Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

December 09, 1993 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-12-09

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

4-The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, December 9, 1993

Jesus goes to Canada

You can find God anywhere, or so
they say. Believe it, and you'll know
where to look. In a church, in a temple,
on a corner, in a bar. No name tag, no
escort, no spotlight, no fanfare. Some-
one you know, someone you've never
met. A T.V. star's gleaming capped
teeth. A boxer's gloved fist. Bruised
and bloody in a doorway. Beneath the
steps. Beneath the lights. Beneath your
feet. In Jerusalem, in Bethlehem, in

Montreal. It is here, on a makeshift
stage, in a hallowed-eyed man, that
Denys Arcand's "Jesus of Montreal"
takes its look.
The film concerns a young,
French-Canadian actor named Daniel
Coloumbe (Lothaire Bluteau), who is
hired by the local church to exhume
its community's waning interest in
the annual Christplay and fund-raiser.
He is told that he can do what he
wants, in terms of updating, that he
can cast who he likes, provided that
he retains the basic story and that he
play Jesus. And above all, that he
draw a good crowd.
This seems reasonable enough to
Daniel. He is an actor, and next to
Hamlet, Jesus is probably the most
coveted role around, even on such a
small scale as this. He already has
ideas for the story. As for casting, he
goes about finding his actors the way
one might scrounge for suitable con-
federates in a scavenger hunt. There
is a sultry and bored perfume model,
r GYarantled
Montego Bay Jamaica from $439
Negril Jamaica fom$469
Cancun Mexico fo$439
Nassau, Bahamas fom$409
Daytona leach, FL from $149
Panama City Beach, from $129
L. C.eeas
Ma.y..u..d..4e*S -"07
Slev. Clark j'995-508
Nygeuv Trarel reii-i 1
120 North Aurora St., Ithaca, NY 14850

afriend who's been long unemployed,
another in the midst of dubbing pornos
and the lover of the priest who hired
him. A somewhat eclectic bunch, to
say the least.
Although the film surrounds the
play itself, it is not the play that gives
the film its center. We are shown only
glimpses of the actual production.
Instead, it serves mostly as a means of
conveying the actors' development;
the closer they get toward show time,
the more intimate they become with
one another. The farther along they
go, the more their lives, particularly
Daniel's, begin to resemble and pay
eerie homage to the story and the
characters they are creating.
However, this is no random devel-
opment. The parallels between the
ensemble and the new testament are
meant to generate an understanding
of the sometimes skewed ways people
look at religion. It is not so much that
Arcand, or the audience for that mat-
ter, actually believes that'Daniel is
the embodiment of Christ. On the
contrary, he is very much a man who
must deal with all the realities of
mortality. It is his search for this ideal
that brings him closer to God. So
close that he is eventually unable to
separate himself from this ideal.
As played by Lothaire Bluteau, a
brilliant French-Canadian actor him-
self, Daniel is as laconic as he is
intense. Strange and anomalous, pen-
sive and threadbare, his pale skin
stretches tight across the tenuous
frame, struggling with the burden of
keeping flesh and soul intact -if not
Jesus, then someonejust as deserving
of redemption.
If there is any major flaw in this
film, it is the overly conscious ties
Arcand draws between Daniel and
Christ. When the perfume model,
Marielle, is about to compromise her-
self for an insidious casting agent,
Daniel becomes enraged, destroying
equipment and denouncing those in-
volved. Later, he is arrested straight
off the cross, in the middle of the play.
He says nothing. Always the martyr.
However, aside from this one dis-
crepancy, the fih as a whole serves
its purpose well. Despite the over-
tones, this is not an attempt to force-
feed religious folklore; it never gets
preachy. Oddly enough, there's even
a bit of an atheistic undertow to it.
Whatever your views on religion may
be, what should be understood is that
it is not so much the significance of
"finding God" that Arcand is after,
but the significance of questioning
why we think that we need God, and
even more so, why we think that this
is something that we'll ever find.

The company of "Les Miserables" sings "One Day More," a poignant anthem to the resilienceof the human spirit in the face of strife.
'Ls Mserables' is fr from miserable .

If you haven't seen "Les
Miserables" by now, quite frankly, I
don't know how you've managed to
avoid it. Since it opened on Broadway
in 1987, the mammoth musical (based
on Victor Hugo's equally mammoth
novel) has become a sensation all
across America. The tragic tale of the
French Revolution and "the wretched"
(as the title translates) citizens of
France is now a staple on Broadway
and in musical theater repertoire. Be-
ginning December 14, "Les Miz" will
take Detroit by storm once again, in
its third stop at the Fisher Theatre.
"Les Miz" is just one of those
musicals people must talk about. In
cocktail party conversation, it is most
often paired with "The Phantom of
the Opera." But unlike that preten-
tious piece of theatrical drivel that Sir
Andrew Lloyd Webber has made into
a gold mine, "Les Miz" has a great.
story, a rich history woven into the

plotline and a truly exceptional score.
In its most basic reduction, ac-
cording to actor/touring company
member Brian Lynch, "It's about a
guy who steals a loaf of bread and
everything that happens to him after
that." In the novel, Victor Hugo uses
the crime Jean Valjean committed to
catapult him into a discussion of not
only the people of France, but the
social and political periods framing
'('Les Miserables') is
essentially about love.
It's about love, it's
about hope, it's about
courage - on every
single level.'
- Brian Lynch
these characters. The musical uses
the historical framework of Hugo's
novel: the class systems, the sewers
of Paris, the peasants living on the
streets of a bankrupt France, the aban-
doned children, Draconian legisla-
tion which allowed a man to be im-
prisoned for 19 years for stealing a
loaf of bread and the Student Insur-
rection of 1832, which set the stage
for a Republican France. But the
musical's authors, Alain Boublil and
Claude Michael Schoenberg, take that
historical period and bring the lives
and fates of the people into the fore-
"It traces the life of Jean Valjean,

