccommended not only to college
rock fans, but also to Led Zeppelin
and Beatles fans as well.
- Gianluca Montalti
Aphex Twin
Warner Brothers/Sire
Aphex Twin's new four song EP,
"On," provides further evidence that
this outfit is one of the most experi-
mental and inventive bands to be un-
fortunately lumped under the unflat-
tering category of "techno."
Things get moving with the acces-
sible but warped ambiance of the title
track, in which light sequencer tex-
tures are contrasted with an electronic
percussion track that is made up of

some of the strangest rhythm noises
ever heard in dance music or any-
where else. However, Aphex Twin's
Richard James carefully manufactures
these sounds so that they do retain
their danceable and somewhat funky
The next two tracks, "Y3-YIPS"
and "Xepha," on the other hand, are
dance-grooveless electro-bursts of
choppy layers of even more strange
noises that are too dynamic to call
percussion, yet too sharp to call any-
thing else. Unlike "On" and the final
track, "On (Reload Mix)," these two
tracks require quite a few listenings
before the initial shock wears off.
While this EP is an amazing taste
of Aphex Twin's talents, the dynamic
experimental qualities give one the
feeling that these tracks only scratch
the surface of what they are capable
of. Hopefully, alot more will be heard
from them in the future.
- Andy Dolan'
Mezcal Head
Swervedriver's first album,
"Raise," was a a brilliant debut album
not only for it's fiery, emotionally
charged tunes, but also due to the fact
that it worked perfectly as a concept
album. From the wind-in-your-face,
150 miles per hour guitar-blast of
"Son of Mustang Ford" to the cruis-
ing-into-the-sunset ambience of
"Lead Me Where You Dare...,"
"Raise" was nothing less than an au-
ral "Thelma and Louise"-style cross
country road trip, summed up per-
fectly by the line from "Pile-Up,"
"Just get in the car / and let's just
"Mezcal Head," on the other hand,
doesn't quite work as a concept al-
bum, but what it lacks in continuity in
makes up for with simply great songs.
With few exceptions, it burns with
every bit as much emotion and hu-
manity as "Raise," and takes certain
moods even further. Like it's prede-

cessor, "Mezcal Head" is lyrically
and musically packed with alienation
("Girl On A Motorbike"), introspec-
tion ("You Find It Everywhere") and
blissful escapism ("Duel," "Blowin'
Probably the biggest difference
between the two albums is due to the
departure of bassist Adi Vines. His
funky basslines were a key part of
songs like "Feel So Real," but
Swervedriver have apparently cho-
sen to dispose of this element. How-
ever, this is more than made up for by
the addition of killer guitar/feedback
melodies on songs such as "A Change
Is Gonna Come," and "MM Abduc-
The best tracks on "Mezcal Head"
conjure up amazingly vivid emotions
and situations. When you hear the
opening lyrics and guitar riffs of
"Blowin' Cool," you'll feel the cool
wind of the last days of summer, see
the rainy grey skies and experience
the solemn feelings of the beginnings
of autumn. In addition, songs like
"Never Lose That Feeling," along with
its jazzy, Kitchens of Distinction-like
continuation, "Never Learn," are the
sounds of loneliness and isolation,
but with a strange hope for escape and
While "Mezcal Head" is a some-
what different direction for
Swervedriver, they have managed to
prove that their knack for packing as
much feeling as possible into their
lyrics and blistering guitar waves was
no fluke. In fact, "Mezcal Head" sim-
ply shows that the band has a pure,

true sound that is both emotional and
- Andy Dolan
The Buried Life.
"The Buried Life" is a good title
indeed for Medicine's latest offering
of feedback-laden pop wanderings.
Everything is buried here: vocals,
drums, bursts of static, water, guitars
and yes, the more-than-occasional
hook. Comparisons to the likes of My
Bloody Valentine are inevitable as
the male and female vocals wander in
and out of the haze, but Medicine
takes a much more aggressive stance.
My Bloody Valentine would not dare

push the noise envelope this far.
Though not as overwhelmingly
sprawling - and thus not quite as
addictive-as last year's "Shot Forth
Self Living," this album rewards with
additional listenings as the hidden
touches, such as the strings on "I
Hear" make themselves known and
the hooks have a chance to sink in.
Form plays a more important role
here than it did on "Shot Forth" as
Medicine moves a few steps away
from the epic feedback festivals of
'92 and a few steps closer to the three-
minute pop song. It is hardly "second
verse same as the first" material but
the combination of static and struc-
ture, noise and harmony, slowly as-
serts itself on "The Buried Life" and
proves catchy and even hummable.
- Dirk Schulze

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Eta Kappa Nu Association, the National Electrical and Computer Engineering honor
society, was created to bring into closer union those in the profession of Electrical or
Computer Engineering who by their attainments in college or in practice have manifested a
deep interest and marked ability in their chosen life work, so as to foster a spirit of liberal
culture in the Engineering colleges, and to mark in an outstanding manner those students in
Electrical or Computer Engineering who through distinguished scholarship, activities,
leadership and exemplary character have conferred honor on their Alma Mater.
We, the officers of the Beta Epsilon chapter of Eta Kappa Nu at the University of

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