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April 04, 1994 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-04-04

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'Havoc' copes with reality

Although there isn't a happy end-
ing, "Cry Havoc" doesn't need one, it
is about war, and how people cope
with that reality.


rcn unviiIr nrY irILL i -Eli


Cry Havoc
Arena Theatre
March 31, 1994

Basement Arts' production of Alan
Kenward's "Cry HAvoc" was stirring
as well as poignant. Utilizing the tal-
ent of its all female cast, they created
a production that centered around the
differences of individuals, and how
those differences affect the way people
deal with extraordinary situations.
Set against the backdrop of World
War II, the play occurs in an under-
ground bunker in the Philippines.
Eight volunteers arrive on the front to
help, Doc (Jennifer Pennington) and
her assistant Smitty (Christina
Together, these dynamically dif-
ferent women must face the reality of
the war and their own private de-
lmons. Each one approaches the war
from a different perspective, chang-
ing forever over the course of the next
few days.
The twists and turns that occur as
they confront not only themselves,

but the spy in their midst, kept the
audience on the edge, guessing. Noth-
ing is clear cut anymore, as they face
the war, and find the strength in them-
selves to survive and stay sane, and
for one of them it becomes impos-
Pat (Mandy Siegfried), was the
epitome of the arrogant, brash, tom-
boy, hiding her fear behind cynical
remarks and jabs at Smitty.
Oddly it is the tension between Pat
and Smitty that creates a sort of dark
humor, as the two perform a female
rendition of the "odd couple," ex-
changing barbs from the beginning.
Ironically it is Smitty who de-
fends Pat the strongest, and is reluc-
tant to suspect her as the spy, despite
the evidence against Pat. Traister is
perfect as the cynical Smitty, who
refuses to allow anything to stand in
the way of her work, and runs
roughshod over the new volunteers.
Her gruff, tough-as-nails attitude
is her way of keeping them at a dis-
tance, so she can protect herself emo-
Pat, however, is cleared as Connie
(Lauren Odar) was revealed as the
Connie swung from an incapable,
over-sensitive push-over to a cold-
hearted and vindictive spy. Her trans-
formation from the hapless female
who couldn't stand the blood and

violence to ruthless killer, was almost
like seeing a split personality.
In the dramatic and bittersweet
ending, they are captured and killed,
by the Japanese. Each resigned to the
fate that awaits them as they walk out
the bunker doors.
The poignant and compelling na-
ture of Kenward's words would have
been enough to override any glaring
faults, however, they were accentu-
ated by the talented and provocative
performance of the entire cast.
The set was simple bunkbeds, a
table and chairs, yet the simplicity
and roughness of the set enhanced the
idea of a bunker, as well as the use of
the old brick walls that were part of
the old building. The lighting, sound
and effects were well timed and use-
ful in establishing action, and didn't
seem to miss a beat.
"Cry Havoc" was, in a way, a
study in the fear and demands of war,
explored from the female perspec-
tive, in which everything is turned
upside down. Ironically the things
that seemed impossible and scary to
the volunteer became the things they
clung to, seeking solidity in their topsy
turvey world.
It was the story of dynamic and
diverse people coming together in a
situation designed to destroy people's
sanity, and how individually they learn
to cope and survive.

Tupac Shakur's b-ball troupe gets set to hoop it up in "Above the Rim."
S leek 'Rm'scores ,points

Beastle Boys
Some Old Bullshit
Grand Royal / Capitol
Based on this compilation of
singles and EPs from the early '80s, it
doesn't seem at all likely that the
Beastie Boys would become one of
the most innovative, influential groups
of the past decade. Aside from
"Cookie Puss" - a prank phone call
set to a beat - there isn't even a
glimmer of talent on any of "Some
Old Bullshit."
Despite the fact that it isn't really
all that offensive or funny, "Cookie
Puss" does show the beginning of
their path to glory. "Pollywog Stew,"
on the other hand, is a limp 10-song
hardcore punk EP that is shockingly
dull and inept; "Check Your Head"'s
"Time for Living" demolishes any of
these tracks. At least the Beasties
,0were considerate enough to title the
album accurately; wait for the new
"Ill Condition," set for release in May.
-- Tom Erlewine

Iron Butterfly
Heavy & Metamorphosis
Ah, musical beauty has been re-
mastered and reissued. Iron
Butterfly's first and third albums are
finally available on compact disc.
While famous for their hit "In A
Goddadavida," the Butterfly's other
work has for the most part been drift-
ing into obscurity because of unavail-
ability. But no longer.
"Heavy" is more than 26 years
old, but remains accessible. One could
hardly listen to the intonations of the
chorus of "Gentle as it May Seem"
("Come here woman") without being
reminded of Scorpion from Mortal
And the theme of police brutality
in "You Can't Win" is as '90s as Ice-
T. Of course, the album has its own
merits as well. The bass-heavy rock
'n' roll with melodies is purely from
the past, but has lost nothing with the
passage of time.

