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November 17, 1994 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-11-17

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 17, 1994 - 11

Ann Arbor Civic Theatre - Jeff Zupan's reworked

'Love Letters' is
By JENN MCKEE
Without change and innovation in
the name of progress, theater, like all
other art forms, has the potential to
become stale and meaningless. How-

nothing to write home about

Love Letters
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
November 11, 1994
ever, in some instances, sticking with
the work's original intention - in its
purest and most traditional form - is
best.
This is the case with the Ann Arbor
Civic Theater's latest offering, "Love
Letters." The work was originally
penned for the purpose of reader's the-
ater presentations, but director Jeff
Zupan wanted to try it as a play.
The problem is that every word of
the play is in the form of correspon-
dence between two characters, Melissa
(Alice Fell) and Andy (Tom
Underwood). The two actors sitatdesks,
orally communicating what they are
writing to the other person.
This leaves the audience with noth-
ing to watch except facial expressions,
which become very repetitive as there
are limited variations. This complete
lack of action and movement leaves the
production visually boring, thus de-
feating the purpose of presenting it as a
play.
The two characters begin writing
each other when they are children, and
their relationship continues through
SHAW
Continued from page 8
All of this is set on Eduard
Kochergin's wonderfully versatile and
workable set, with some nifty bells and
whistles. Watch out for flying rose
bouquets, though.
Shaw's socio-political commentary
is not completely overshadowed. His
ideas still come through, however
masked in the characters' rhetoric.

letters for over 50years. Melissais rich
and from an unstable, broken family.
As a result, she becomes an alcoholic,
has a number of failed relationships
and marriages, etc. Her character is
made to be too cliche, however, by
dialogue that consists of "Pleeeeease,
Andy!!" Her sulking, self-obsessed
whining is insufferable. The character
does mature as the play progresses,
however, and she then becomes more
inviting to the audience.
Andy, on the other hand, is the
smart, hard-working, ambitious boy-
next-door turned Congressman. He -
of course - has a picture perfect fam-
ily and is mentally very together, un-
like Melissa. He is perpetually drawn
to her, though, until they have an affair
that threatens his marriage and his of-
fice.
Finally, Andy realizes that he can't
risk all that he has, all that he had
worked so hard for, in the name of this
affair. The increasingly unstable Mel-
issa, not surprisingly, dies in the end.
This results in the only physical move-
ment in the whole production, but -
ironically - it comes at a moment
when it is crucial for the actors to stay
in their respective space for dramatic
effect. As a result, the movement, at
the play's very climax, comes off as
being cheesy and sorely out of place.
After we hear of Melissa's death,
she gets up from her desk and hovers
around Andy's desk, commenting as
Andy writes a letter of condolence to
her mother. This ruins what should be
the most heightened moment in the
play. Instead of focussing on Andy's

remorse and pain, I found myselfcring-
ing uncomfortably, fixated on Melissa's
pacing and ill-placed commentary. It is
a disappointing conclusion, to say the
least, especially sinceUnderwoodgives
an impressively authentic, strong por-
trayal of his character. Unfortunately,
his performance is cheated in the end.
The lighting was ambiguous and
goofy. During certain more serious
moments, the lights dimmed on the
actors somewhat, but not significantly
enough to make a noticeable differ-
ence. It just looked as though there
might be a power surge in the building.
Overall, the director's goal was to
have stronger characterization by pre-
senting "Love Letters" as a play rather
than charactersjust reading letters. Both
characters have charming and funny
moments, and Zupan's goal was
achieved to a certain extent; it simply
lacked visual punch.
LOVE LETTERS is showing through
November 19 at the Ann Arbor Civic
Theater, (2275 Platt Road). Perfor-
mances are Thursday through
Saturday at 8p.m., and tickets are
$8. For ticket information, call (313)
971-AACT.

'Star Trek' makes
By PRASHANT TAMASKAR The key to the succ
This Friday the fantasies of legions of "Star Trek" fans to create new viewerst
will be fulfilled when "Star Trek: Generations" opens in generation of follower
theaters nationwide. For the first time the casts of the series appropriately en
original "Star Trek" and "The Next Generation" will voyage tion," which would e
together. Arguably, it is the most daring adventure in the syndicated drama ev
history of the extremely popular science fiction series. characters was led byI
When NBC aired a pilot in 1964 called "The Cage," it is the next commander o
safe to say that no one could have predicted the following thrilled fans for seven
that the show would garner. The original premise was to was a two-hour specia
document the travels through space of a group of beings did not mark the end of
aboard a spaceship named the USS Enterprise. The goal of Following in "Next G
the mostly human crew was to "boldly go where no man has series "Deep Space N
gone before." The cast of popular characters included Wil- sodes.
liam Shatner as the suave Captain James Tiberius Kirk, and The extent of ther
Leonard Nimoy as the pointy-eared Vulcan, Spock; Spock measured solely by th
was the only member of the crew who wasn't fully human. and the number of mov
The original cast completed a total of 79 one-hour episodes "Trekkies" have for th
throughout the mid- to late-'60s. However, "Star Trek" more apparent. Manyc
didn't begin to reach an enormous level of popularity until sible fact dealing with
its producers decided to manufacture it for the silver screen. conventions and festiv
When "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" was released in across the country. The
1979, it opened up new horizons for many viewers who had of "Star Trek" is fan
not watched the show during its first run. Combined with the dreamed of a moviel
syndication of the original episodes, the fan base of the series possible. And on Frida
increased greatly. Not only were new "Trekkies" created, they will witness the i
old ones were revived. Sequels to the first movie included Trek" film has ever g
"Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," "Star Trek III: The STAR TREK: GENER
Search for Spock," "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home," and Briarwood There
"Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" and "Star Trek VI: The tonight atShowcase. F
Undiscovered Country." in the List, page 12.

history
ess of "Star Trek" has been its ability
throughout the years. In 1987 a new
rs was created with a new television
ntitled "Star Trek: The Next Genera-
ventually become the most popular
er. The completely different set of
Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard,
of the Enterprise. "Next Generation"
years and 178 episodes. The finale
d that aired last season. However, this
fthe voyages of the Enterprise on TV.
reneration's" footsteps is the current
Mine," which already boasts 46 epi-
popularity of "Star Trek" cannot be
e number of programs on television
ies made. Rather, it is the passion that
eir beloved series that makes its fame
of them have memorized every pos-
"Star Trek." There are even yearly
vals that are attended by fans from all
only way to describe many followers
atical. It is these people, who have
like this, that make "Generations"
ay, their dreams will become reality as
film that boldly goes where no "Star
one before.
ATIONS opens Friday at Showcase
are four sneak preview showings
For exact times, see First Run Films

--I

There is plenty of soul-searching, ques-
tioning, proclamations, declamations
and defamation. But thank goodness
the comedy wins out in the end. Sorry,
G.B. - in the end, the actors have the
last laugh.
ARMS AND THE MAN plays tonight
and Saturday at 8p.m. and Sunday at
2 p.m. at the Power Center. Tickets
are $42, $38, $24 and $10 for
students. Call 764-2538. Look for a
review of THE FRONT PAGE in
tomorrow's arts pages.

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Investment Banking Department on:
January 19, 1995
(1- open/i closed)
University of Michigan Seniors interested
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a resume and cover letter no later than

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