10 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 11, 1994
Loretta Swit plays the role of Shirley Valentine - a housewife in the middle of a mid-life crisis.
Mi-lie crisis, ece a
By DARCY LOCKMAN
"Gone to Greece, back in two weeks," reads
the note Shirley Valentine leaves on the kitchen
table for her husband. Realizing she has become
invisible to the people in her life, Shirley has to
leave to regain sight of herself.
So goes the story of Willy Russell's Tony-
nominated play "Shirley Valentine." Loretta Swit
comes to the Michigan Theater tonight in this one-
woman show about a housewife in mid-life crisis.
Swit will quickly tell you, though, that "mid-
life crisis" describes Shirley's situation inaccu-
"That's an oversimplification of what's going
on there," she said on the phone from her Califor-
nia home. "It's about her courage. She has the
courage to break out of her mundane life. I think
the play is also about her husband who has the
same (lifestyle), but not the same courage."
Firstand foremost, Swit admires her character's
bravery. "She has this insight, this ingenious way
of spotting the truth. She's very brave, and is
willing to strike out to get herself back into gear.
She has let labels - the labels of mother, of wife
- take over her persona , but then she goes out
and gets that persona back at the sacrifice of
Unlike Valentine, Swit has never been one to
let labels infuse her life. Once a wife and never a
mother, Swit has always been an actress. She
knew early that professional acting was her goal,
and achieved it long before her role as Hot Lips
Houlihan on "M*A*S*H" catapulted her to fame
in the '70s.
"Hot Lips was an interesting character," she
said. "I have to like a character to do her, and I
liked Hot Lips better as I developed her. She was
underwritten at first.
"I don't find myself looking back (on the
series). I look forward to see where I'm going.
People who look back have the tendency to trip,"
said Swit, sounding like a fortune cookie - wise,
speaking a universal truth. Her throaty voice re-
flects wisdom: the wisdom of experience. Loretta
Swit has been around and does not hesitate to
share her knowledge. What she does refuse to
reveal is information about her personal life. She
will say only that she "grew up in the East," that
she lives somewhere in California, that she "does
not discuss anything as private as age."
Just back from performing "Love Letters" in
the Cayman Islands, Swit has been playing Valen-
tine intermittently for over three years. Between
"Shirley Valentine" performances, she works in
television (TV movies as well as a recent episode
of "Murder She Wrote"), film and other theater
ventures. Preferring theater because of its "instant
gratification," Swit has done over 200 perfor-
mances of "Valentine."
Still, Swit does not get bored. "The audiences
and the places keep changing. I keep finding
different things in the character," she said.
Neither does she find that a one-woman show
is difficult to sustain. "It's great. I don't feel I'm
alone on that stage. The minute I see the audience
I'm not alone. The structure of the show allows me
to share a lot more than other plays.
"Shirley is my favorite character because she's
who I'm doing now. My favorite role is always the
one I'm playing at any given moment. It's not as
fickle as it sounds; it's my work."
When not performing, Swit works as an ani-
mal advocate. She recently completed a wildlife
series for the Discovery Channel and was named
Woman of the Year by the Animal Protection
Institute of America. But don't call her an animal
"I think those words have come to be misun-
derstood," she said, "I admire passion but you
don't accomplish things by throwing ink at women
in fur coats. I don't believe it helps to free lab
animals. That's not what I do. I give time to
fundraising to help preserve wildlife."
For the rest of this year, Swit will be playing
the role of Shirley Valentine. She has "lots of long
range plans," but prefers to stay centered in the
present. "I have to focus on one performance at a
time. I don't like to live in the future, to focus on
tomorrow. I live in the here and now."
Tonight, the "here" is Ann Arbor; the "now" is
Shirley Valentine. And Swit as Shirley goes off
again to Greece to regain her elusive persona.
SH RLEY VALENTINE will be performed
tonight at 8 p.m. at the Michigan Theater.
Tickets are $23.50 and $29.50. For more
information call 668-8397.
Flutes just a portion of.
a Galway performance
By KEREN SCHWEITZER
James Galway was the first flutist I ever heard. I was given one of his
albums, "Annie's Song" shortly after beginning the flute, and I listened to it
for hours. Later that same year, I saw Galway in concert, and was amazed
when for an encore, he pulled out two pennywhistles and played theib
simultaneously. Even as a beginning flutist, I was mesmerized by his glorious
sound, astounding technique and amicable stage presence, but I was not the
James Galway is perhaps one of the most likable and most popular soloists
on the concert hall stage. His universal appeal as an entertainer and hiS
consummate artistry has earned him a reputation as one of the world's
Born in Belfast, Ireland, Galway began his musical studies on the'
pennywhistle. He soon advanced to the flute, and at the age of 12, he won
three prizes at a local flute competition. He enjoyed a successful orchestral
career that culminated in his appointment as Principal flutist of the Berlin
Philharmonic. In 1975, he left the Philharmonic to begin his solo career.