And you can't find any band today
that uses a keyboard nearly as well as
the Butterfly uses an organ on
"Metamorphosis" is a much mel-
lower album than "Heavy," and it is
disquieting to listen to the two con-
secutively. Where "Heavy" was very
'60s, this album has the taint of the
'70s, but plays surprisingly well. It is
a kind of mellow evolution for the
band, as the album title indicates.
As for the remastering, the CD is
louder than the vinyl version. The
percussion is crisper, and there is less
time between songs.
Unfortunately, the bass is less natu-
ral sounding and the art loses quite a
bit in shrinkage..
These negative aspects are mini-
mal, however, and the fact that you
get background notes about the al-
bums with the new CDs more than
outweighs them. Altogether a fine
- Ted Watts

There's a new trend developing in
Hollywood - a new genre to bring an
old genre into modern times. Although
the classical Western isn't dead and
gone (not judging by the success of
Above the Rim
Written by Barry Michael Cooper &
Jeff Pollack; directed by Jeff Pollack;
with Duane Martin, Leon, Tupac
Shakur and Marlon Wayans.
such films as "Tombstone,"
"Unforgiven" and "Dances With
Wolves" at least), it has donated many
of its conventions to the burgeoning
genre I like to call the 'Sports Epic.'
Sports films are nothing new, ei-
ther, but they are enjoying a growth
right now, led by basketball films like
"Blue Chips" and "White Men Can't
Jump" and including football greats
like "The Program" and "Rudy." Just
like the Western,the sports film makes
things easy for the audience, diluting
complicated gray areas of character
motivation into the simple proposi-
tion of 'us against them' and in the
less introspective of those films, the
good guys always win.
The protagonist might be torn be-
tween the easy route to success and
the hard road to honor, but they al-
most always choose that hard road. In
"Above the Rim," Duane Martin (who
played a season for the New York

Knicks) is Kyle, a young star on the
Monarch High School basketball team
who wants to be a star at the expense
of his team spirit.
. The film centers around the Shoot
Out basketball tournament, a salute to
the Rucker tournaments started in real
life New York. Kyle is torn between
playing on his high school's entry in
the tournament, The Bombers, and
playing for the neighborhood drug
dealer's team, The Birdmen. Birdie
(Tupac Shakur), the aforementioned
drug dealer, tempts Kyle with money,
loose women and liquor in the hopes
of securing his help in the Shoot Out.
Wrapped around this rather obvi-
ous plot is a pedantic morality tale
designed to make Kyle's own story
more poignant. Shep (played by Leon)
is the tried-and-true reflection char-
acter. An ex-high school basketball
star who feels responsible for the death
of his best friend and has never played
basketball since, taking a job as a
security guard instead.
TonyaPinkins's Mailika is a strong
and determined woman who knows
exactly what she wants. When Shep
asks her if she ever dreams about
running away, even if it's only her
head that does the running, she gives
him an unequivocal no. The only ques-

tion raised by the strong-armed ma-
triarch convention in these kinds of
films is where do all these admirable
mothers come from, when all of the
other women are portrayed as unin-
telligent and overly promiscuous?
Tupac Shakur plays Birdie with
slick style and a serial killer's know-
ing leer. His cocky attitude is high-
lighted by the knife scar running down
one side of his face. Marlon Wayans
also appears in the film as Bugaloo, a
character which was probably con-
ceived as merely comic relief, but
into which Wayans manages to inject
some fresh insights. Bernie Mae (seen
in "House Party 3" and "Mo' Money")
makes an appearance as a homeless
man named Flip who loses his life at
the end of Birdie's razor blade, and
Eric Nies (the buff guy from the first
"Real World" who now hosts MTV's
"The Grind") play Montrose, who
hardly has any lines so we don't have
to see Eric try to act! Yeah!
With its sleek production values,
black-clad smooth-talking villains and
killer basketball footage, "Above the
Rim" is a film definitely worth wast-
ing your time on. If you have time to
waste, that is.
ABOVE THE RIM is now playing at

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The Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives
is looking for energetic, reliable, and highly
motivated students for its:
1994 King/Chavez/Parks
Career Exploration Summer
Institutes Program
Mid-June g August,1994
Program Description: Students hired will supervise
high school students from southeast Michigan who reside on
campus for one week visits, during which times these 10th
and 11th graders will attend workshops, presentations, mini-
lectures, field trips, etc. The emphasis is on the student
exploration of his or her career interest.

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