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October 21, 1994 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-10-21

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'Glass Menagerie' sparkles
Heavy emphasis on illusion re-examines a classic

Tennessee Williams wrote in his
production notes for "The Glass Me-
nagerie" that the play "can be pre-
sented with unusual freedom of con-

W. Glass!
Power Center
October 21, 1994
vention." What he should have said
was, "Welcome to my wacky world
of illusion!" Or at least that is how the
Department of Theatre and Drama
interpreted it with their abstract but
effective presentation of the timeless
American classic.
Last night at the Power Center,
illusion played a key role in retelling
the story of the Wingfields, a dys-
functional family mired in broken
dreams and unmet expectations. As
the play opens, we meet Tom

Wingfield (Joshua Funk), an angry
and cynical young man who dreams
of being a musician, but is brought
down by two things: a dead-end job at
a shoe warehouse, and his nightmar-
ish, nagging mother Amanda (Kate
Guyton), a woman stuck in the gentil-
ity of the Old South. Tom's sister,
Laura (Rebecca Winston), has a dis-
ability that causes her to limp, and
also causes her to shut herself away
from the outside world. She finds her
only comfort in a collection of glass
animals - creatures slightly less deli-
cate than Laura herself. The three live
together in a seedy St. Louis tenement
under the gloating eyes of the father,
who left the family some years ago
and now only exists through a huge
portrait that hangs in the room. He
was "a telephone man who fell in love
with long distance."
Director Phillip Kerr places a great
deal of emphasis on illusion, because
the events on stage aren't really hap-
pening. Instead, it is "truth in the
pleasant disguise of illusion," as Tom
states is. The story is a memory play,

told through Tom's recollections.
In keeping with Williams' intent
to move beyond realism, Kerr em-
ploys a number of creative devices to
distance the audience from the stage
and create a feeling of illusion. The
Wingfield home is essentially a col-
lection of slanted floors and winding
walkways. There is a floating rocking
chair and Victrola which serve as
constant and painful reminders of the
wayward father. And plenty of smoke.
The stage is awash with smoke, which
emphasizes the hazy world of
The most innovative addition to
retelling of Williams' first critical
success is an ensemble cast that wan-
ders the stage as a reflection of the
events of the play. The ensemble
shows the Wingfield's surrqipndings:
wandering hookers, a blind beggar -
a stark contrast to Amanda's delu-
sional world of Southern charm. The
only emissary from reality in "The
Glass Menagerie" is the much-antici-
pated gentleman caller (Paul Molnar).
Molnar delivers a very strong perfor-

Joshua Funk and Kate Guyton are Tom and Amanda in "The Glass Menagerie,"playing through Sunday at Power.
mance as Jim, a potential suitor for sumably members of Tom's band. T ELGTASS MENAGERIE plays
Laura. This is a production heavily draped tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. and
Another unique highlight of the in illusion. In a sense, it's Tennessee Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Power
production was the original music Williams meets Doug Henning. This Center. Tickets are $16, $12 ($6
performed by Ward Beauchamp, An- is an avant-garde "Menagerie," but students) at the League Ticket
drew Gorney, and James Kerr, pre- remains faithful to Williams' intent. Office. Call 764-0450.

Laughs come after the haif of 'Comedy/Nightmare'

The Hilberry has finally decided to
lighten up. To begin their 1994-95 sea-
son - which includes such heavy-
weights as "Six Degrees of Separa-
tion," "Mrs. Warren's Profession" and
"The Thebans" -- they have chosen
two one-act comedies: Christopher
Durang' s "The Actor'sNightmare" and
Peter Shaffer's "Black Comedy." And
believe you me, the laughs do flow --
but not as steadily as the company no
dnnht wished.

"The Actor's Nightmare" is a
parody to end all parodies, written by
the master himself, ChristopherDurang.
An accountant named George Spelvin
(Troy Scarborough) wakes up and sud-
denly finds himself stuck in these plays
.which he doesn't know. Everyone rec-
ognizes him, but he recognizes no one.
The premise is unique and seemingly
actor-proof. Apparently it isn't.
Despite a good effort by company
newcomerTroy Scarborough, the piece
just doesn't move like it should.

"Actor's Nightmare" is steady laughs,
and it moves with standard Durang
lightning speed. This production
dragged with Shavian slowness. How-
ever, Scarborough has a few nice mo-
ments (though scattered), and could be

ack Comedy
The Actor's
Hilberry Theatre
October 7, 1994

a promising addition to the company.
After intermission, however, the
pace quickens and the laughs pour down
like rain. In "Black Comedy," Brindsley
(Peter Young), a young artist, is await-
ing the arrival of his future father-in-
law (David Orley) and the near-deaf
German curator/millionaire
Bamberger. However, a power failure
in the opening minutes sends Brindsley
and his fiance Carol (Jan Waldron) into
a frenzy. Combine this with a pack of
lies and stolen antique furniture and
you have a fiasco.
Since the bulk of the play's action
supposedly takes place in the dark, full
stage lights represent darkness and a
dark stage signifies light. A very cute,
functional and pleasantly surprising
David Young plays the frustrated
Brindsley to perfection; with his prat-
falls, slips and general quirks, he is
always a delight to watch (or not watch,
as the case may be). We also witness
some promising debuts, most notably
David Orley as Colonel Melkett and
Michael Hankins and HaroldGorringe,
Brindsley's neighbor and sometime
lover. Finishing off the well-rounded
cast is the ever-delightful Lynnae
Lehfeldt as the voluptuous trouble-
maker Clea.
The combination of strong veterans
with promising newcomers makes
"Black Comedy" run like a Rolex,
smooth, subtle and strong. (You could
say that "Actor's Nightmare" runs like
afake Rolex, erratic, unpredictable and
weak.) Though you may not get twice
the laughs for your money, if it's com-
edy you want, it's comedy you'll get. If
you don't mind waiting until after in-
NIGHTMARE runs in repertory
through December 1 at the Hilberry
Theatre on Wayne State University's
campus. Tickets range from $9 to
$16. Call (313) 577-2972.

Rick Moranis and Ed O'Neill face off in "Little Giants." What's Ed doing off of his couch?

'Little Giants' pro
A new trend in the movie industry lately seems to be an
abundance of sports films catering to a young audience. The
last few years
have seen "The
Mighty Ducks,"
"Little Big
League" and
Directed by Duwayne "Rookie of the
Dunham; with Rick Year," among
others. Much in
B -Moranis and the same tradition
Ed O' Neill is "Little Giants."
Ed O' Neill is
Kevin O' Shea, a Heisman Trophy winner and civic treasure
of the small town of Urbania, Ohio. He is named by the
mayor to coach the city's new Pop Warner junior football
team. However, Kevin doesn't believe in allowing everyone
to play, choosing only the most talented boys. The key word
here is boys, as Kevin doesn't select Urbania's best young
player Becky "The Icebox" O' Shea (Shawna Waldron),
who also happens to be his niece. Disappointed, Becky
convinces her father Danny (Moranis) to coach a team of
players cut from the first squad to challenge their legitimacy.
Fueling Danny has a desire to beat his heralded older brother
at his own game. In the end, everyone learns lessons about
the game of life.
Despite an extremely predictable plot, the movie is
rather entertaining. Although there is a lot of fourth-grade

duce big laughs
humor, many of the jokes are creative and amusing for all
ages. There are also a number of little subplots that enhance
the movie. The finale surprises absolutely no one, but is still
fun to watch. As long as you remember that "Little Giants"
is intended for a young age group you should find it
somewhat enjoyable.
O'Neill is convincing as the former star football player
who is the pride and joy of Urbania. Although he is the
antagonist of the film, we see that he isn't a bad guy; he does
care a lot about his niece and brother. Moranis is the perfect
younger, supposedly inferior sibling. While he isn't as
flashy or nearly as successful as Kevin, he has many
qualities that make him superior in the eyes of the viewer.
However, the true stars of this movie are all of the actors who
aren't veterans of the silver screen: namely, the kids and the
football players. The best thing about children in movies is
that they usually don't overact and thus are pretty believable.
This is certainly true of "Little Giants" as none of them seem
to be stretching to play their roles.
Cameos are made by football greats Emitt Smith, Bruce*
Smith, Tim Brown, and Steve Emtman. The interaction of
these behemoths with the small children is rather hilarious.
But the top guest star is sports announcer John Madden, the
main reason being that he plays himself, which is engaging
enough as it is.
Too many movies that cater to young audiences limit
themselves to the point that they alienate most other viewers.
Thankfully, "Little Giants" does not.
L= TLE GIANTS is playing at Showcase.

Fortunately, the laughs pick up during this scene from "Black Comedy."

For students interested in learning
more about careers in social work.
Professors, administrators and
students will speak on career op-
portunities in social work and
University of Michigan degree
Master of Social Work
Ph.D. in Social Work and Social Science
/""d uWW TII'

Melissa Ethendge proves she can rock


Okay, okay, so Melissa Etheridge
isn't exactly a paragon of all things
cool andindie in the rockworld. Maybe

greeted her already sweaty audience
with an energetic "If I Only Wanted
To," which led gracefully into "No
Souvenirs," off 1989's "Brave and
Instead of sticking to the some-
times overly glossy songs of "Yes I
Am," Etheridge dove into the older,
rawer material which has earned her
comparisons to both Janis Joplin and
fellow adult-contemporary darling John
(Yes I Am Cougar) Mellencamp. In-
deed, her bluesy, mumbling vocals on

low hanging lamp, the singer shared
stories of her days playing California
bars ("And they weren't coffeehouses;
they were BARS, okay?").
Etheridge's band then rejoined her
for the wise yet angry coming-of-age
story "Silent Legacy," the solemn, beau-
tiful "Dance Without Sleeping," and
the anthemic "All-American Girl."
Shanks and Etheridge traded licks in a
guitar duel that was, well, unusually
sexy, considering her status as a proudly
out lesbian. The singer ended the game

Hill Auditorium
October 19, 1994

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