Perhaps the most attractive attribute of James Galway is his personality:
He is charming, warm and approachable, not to mention his wonderful Irish
accent. About his decision to embark on a solo career he said, "I never thought
about it ... you can't just decide to become a soloist, you have to want it. r
worked on it gradually with smaller concerts leading to bigger concerts."
Despite leaving the Philharmonic, Galway said that he enjoyed playing in,
Berlin and did not find the life of an orchestral musician restrictive. "I have'
never felt restricted by anyone or anything, I just do my own thing."
Galway is constantly aware and communicative with his audience during
a concert. "Many soloists don't know what's going to happen as they walk out
onstage. I know exactly what's going to happen because I practice it at home.
The performance should just be an extension of your playing in the kitchen
at home, with no punches pulled." This informal approach helps Galway
create a comfortable listening environment. "There should be no formality in
music, a musical expression is a musical expression," he said, "Nevertheless,
whatever you play, you must always play with the greatest reverence."
On playing the flute, Galway said, "When a flutist practices, he or she'
must constantly be aware of the instrument and the sound. For instance, he
can't be thinking about the chick down the corridor." He continued, "At a
master class I taught in Wisconsin, I asked a flutist to play me a folk song, but *
she didn't know any. Then I asked her to play the national anthem, but she
didn't know that either. I can't help these sort of people until they really know
music, she was just a typewriter with a headjoint."
Many serious classical music aficionados criticize Galway's informal
approach to performances. Bernard Holland, a critic for the New York Timds
said of Galway, "With his beautiful sound and blarney like way with a phrase;
Mr. Galway is more of an audience milker than a serious musician." Galway
has also been criticized for recording albums of popular music and arranging
all kinds of music for the flute.
Despite this type of criticism, others argue that Galway does indeed take
his music seriously, particularly new music. Last year alone, he performed
five new flute concertos, one of which was written by the University's own
Professor of Composition, William Bolcom. Galway added, "I am not
necessarily a champion of new music, Ijust play what I like. Yesterday I got
a piece of music, but I think it would have been better in color as wallpaper."
While in Ann Arbor this weekend, where Galway will perform works by
Doppler, Faure, Widor, Mozart and Saint-Saens in Hill Auditorium, he has
been generous enough to teach a flute master class at the School of Music. Hd
will not accept money for his services, but the flutists who perform for him
will donate $25 to an artists' foundation dedicated to AIDS research.
JAMES GAL WAY will peform Sunday at 4 p.m. in Hill Auditorium.
Tickets range from $29 to $20. Call 764-2538 for tickets.
If Carcass' only objectives on this
record are to be heavy and evil, they
have accomplished them. Death metal
is a minimalist genre that only seeks
to achieve these two criteria in their
purest form. Hence, every death metal
album winds up sounding basically
the same. It is the never ending search
for the almighty riff and Carcass has
taken a pretty good stab at the eternal
The band was started by bassist /
vocalist (the term is used loosely) Jeff
Walker while he was attending medi-
cal school. He eventually decided that
he enjoyed singing about decaying
body parts more than physically deal-
ing with them. Their first two releases
separated them from the death metal
pack because of their hardcore influ-
ence and their incredibly gory lyrics
(a positive attribute in this genre). On
"Heartwork," the music is heavier
and more refined, more like typical
"Heartwork" is somewhat slower
than past releases, but the uninitiated
will never know. The vocals are still
idiotic and the music is as antisocial
as ever. Their awesome riffs are re-
ally their only redeeming quality, the
best of which show up on "No Love
Lost," "Arbeit Macht Fleisch" and
"Buried Dreams." As death metal
goes, this is a pretty good offering
from an established player in the form.
There is also a really cool H.R. Giger
sculpture on the cover. Are these guys
on the cutting edge of evil or what?
- Gianluca Montalti
Songs of Faith and Devotion
The big question here is: Why?
Why would Depeche Mode release
an album which is the EXACTequiva-
lent of their last release? The only
difference between "Songs of Faith
and Devotion" and this "Live" ver-
sion is the concert-sound factor. Hmm
... Could it be Depeche Mode trying
to capitalize on the immense success
The problem is, it's still "Songs of
Faith and Devotion." Even worse than
"Violator," and nowhere near as good
as "Construction Time Again" or
"Music for the Masses," this is
Depeche trying to fit in with the 89X
crowd. Some of Depeche Mode's
appeal remains intact. David Gahan's
voice still has that hollow, sexy qual-
ity and Martin Gore's lyrics are still
mysteriously abstract yetclose enough
to earth to be understood.
But "Faith and Devotion" lacks
the energy and excitement of their
previous releases. There is nothing
fueling the music - which was the
most noticeable problem on their
"Faith and Devotion" tour. Gahan is
trying to attain Bono's sex appeal,
which he has no hope of achieving
with that '70s-retro look he donned
on the tour. Gore is not getting as
creative as he used to with vocals or
ballads and, as a result, all the music
sounds the same.
If you're a die-hard Depeche fan,
and you absolutely must relive your
concert experience, then buy this one,
But the rest of us sit patiently await-
ing the old Depeche Mode.
- Melissa Rose Bernardo
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