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February 04, 1994 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-02-04

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RTS

'Diaghilev' is full of high spirits

By LIZ SHAW
It was a high-spirited tribute to an
ingenious man. It was fantastically
"lawless music performed by an ex-
In the Spirit of
Diaghilev
Power Center
February 3, 1994
:ellent orchestra. It was the long
awaited re-introduction of the once
*ontroversial "Afternoon of a Faun"
,long with the premieres of the spiri-
,ually moving "Daughters of Isis,"
she abstractly charming "The Vast
Sky is Falling," and the radical elo-
quence of "The Firebird." It was "In
the Spirit of Diaghilev" and it de-
;erves much praise.
The audience settled back into their
-hairs, listening intently to the Uni-
versity Symphony Orchestra (USO)
playing an excerpt from Stravinsky's
"The Rite of Spring." Suddenly, the
beauty of the moment is shattered. A
,ouple in the first row is arguing. The
entire front section starts shushing

them, as their entire group starts speak-
ing louder and louder. Finally, two of
the women get up and leave the the-
ater in a huff, saying the music is "an
abomination." The patrons sitting
around this group was baffled, won-
dering why these oddly dressed people
(dressed in the style of 1912) were
making such a disturbance. This was
supposed to be an illustration of how
audiences first reacted to the music
and the choreography of the piece
"Afternoon of a Faun." Frankly, it
seemed lost on much of the audience.
The performance of "Afternoon
of a Faun" was unique and well done,
but it is not hard to see why it was
greatly ballyhooed in its time. The
dancers looked as if they were painted
right into the backdrop, luxuriously
replicated by Peter Beudert).
The dancers showed exemplary
control over the piece. The often stiff
and oddly-timed movements were
delivered with grace and poise. They
very carefully locked themselves into
their flat, two-dimensional plane and
stayed within it perfectly. The faun
(Kevin Clayborn) kept within the
framework of the piece, keeping his
moves restrained and exacting, while

at the same time emulating a wonder-
fully carefree faun.
A very compelling performance
was given by the dancers in the ex-
tremely long, but fascinating piece,
"Daughters of Isis," choreographed
by Linda Spriggs to a composition
also premiering, "Symphony No. 5:
Five Shades of a Woman in Black."
Through a series of different
dances the piece presented different
women of circumstance - women
from different stages in time, stations
in life and different places in the world
- to praise women of color. One of
the more outstanding represented was
the rapping Queen of the Hip Hop
Empire, Latifah (Akosua Burris). Her
thrown, perched atop a long slide was
as unexpected as her rapping (the
words of which were actually a poem
by U. professor Thylias Moss).
There isn't much that can be said
confidently about "The Vast Sky is
Falling," choreographed by Gay
Delanghe. The piece was so harried
and scattered that it became hard to
follow at parts, and led many audi-
ence members to their performance
notes to see what exactly the piece
was about. The dancing was like or-

ganized chaos, and the dancers were
well synchronized. There was a great
use of falls, jumps, recoveries and
contrasting movements.
"The Firebird" started out very
simple. The set was a series of white
sheets hanging from ceiling to floor,
with lights making odd shadows and
flashes on the sheets from behind.
Although the dancing was precise and
the piece well done, my attention was
captured by something that had been
dropped on the stage and I kept wor-
rying that someone was going to slip
and fall on it. No one did. The dancers
worked well as an ensemble through-
out the dreary, saddening piece. There
were many parts where they were all
working as one without a flaw.
The music of the evening was the
cherry on top of the evenings festivi-
ties. As usual, the USO's playing was
virtually error-free and, combined
with the dance performance, was a
special treat for all.
IN THE SPIRIT OF DIAGHILEV
plays through Sunday at the Power
Center. Performances are tonight
and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday
at 2 p.m. Tickets are $14, $10 ($6
students). Call 764-0450.

Josef Woodson dances in "The Firebird," part of "in the Spirit of Dlaghilev."

GOOD MEDICINE

'Two Sisters'1s Chekov with a twist

By NICOLE BAKER
Combine a little bit of Russian, a little bit of French
farce, a bit of comedy and a little romance, and you get
T.E. Williams new play, "Two Sisters."
"Two Sisters" has been running in preview perfor-
mances since January 27. The play has its official opening
tonight at the Purple Rose Theatre.
Set on a Russian farm in the 1890s, the play starts when
Sasha Prokopov, the older sister, returns home to help her
sister, Katya (Pamela Cardell), save their home from
being taken by Boris Zebulsky (Michael Ouimet).
Boris, the local land barren and tyrant, wants the land
and has gained control of the surrounding land by cheating
at cards in a series of games against the sisters' father
Fyodor Prokopov (Roy Dennison). Desperate to save
their home, the rest of the play follows the sisters as they
embark upon a mischievous ploy to beat Boris at his own
game, with hilarious results.
Williams has been working on the play for over 3
years. "I have always been a fan of Chekhov's plays, and
I thought it would be a great idea to write a comedy with
Chekhov as a base," he said.
"There are a lot of inferences to Chekhov in the play,
but you don't have to be a Chekhov scholar in order to
enjoy (it)." There may be lots of little in-jokes about
Chekhov, but they don't form the gist of the play.
The sisters are complete opposites, but their desire to
save their father and home brings them together.
Katya, a dancer, is a little eccentric, and lives in her

own fantasy world. "Its not that she's an airhead," stated
Williams, "She thinks - but what she comes up with isn't
always practical. You could even say that she's in a whole
different book."
Sasha, a teacher, is very practical and level-headed.
"Things keep going wrong with (her) plans, but not
because of anything she does. She tries to figure out why,
so she makes all these lists," he said.
According to Williams, Boris the antagonist, "has a"
certain amount of charm. However, he offends everyone
in some way or another, and they all unite against him to'
bring him down."
Although it could be considered a revenge comedy,
William sees his play as "a comedy with a Chekhov flavor
and farcical moments."
"While the play resembles a French farce to an extent,"
continued Williams, "French farces involve a lot of door 9
slamming and quick entrances and exits. This play is
without the doors, just open entrances."
"The play itself is a little slapstick, a little farce, and
hopefully a lot of fun," stated directorPhillip Locker, "and"
even though it moves fast, it deals with problems and
forces the characters to face those problems."
TWO SISTERS will be performed February 2 thorugh
March 20 at the Purple Rose Theatre (137 Park St,
Chelsea). Performances are Wednesdays through
Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sunday at 7p.m., with Sunday
matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 - $25. For more
informatiop call 475-7902.

Most bands have their share of troubles on the road and Medicine is no exception. Though we had at least two
scheduled interviews with the band, the weather prevented them from speaking with us. After much trial and
tribulation, they have finally made it into Michigan; they will be opening for Swervedriver tonight at the Blind Pig.
Medicine's music is intoxicating. They love melody almost as much as they love noise, making their second album,
"The Buried Life," sound like an unholy marriage between My Bloody Valentine and the Beach Boys (Brian Wilson's
old collaborator, Van Dyke Parks, arranged one of the album's tracks). Medicine's live show promises to be a pile-
dciving clatter of shatteringly loud guitar, thundering drums and fragmented melodies - in short, it will be blissful
, it bring your earplugs. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. and tickets are a steal at $7.50 in advance.

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