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December 13, 1994 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-12-13

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 13, 1994 - 9

Director's misguided 'Measure for Measure'

Ivy
Lately
Seed Records
If Nico rose from the dead to front
Madder Rose, the combination just
might sound like Ivy. On this excel-
lent EP, the trio forges wildly sweet,
jangly pop tunes led by the breathy,
Parisian-accented vocals of lead
singer Dominique Durand. Backed
by the just-edgy-enough guitar of
Andy Chase and the subtle but effec-
tive bass of Adam Schlesinger,
Durand whispers lyrics like "You
don't need a lover / you need a spar-
ring partner / I guess I'm just a little
too sensitive for you."
Actually, Ivy's songs are just sen-
itive enough to avoid becoming
luffy. The bright melody of "I Hate
December" perfectly contrasts with
the song's somber lyrics. "Can't Even
Fake It" is a perfect, wonderfully
catchy pop song that will be all over
the airwaves if there is any justice in
the world.
With the release of their LP "Real-
istic" and the breezy "Lately," Ivy
looks like they're ready to put down
some serious roots.
- Jennifer Buckley
Spearhead
Home
Capitol Records
"Home"'is a relatively easy CD to
read, and Spearhead is no less easy an
artist to understand. He isn't the most
exciting rapper around, but he has a
very interesting, yet unrefined, Ar-
ested Development sound. Many
songs in "Home," like "People in tha
Middle" and "Love is da Shit," are
alright as far as rap songs go. None of
the songs are exciting, but they are all
good. The fact is that Spearhead has
potential, but he doesn't take his
unique rap sounds as far as they can
go. Many of his lyrics are somewhat
generic-sounding.
"Home" does have some powerful
songs, though, like "Positive," which dis-
cusses STD's whose ending will strike a
chord. In "Of Course You Can" Spear-
head kicks knowledge for your ass; you
must hear him to believe him.
For all its more or less uninterest-
ing parts, "Home" does hint at some
deeper potential lying within Spear-
head. Something tells me that he will
mprove and come back doper than
ver. Until then, westill have "Home,"
not a bad piece of work at all.
- Eugene Bowen
The House Band
Another Setting
Green Linnet
The House Band's latest release,
"Another Setting," comes on like a
subtle and beautiful piece of
t'orthumbria. It does not glow with
the obvious and gaudy presence of
diamonds but with the grace of a
stone polished by years and years of
contact with the ocean. For the most
part, the House Band keeps things
rather relaxed, never taking their tra-
ditional Celtic music to flying and
overwhelming extremes.
Thejigs and reels they have chosen
)Flow by gently on the strength of Ged
~Foley 's smallpipes, Roger Wilson's
fiddle and, on a few tracks, Chris
Parkinson's amazing harmonica work.
Their vocal numbers are equally sub-
lime. "William Taylor" is a traditional

tale of, as the best ballads are, love,
infidelity and murder, carried by
Wilson's vocals, Foley's mandolin and
a beautiful melody. "The Rocky Road
eto Dublin" and "The Setting" capture
'the hardships of emigrants trying des-
perately to start a new life.
This is Celtic music played with
great skill and devotion. The House
Band have traded the excitement of
incredibly fast reels for a more subtle
approach but they have not lost any of
the power or passion that first distin-
guished them.
- Dirk Schulze
Ieff Buckley
Grace
Columbia
It can't be easy, being Jeff Buckley.
As the son of dead but famous folkie
iTim Buckley, he has one very large
shadow to crawl out from under. Jeff,
however, accomplishes this admirably
with "Grace." Blessed with astartlingly
pure, strong voice, Buckley throws to-
gether a wild variety of musical styles
on this excellent effort. He tries on
many identities during the course of
these ten tracks -lounge lizard, rocker
and, yes, sensitive folk singer - and
plays all of them to near perfection.
Buckley'spretty crooning opens the

By MELISSA ROSE BERNARDO
"Betrayal." Yes. "Seduction."
Well, in a way. "Justice." That de-
pends on who's defining it. Such are
the statements attached to the Hilberry
Theatre's production of "Measure for
;71!ffiMeasure
for Measure
Hilberry Theatre
December 10, 1994
Measure." Making his directorial de-
but at Wayne State University, De-
partment of Theatre chair James Tho-
mas has sought to highlight those
themes in his production of
Shakespeare's problematic comedy,
running in repertory through March
11. On few levels has he succeeded.
In Vienna, a well-liked but worn-
out Duke Vincentio (David Young)
decides to go on a trip, leaving in
command his apparently honorable
deputy, Angelo (Michael Hankins).
The Duke dons the guise of a friar,
and hangs out in Vienna spying on
everyone. Angelo's first act is to con-
demn to death one Claudio
(Bartholomew Philip Williams) for