from when he's released from prison
and is about as close to an animal as
any human being can be, to the end of
the piece, when he's about as close to
a saint as any human being can be.
And it's the way his life interacts with
everyone around him in Paris at that
time," Lynch explained. Lynchplayed
Valjean for some time in the national
tour, and after a brief hiatus returned
this summer as one of the students.
Much of the musical does center
around Valjean's transformation from
criminal to exemplary citizen, but one
cannot ignore the characters that en-
ter into his life, and on whose lives he
leaves his impression. "The name of
the piece is not 'Jean Valjean'; the
name of the piece is 'Les Miserables.'
It's about the people. It's about the
unfortunate ones; it's about the ideal-
istic students trying to create a new
life for a forgotten France; it's about
the women who are always there,
who are left behind after the wars ...
It's about this man on his deathbed
who wants to see his little girl one last
time, and he gets his wish ... and then
he is taken into heaven," Lynch de-
Ah yes, the resilience of the hu-
man spirit in the face of strife. To
bring it to a more general level,Lynch
added: "It's essentially about love.
It's about love, it's about hope, it's
about courage - on every single
But since just about any musical
drama can be reduced to the resil-
ience of the human spirit in the face of
strife, "Les Miz" must be special.


Otherwise it would not have won
a whopping eight Tony Awards, plus
a few Drama Desks and London Crit-
ics Circle awards.
"I feel it's the best musical there is
around now. There's more depth to
the piece and subject matter than al-
most anything that's out. The music
is, in my opinion, superior to almost
anything that's out. There's just so
much there as an actor, no matter
what you do, that you can really sink
your teeth into. And every night, it's
just such a joy to perform," Lynch
Which brings us to the subject of
performance. There's aspoofin "For-
bidden Broadway," Gerard
Alessandrini's witty spoof of the
shows and stars of Broadway, directed
at "Les Miz." It goes something like
this: "At the end of the show we're
another year older/ And we're often
exhausted from playing the poor." So
is there any truth to this? Lynch chuck-
led. "People ask, 'Do you get tired of
itT I don't get tired of it, I get tired
from it. If you go out there every
night, and you do your job and you
pay attention to what you're doing
and what's going on in the story, you
can't get sick of it. There's just too
much there," Lynch said.
That explains why some audience
members come back two, three or as
much as six times to see "Les Miz."
(Six is my personal record, but after
the stint at the Fisher it will be eight.
Lynch called me a glutton.) So if
you're satisfied with your "Phantom
of the Opera"-type shows - that is,
self-indulgent spectacle and preten-
tious orchestrations -maybe a show
like "Les Miz" will be too much for
you. But take my advice, and don't
"miz" out on a show with depth.
December 14 - January 8 at the
Fisher Theatre (3411 West Grand
Boulevard, Detroit). There will be
six evening and two matinee
performances each week: Tuesday
through Sunday the first and third
weeks, Monday through Saturday
the second and fourth. Tickets
range from $25 to $47.50, with
special $16 student tickets available
for certain performances (valid ID
required). To charge by phone call
645-6666, or for more information
call 872-1000.

1 m -11 ::


ITI FL 010 1k,19i N'S

.. A

w-V--- - w -- w
How You Like pizza At Home. r
Central Campus (East Ann St.) 761-1111 0
North Campus (Broadway) 769-5511
W. & S. Quad Area (Packard at Dewey) 761-9393
Sun-Thus: 11 am-12 am Wed-Thurs:11 am-1 am Fri-Sat 11 am-2 am
One 12" Super Sub & MD Two FREE cans of Coke MD
one can of Coke or Diet Coke s or Diet Coke when you order
* I a medium or large
' Extra Crispy Thin Crust Pizza
$5099 m U with one or more toppings
Must have coupon. Expires 12-21-93. Must have coupon. Expires 12-21-93.
Valid at participating stores only. Valid at participating stores only.
Customer pays sales tax where Customer pays sales tax where
applicable. Delivery areas applicable. Delivery areas
limited to ensure safe driving. limited to ensure safe driving.
Our drivers carry less than Our drivers carry less than
" $20.00. Our drivers are not R $20.00. Our drivers are not
penalized for late deliveries. penalized for late deliveries.
lo 6"TSis, o ed orladelrIsD ne-/m_ mmmmm Mm'
Two 5" Subs,-one order MDnemedium Hand-Tossed
Breadsticks, PLUS ' Pizza with two toppings
two cans ofCoke or Diet Coke m
'$5.9 o4 $5.99
Must have coupon. Expires 12-21-93. Must have coupon. Expires 12-21-93.1
V ain eValid at participating stores only. Customer 1
pays sales tax where applicable. Delivery pays saesta ere applicableDern
a esimi ted to ensu e safe driving .m areas limited to ensure safe driving.

- -2




1 ..


1 n 5,

5.00 each

The best-selling cookbook featuring
great recipes from Ann Arbor
restaurants and cooks.

moofl"MOur drivers.carry lesss than.0 urMu ur dvers carry less than $2o 0O. Our fl
~ U .,~4 ~ b. I~+., ,a~iavga




Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan