'Personal Jesus' looks
for love in the personals
By ROBERT YOON
The male peacock proudly struts its feathers to attract single peahens. The
female praying mantis devours the head of herpartner aftermating. The stink bug
emits a powerful scent, not unlike Aqua Velva, that essentially signals to other
stink bugs, "Hey, I'm easy." But perhaps the most bizarre mating ritual known
to the animal kingdom is one that involves newsprint and a lot of zesty adjectives.
I'm referring, of course, to the personal
b I know you've seen them. In fact,
Personal you probably have been tempted to call
one or two. Admit it. "SWM, 54, with
JeSUS good hygiene, earlobe fetish, and lov-
Perfornance Network able Ed Asner-like quality seeks fun-
November 18, 1994 loving SWF, 18-19, for long walks on
the beach of your choice. Must like
sponge cake and bubble baths."
But those of you who hate messing around with dirty little newspaper pages
can now enjoy the rich tasty goodness of the personals section while keeping your
fingers sparkling clean! You can thank local playwright Carol Shepherd, who has
collected thousands and thousands of those heartfelt zingers and fashioned them
'into convenient play form.
It's called "Personal Jesus," a "freshly-squeezed comedy about love, identity
and the personal ads." The result is an abstract and extremely offbeat look at
dating in the Coffeehouse Age. The play opens on an rhythmic note as stagehands
bop around arranging props on the empty stage, while Depeche Mode cranks out
the title song in the background. They create a copy room,just like one you'd find
in any office. That's where we meet
Kate (Lisel Gorell) and Leah (Laura 'Coy Drama Critic
Kate is a fortysomething corporate s,
*executive who hangs out in the copy young woman to share
room to avoid being in heroffice. Leah
26, is a "spazzed-out" office temp who quiet evenings of root
goes from one menial task to another, beer and macaroni and
foraging for billable hours. Leah has a .
boyfriend, but she is still looking fore h it ot
That Special Someone. To aid in her dog chunks. Preferably
search, she uses the company fax ma- Tabitha Soren.'
chine as a high-tech Chuck Woolery to
receive responses to a personal ad she
placed in the paper. Kate intercepts one of the transmissions and the two begin
bandying back and forth about how men and women meet, how women's lives
are changing, and how the "go-go-go-go!" working world of the'90s is changing
Leah is not persuaded by Kate's "oldster" '70s views, and meets each fax
suitor for a tete-a-tete at the local coffeeshop. There she is watched over by the
Good Housekeeping Fairies (Leigh-Ann Danner, Enid Walton and Leah Smith),
a trio of pixie-like, well-scrubbed 1950s TV moms who mop the floors, change
the scenery and literally remove any unsuitable suitors from the scene, all while
smiling cheerfully and wearing party dresses a la Donna Reed.
Leah meets a number of respondents to her ad, each one played by Adam
Carey. Carol Shephard's dialogue hits its fast-past and pop-injected best during
these encounters, where the players speak entirely in the glossy, fragmented,
adjective-dependent language of the personal ads. ("Great willingness to grow
.""Available on weekends ..." "Real zest for life ...")
In the course of "Personal Jesus," the dialogue is peppered with those catchy
little phrases that advertisers use in commercials to sell everything from toilet
cleansers to floor wax. But without overstating the message, Shepherd subtly
points out that people use the same phrases used to sell spring-time fresh
household products to sell themselves to potential soul-mates. Pretty deep.
Lemon-scented, but deep.
Audiences are encouraged to bring their favorite personal ad with them, or to
*reate their own, for a chance to win fabulous prizes. Here's mine: "Coy Drama
Critic seeking vivacious, young woman to share quiet evenings of root beer and
macaroni and cheese with little hot dog chunks. Preferably Tabitha Soren."
Now as far as I know, only humans use personal ads, and only humans write
plays about using personal ads. But that is probably a good thing, because what
the heck does a stink bug know about fax machines?
PERSONAL JESUS will run through November 27 at Performance Network
(408 W. Washington). Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. on
Sunday. Tickets are $12 ($9 students). For more information, call 663-0681.