getting his Juliet with child out of
wedlock. Angelo is only enforcing
the strict sexual statutes that have
been imposed on his syphilis-ridden
city, but no one believes Claudio need
die for this offence.
To appeal his case, Claudio sends
his sister Isabella, a soon-to-be nun
with a holier-than-thou attitude and a
"prone and speechless dialect / Such
as move men." Isabella pleads, and
Angelo is entranced by hereloquence.
Angelo offers to spare Claudio, if
Isabella will yield her virginity.
The situation is literally overflow-
ing with dramatic possibilities, which
Shakespeare manages to take advan-
tage of and, with his usual bag of
tricks (disguises, bed-switching and
eavesdropping), right everyone's
wrongs, punish the guilty and marry
off the Duke and Isabella.
However, there is something about
the play's resolution that leaves an un-
easy feeling. When the Duke asks for
Isabella's hand, is he not as guilty as
Angelo? Since the Duke orchestrated
this brilliant denouement- saving her
brother's life - is Isabella not bound to
him, and does he not take advantage of
her position? And how does Isabella -
who has spent the better part of the
previous four acts on a soapbox, pro-

claiming her maidenhood-relinquish
her ideals so easily?
Who knows, and this production
offers no clues whatsoever. In his pro-
gram notes, Thomas has offered a page
of notable quotables, the sources of
which range from theBible to Alexander
Pope to George Bernard Shaw. "And
thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go
for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth,
hand for hand, foot for foot"
(Deuteronomy:19-21). Butthen,"ButI
say untoyouThatyeresistnotevil: But
whosoever shall smite thee on thy right
cheek, turn to him the other one also"
(Matthew 5:38-39). Clearly Thomas
wishes to give audience to both view-
points, but his direction suggests a pre-
dilection for neither.
Performances range from medio-
cre to quite fine. Jan Waldron endows
Isabella with her characteristic spunk
and resolute (though she has a few
puzzling outbursts). As Claudio,
Bartholomew Philip Williams has fi-
nally come to the forefront of the
Hilberry, a place he rightly deserves.
Also notable are Christian Casper as
the Provost and James Michael Nolan
as Pompey.
Most puzzling, however, are the
performances of the two male leads,
Angelo and Duke Vincentio. David
Young plays the Duke with a big heart
and a marvelous comic flair. His Duke
is charmingly inept in his guise of a
friar, and grandly righteous as a ruler.
Taking a back seat to Young's
Duke, Michael Hankins completely
underplays the role of Angelo. This
must be a direction from Thomas; no
actor would make Angelo so impo-
tent, and Hankins is capable of so
much more. He plays Angelo slightly
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pathetic and only a little smarmy -
not close enough to either to be be-
lievable, let alone exciting. Angelo's
character provides most of the thrust
of "Measure," and downplaying the
role only deprives the play of the
"seduction," "betrayal" and "justice"
Thomas was supposedly after.
Thomas also does not capitalize on
some of the bawdier elements of the
play. For example, the scene in which
Isabella first approaches Angelo:
Isabella is prodded by Lucio, a friend of
Claudio's. Lucio essentially acts as a
pimp, giving her subtle encouragement
laced with sexual innuendo.
"Kneel down before him, hang upon
his gown," Lucio commands. "You are
too cold," he continually repeats. "Ay,
touch him, there's the vein.""O,tohim,
to him wench! He will relent. / He's
coming; I perceive't." All these are
lines meant to be read in as many deli-
cious ways as possible, and they are
delivered flatly by an otherwise engag-
ing Dwight Tolar.
Missed opportunities like these
make "Measure" unexciting where it
should be exciting. The scenes be-
tween Angelo and Isabella are disap-

pointingly flaccid, utterly devoid of
any sexual tension. You'll likely find
better sexual harassment scenes be-
tween Michael Douglas and Demi
Moore in "Disclosure."
Some scenes are cleverly staged,
such as making the scene in Mistress
Overdone's an orgy between three
men and two women. But some scenes
are not so well done, such as the
opening scene.
John Woodland's costumes don't
help: the men's are fine for the most
part (Angelo's dark glasses are a nice
touch), but nix on Claudio and Juliet's
adulterer robes with the big red "A."
Young's performance as the Duke
does a lot for this production, however,
he has so much stage time one is tempted
to overlook Thomas' glaring directo-
rial misconceptions. But "Measure" is
so loaded with potential that Thomas'
misguidedness is unforgivable. "Mea-
sure" still provokes, but as Shakespeare
said in another play, it provoketh the
desire but takes away the performance.
MEASURE-FOR MEASURE risin
repertory through March II at the
Hilberry Theatre in Detroit. Tickers
are $9-$16. Call (313) 577-2972.

............... ...

----7

Michael Hankins and Jan Waldron in the Hilbery's "Measure for Measure."

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