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March 14, 1994 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-14

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8 - Th Michigan Daily - Monday, March 14, 1994

Bush Women more than dancers.

If an audience had to classify
Urban Bush Women, most would
agree that they are dancers. Yet the
dance troupe's performance at the
Power Center last Friday proved that
Urban Bush Women
Power Center
March 11, 1994
these talented women do more than
just dance. They chant, sing, speak
and teach while their agile bodies
leap across the stage.
The combination of African music
and cultural dance generates a theme
of slavery in exile and eventual
redemption in a land of their own.
The dancers begin with boisterous
chants about hope for freedom and
leaving their Babylon, or exile. When
the chants become melancholic
croons, the lead dancer begins
hunching over in agony, as if she is
being worked to death.
The talent and versatility of Urban

Bush Women create a sense of
spirituality in the audience. The initial
lethargic movements of the workers
subtlely transform into quiet
meditative breathing and become loud
again with chants of anguish and
despair. Throughout the performance,
the dancers' bare feet pound of the
hard wooden floor as a reminder of
the harshness of their labor.
The theme changes in the second
act, entitled "A Dance ... Batty
Moves." Maia Claire Garrison gave a
solo performance that demonstrated a
rare elasticity of movement and
gracefulness. Her body seemed
propelled by the drum beats but not
dependent of them as she glided across
stage with a spiritual energy that was
not so obvoius in her first number.
The intensity dissipated as the
Urban Bush Women launch
"Girlfriends," a piece that mimicked
the cattiness and arguments of what
appeared to be four best friends. The
dancers chronicled the friendship in
the form of music and dance through
loud stomping, clumped gossiping,
dramatic crying and finally, boisterous

laughter. While drama replaced much
of the dancing in this portion of the
performanceeach movement seemed
carefully chosen and calculated.
The energy of the last act
synthesized a message with powerful
movements. As the dancers trembled,
a narrator read a poem about a
handsome homeless woman on a busy m
street corner in New York. I can see
myself in her ... caught in the
intersection of reduced resources and
reverberating rage." the narrator
bellowed. All bodies moved to a
syncopated beat with bold strokes,
their bare feet creating an eerie echo
throughout the room. The dancers
moved with an urgency that seemed
heavy yet graceful. They were
communicating first with each other,@i
then with their audience.
The Urban Bush Women did not
speak their politics with words until
the final act. But they did not need to
verbalize what their bodies said with
a strength of their own. Through their
love of African folklore and their
connection with the past, the Urban
Bush Women touched the audience.

-Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp and Juliette Lewis all search for the answer to "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?"
Gilberts noour

Chronicling the Holocaust denial

Family can be a pretty big deal. Do you love your
mother, do you hate your mother, do you want to marry
your mother? Is your little sister really annoying enough
to run over with a truck or is she just trying to find her place
in the cosmos? Feeling trapped by obligation while at the
same time expressing extreme loyalty and gratitude is a
What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Wtten by Peter He irected by Lasse Hlaltrom;
with Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio and Juliette
familiar filial contradiction. The desire to run far away
from home while still yearning for the security that comes
with certain acceptance and love is the struggle explored
in the film "What's Eating Gilbert Grape."
Hiding out more than living in a house outside of small
town Iowa, the Grape family is slowly tearing itself apart.
Routine revolves around 500-pound Momma who tries to
dictate her life and her children from the couch on which
she permanently sits. Gilbert (Johnny Depp), her eldest
son, is forced to take on much of the responsibility for the
family, most notably the care of his 18-year-old mentally
retarded brother, Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio). Baby-sitter,
playmate and best friend to Arnie, Gilbert's only escape is
his affair with a married woman until Becky (Juliette
Lewis) comes to town. Becky, a "worldly kind of girl,"
awakens Gilbert not only to his problems and pain but to
his desire for a confidante and sincere love.
Though Gilbert and Becky's relationship is important
unto itself, it more importantly serves as a catalyst to the
examination of Gilbert's place in his family and of the
complexity of the Grapes' relationships. Gilbert's affection

and devotion to Arnie is ebvious yet it is also clear that
Gilbert feels trapped in his r 'e a father figure. By the
same token, Gilbert loves his mthcr but knows that her
hold on her children is smothcin them. Becky gives
Gil bertthe ~Freedom to remove himsel f rm the numbness
and reserve which he uses to protect himseV. allowing him
to understand the importance ofni.s fami ly. d his struggle.
Depp's~ ability lo maintain a studicd steadiness while
revealing G ilbert's hel p s ness an d conusion makes this
performrwnce one o f his s mngt i.et Giibrt's rages and
asions re as o ern s are to relate to.
It is, however, DiCapr' pci 1rmane asArnie that
deserves the highest praise. He is so convincing in
portraying the honest and brutal emotions of the child-like
son that he becomes the focus of nearly every scene he is
in. His shriekin hugh and hwing cry instinctually
make you grin and wine in rspons. .DiCaprio's talent is
amazing and unarguably desen ag of the Academy Award
for which it was nmin ated
The intimacy ol both aald town ie ad personal
relationships are we'II explo e in this film while its pace
and humor work weli to engage the audience. Whether it
be great writing, directmu aUnng or, more likely, a
combination of the three, 5Omethin vv has worked to make
these characters so real that hcir contradictions are
perfectly reasonable and their compiexities absolutely
natural. Even Lewis's vibrancy is not overdone and,
thankfully, her character does not become Gilbert's sole
inspiration. Instead, he and the rest of the Grape family
each find resolution and are able to come out of hiding into
a bigger world. Their problems do not simply disappear,
but they learn, especially Gilbert, not to let those problems
eat them alive.

Almost every junior and senior at
the University remembers that fateful
day when Bradley Smith and His
Committee For Open Debate on the
Holocaust printed an advertisement
denying the Holocaust in the Daily.
Many people may even remember the
organized protest the following day
which mobilized thousands of
students to write condemnation letters
to the Daily. Faculty and students
alike debated the constitutionality of
printing such blatant lies, and student
editors fielded criticism from human
rights groups and Jewish students.
Yet in the wake of all the
controversy surrounding the ad, few
people critically examined Smith's
presentation of ideas and his carefully
chosen rhetoric. Holocaust denial was
never given much credibility, and
Smith and his cohorts did not win too
many converts. But the ad, which
appearedin other college publications
across the country, served as a wake
up call to the world that Holocaust
denial was grooming itself for an
intellectual audience and garnering
support from university communities.
Deborah Lipstadt, professor of
religion at Emory University and
author of "Denying the Holocaust:
the Growing Assault on Truth and

Memory," chronicles the history of
Holocaust denial and the process by
which it has gained legitimacy in
America. Lipstadt, an intellectual,
fights the new academic rhetoric of
deniers with potent choice words of
her own in a well-written and timely
treatise on Holocaust denial.
In the first chapter, Lipstadt
answers the question: does writing a
scholarly book on Holocaust deniers
implicitly legitimize their ideas?
Clearly, Lipstadt was reticent to write
the book at first. However, she
explains that, with such intellectuals
as Arthur Butz of Northwestern
University and acclaimed French
professor Robert Faurisson jumping
on the denier's bandwagon, the time
had come for a confrontation of the
individuals and their ideas.
"Those who have not experienced
the sting of the Holocaust or the sting
of anti-Semitism may find it difficult
to understand the vulnerability it
endangers in the victim ... This book
is, in part, the convey the pain that
deniers inflict. In writing it I have
often found myself angry with them
despite the facts that they live in a
strange mental wonderland and that
neither they nor the nonsense they
spread are worthy of my anger.
Although we do not take their

conclusions seriously, contradictory
as it may sound, we must make their
method the subject of study."
One of deniers' methods includes
calling themselves revisionists,
thereby camouflaging the virility of
their blatant lies. The term revisionism,
connotes a legitimate school of history 6
which began after World War One
and would not espouse Holocaust
denial. Bradley Smith, Arthur Butz,
Robert Faurisson and others "revise"'
the story, the players, the numbers of
the dead, the testimonies, and even,
the confessions of the Nazis indicted
at Nuremberg. In fact, Butz reasons,
away the problematic detail that Nazis.
did confess at Nuremberg and after@
by claiming that they were tortured:
and coerced into doing so.
While some of Lipstadt's rhetoric;
is embroiled in historical details, her;
work is easily understood and clearly~
written. Her academic approach does
not give the deniers any credence;
rather, it shows the intensity of their
anti-Semitic beliefs and the racism
behind their scholarly masks. For any
reader concerned not just with history
but with human rights, Lipstadt's
"Denying the Holocaust" offers much.
at Hillel's Green Auditorium
tonight at 7:30p.m.

'Three Sisters' shows human


Human nature tends towards
perversity. If that is true, then Anton
Chekov's play "Three Sisters" is the
perfect symbol of the perversity and
Three Sisters
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
March 10, 1994
irony of human nature.
Chekov's dark comedy gives a
rather satirical view of people and
relationships. The lyrical properties
of the production emphasized the
conversational twists with in the text.
Energetic and humorous, Ann
Arbor Civic's production keeps the
audience involved, moving through
the rich text with smooth efficiency.
Trapped in their life in a provincial
Russian town after their father's death,

the three sisters long for a better life in
Moscow. While they never get out,
they manage to keep their dreams
alive regardless of the circumstances.
Olga Sergeyevna (Mary Anne
Nemeth) is the oldest sister. As a 28-
year-old school teacher she considers
herself a spinster, but longs for a
family of her own. Nemeth's Olga is
well-healed with the stately elegance
that she uses to run the family,
although she reverts to childish antics.
Masha (Kathleen Davis) is the
middle sister who is trapped in an
unhappy marriage and wishes for love.
Davis' Masha is vivacious, sarcastic
and utterly enchanting with a
mischievous sense of humor.
Irma (Leigh-Ann Danner), is the
idealistic younger sister. She dreams
of working in a meaningful job, only
to find drudgery as she goes from job
to job. As Irina, Danner is charming
and sweet, with little coquettishness.

nature's irony
Underlying all their own personal-
dreams is their desire to return to
Moscow. To distract themselves from
the realities of life, they spend their
time flirting with the regimental
officers and avoiding the verbal darts
of their overbearing and obnoxious
sister-in-law, Natalya.
Natalya (Adrianna Buonarroti) is
unrefined, vulgar and pushy - the
perfect target for the sisters' wit.
Buonarroti's Natalya has no sense of
etiquette. While denouncing others
for indecency and vulgarity, she
blatantly carries on an affair.
Solyony (Erik Schark) provides
the audience with the cynical and
dark side of our nature. Observing
with detached amusement the antics
of those around him, his sardonic sneer
hides his feelings. His ironic wit serves
to pointout the quirks in human nature
while maintaing the cynical facade.
Leo McNamara gives a truly stellar
performance as the doctor-drunkard-
newspaper philosopher who chooses
to ignore the world around him.
There is a little bit of us in each of
these characters that draws us into
their lives anddreams. "Three Sisters"
is a complex tale of relationships and
life, showing how human differences
are what make life interesting.
THREE SISTERS plays at the Ann
Arbor Civic Theatre (2275 Platt
Road) through March 26, Thursday
through Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets
are $8. Call 971-AACT.

We speciaize in student and facuty travel
to Europe!
5-Day Flexipass

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