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April 14, 1994 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-04-14

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Roth's life in the theater

By ROBIN BARRY
Not every class on campus is host
to monotone lecturers with lots of
book smarts and little life experience.
In fact, some students, potential play-
wrights in particular, benefit from the
tangible, real world experiences of
professor Ari Roth.
Aside from teaching two
playwriting courses at the University
in the English department, Roth is
also an experienced playwright. Stu-
dents in his introductory playwriting
course (English 227) recently had the
pleasure of seeing a performance of
one of Roth's own pieces, "Born
Guilty" which opened in Chicago on
March 10.
"I think it let them see their teacher
isn't a fraud," Roth said.
Roth, who was required to speak
at the theater on the evening of March
14, opted to take the class along in-
stead of rushing out early. After some-
how getting his hands on 10 compli-
mentary tickets, Roth, Teaching As-
sistant Todd McKinney and eight stu-
dents piled into a couple of cars and
took off for the open road.
"There's something very exciting
about driving 500 miles to see a show,"
Roth explained. "You would never

drive 500 miles to see a movie. You'd
just rent it and fall asleep on the
couch."
"I've never done anything like that
before," said Monique McCartha, one
of his students. "All the way there we
talked and told bad jokes. It was great."
'There's something
very exciting about
driving 500 miles to
see a show.'
- Ari Roth, professor
and playwright
Roth's play is based on the novel
"Born Guilty" by Peter Sichrovsky.
A reporter named Peter conducts case
studies on a number of Germans who
are the children of Nazis. Through
these interviews Peter not only learns
about their history but he is forced to
face his own family's past.
Roth said he was originally com-
missioned to write the play in 1990 by
the Arena Stage founding director,
Zelda Fichandler. Another play he'd
written, "Giant Shadows," had helped
get him the gig.

"I'd written about children of the
Holocaust," he said. "My parents were
children during the war."
The production has met with great
success. There was even some talk
about moving it to a larger theater.
Nevertheless, Roth had little idea what
reaction the play would receive from
his students.
"I didn't know what they would
get out of it," he said. "My fear was
that nothing could be less interesting
to a group of 20 year olds in Michi-
gan, especially if they're not Jewish."
His fears, however, turned out to
be unfounded. The reaction from the
class was very positive.
"It was one of the best plays I've
ever seen," said McCartha. "I think it
provided a very unbiased description
of the lives of Nazi children."
Richard Singer agreed. "It is a
very important piece of work. It asked
important questions, especially in
today's society," he said.
Before his recent move to Ann
Arbor, Roth flew out every year from
New York as he juggled the double
life of a playwright and professor.
Roth is an alumnus of the Univer-
sity, and the University hired him on
recommendation from his former
Marilyn Crispell Trio
Highlights from the 1992
American Tour
Music & Arts
Those wishing to acquaint them-
selves with the state of modern jazz
need look no further than Marilyn
Crispell. Crispell is an anomoly in her
field of music, partly due to her gen-
der, yet more so due to the facility
with which she has extended the para-
digms of jazz improvisation.
Working in an idiom that has
largely abandoned the chord progres-
sions and meters associated with "tra-
ditional jazz," Crispell's work ini-
tially seems to be a continuation of
the work of her acknowledged pri-
mary influence, Cecil Taylor. Listen-
ing to this fine set with Reggie Work-
man on bass and Gerry Hemingway
on percussion, it is evident that

Ad Roth might be the only professor at the U who takes his students on 500-mile field trips. Where do we sign up?

playwriting professor Milan &it.
"Milan got me my first job at Circle
Repertory in New York. When he left
the University to go to Yale, Milan
recommended me to the boArd," he
explained.
Roth views his job here as helping

students grow as playwrights. His
experience in the theater has meant a
great deal those taking his class.
"It's very valuable to get to learn
from someone who is immersed in
the world of theater," said Singer.
"He's notjust someone who's studied

it- he's someone who has lived it."
BORN GUILTY, a new play by An
Roth, runs through April 17 at the
Red Orchid Theatre (1531 North
Wells, Chicago). Tickets range from
$12.50 to $14.50. For more
information, call (312) 943-8722.

215 S. State
Ann Arbor
995-DEAD
Maps & Directions
Available to Courses
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Crispell has transgressed being a mere
Taylor disciple and has integrated a
keen melodic sense into her music in
a way Taylor has not.
This live compilation gives a good
sense of her broad range of capabili-
ties as a soloist and at playin notated
and improvised ensemble pi es. The
recording quality is highly inconsis-
tent, varying from the different ven-
ues from which the seven tracks are
taken, with Workman suffering from
a muddy tone on some tracks.
Hemingway is well recorded, for the
most part, and the interplay between
he and Crispell - notably sections
between marimba and piano -- has
reached a sublime level, due largely
to their decade long tenure as one half
of Anthony Braxton's longktanding
quartet. At times, it seems that Work-
man is somewhat of a third wheel,
though his anchoring on the'freer sec-

tions is needed.
Crispell is one of the major figures
currently working in improvised mu-
sic and this set stands as a fine intro-
duction to her work.
- Peter Madden
Richard Teitelbaum &
Carlos Zingaro
The Sea Between
Les Disques Victo
Fluidity is the name of the game
on this CD, which commingles
Zingaro's widely varied acoustic vio-
lin playing with Teitelbaum's array
of synthesized sounds. Their alter-
nate currents at times wash over each
other, whirlpool, and even peaceably
flow in unison. But these rare currents
carry you through strange and fantas-
tic places ... seldom glimpsed water-

ways that are only occasional eddies
in the currents of contemporary mu-
sic.
There's plenty of white water in
"The Sea Between." Not confined by
the channels of conventional music, *
the sea Zingaro and Teitelbaum ex-
plore is incredibly vast. The fickle
winds of improvisation provide the
momentum through these dense and
dramatically dissonant latitudes.
This CD reissue also creates an-
other "sea between." Added to the
LP's 1987 performances are three
recordings dating from this duo's 1992
performance in Zingaro's home, Por
tugal. Switching from his batterie of
electronic gadgetry used in 1987,
Teitelbaum relies almost exclusively
on his Macintosh digital processor in
1992. The result is a more contained,
See RECORDS, Page 9

PLAY A ROLE

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, 10

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