Gary Oldman and Danny Aiello star in "The Professional." But more importantly, notice how babe-a-licoius Gary Oldman is.
al 'eS pods langpleases none
Benson's attempt to meld American and French film styles fails
By PRASHANT TAMASKAR
It isn't very difficult to differenti-
ate between an American action film
and a European action film. The Euro-
Directed by Luc Besson;
with Jean Reno
pean movie focuses more on plot and
dialogue, and less on extreme violence
and huge explosions. However, this is
not the case with "The Professional,"
the latest work of French director Luc
Jean Reno stars as Leon, a clever
hitman residing in present-day New
York. Leon's neighbor is a drug dealer
with a family of five, including a young
daughter named Mathilda (Natalie
Portman). However, when the drug
dealer unsuccessfully attempts to de-
ceive a corrupt Drug Enforcement
Administration boss, played by Gary
Oldman, his family is massacred. That
is, everyone but Mathilda, who man-
ages to safely escape into Leon's apart-
ment. The hitman reluctantly agrees to
take care of the girl. Eventually, a fa-
ther-daughter type relationship devel-
ops, catalyzed by Mathilda's desire to
learn the tricks of the hitman trade in
hopes of one day being able to avenge
the death of her family.
One of the biggest problems of this
film is Besson's attempt to incorporate
his French style of filmmaking into an
American setting. The mixture does
not work. The movie ends up lacking
the excitement of most American ac-
Another problem of "The Profes-
sional"is the ploddingpace. Themovie
spends far too much time focusing on
the rather mundane relationship be-
tween Leon and Mathilda. Of course,
the hitman is originally indifferent to-
wards the young girl, but her cuteness
and passion for life eventually win him
The film is saved by an exciting and
somewhat unexpected conclusion.
Unfortunately, the rest of the movie
does not follow its example.
An interesting aspect of "The Pro-
fessional" is the presentation of the
main characters. They are far from
perfect. Yet, despite their questionable
values - such as Mathilda's desire to
murder the person who killed her fam-
ily - they are relatively likable. This
differs greatly from the people nor-
mally identified as "the good guys";
the corrupt police, led by Oldman's
Reno's quiet and efficient demeanor
serves him well in the movie. This,
along with his love of Gene Kelly mov-
ies, makes him endearing to the audi-
ence. Natalie Portman, as Mathilda, is
decent in her film debut, benefiting
from good character writing. However,
the finest performance is turned in by
Gary Oldman. He is revoltingly sadis-
tic and consequently a great villain. He
ends up being the perfect foil to Reno's
If Besson did not attempt to have
the best of both worlds by trying to
combine American and European film
styles the movie might have been more
successful. But instead of a movie that
pleases everybody, the final product is
a picture that isn't pleasing to anyone.
THE PROFESSIONAL is playing at
Ann Arbor 1 & 2 and Showcase.
$140 off pints ofj'
. Bells, Detroit &
338 S. State
if you think you're pregnant...
call us-we listen, we care.
PROBLEM PREGNANCY HELP
Any time, any day, 24 hours.
Serving Students since 1970.
A NEW SET OF COURSE OFFERINGS IN
MICROBIOLOGY AND IMMUNOLOGY
The Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Department of
Biology will continue with the offering of a new course series set in a
modular format. Each one-credit module will run for one third of a se-
mester. In many cases, multiple modules can be combined to make up a
traditional course. This format is designed to allow students to choose
from the various modules to create a program that best fits their educa-
tional objectives and interests.
Prerequisite-introductory microbiology or permission of course director
Module 1 (115-212, T-TH, 10-11:30)
Micro 607 - Microbial Pathogenesis I - This course will emphasize func-
tional and ecological aspects of microbial pathogenicity. The first series
of lectures will include a historical introduction to host/pathogen interac-
tions. The remainder of the series will be lectures on colonization mecha-
nisms and attributes of pathogens.
Module 11 (2/7-3/16, T-TH, 10-11:30)
Micro 608 - Microbial Pathogenesis II - This course will focus on molecu-
lar mechanisms underlying bacterial infectious disease. This module uses
INTENSIVE MCAJT PREPARATION