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January 17, 1995 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-01-17

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Players capture King's legacy

The brothers of the Epsilon Chapter
of Alpha Phi AlphaFraternity, Inc. hold
annual events honoring the late Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., also a member
of the oldest historically Black frater-
nity in America. This year's event was
"Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Man

Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr.:
A Man and His
January 15, 1995
Mendelssohn Theater

the Tallahachee River.
When Emmett's body was returned,
Mamie demanded an open-casket fu-
neral so all could look upon what
racists had done to her son. Over 600,000
spectators viewed the body over five
days; one in five viewers had to be led
from the gruesome hideousness before
them. Emmett Till's murder is one of
the main impetuses of the Civil Rights
Movement. His name lives on in Chi-
cago where a street was dedicated to
him in 1991.
Mamie, however, wasn't satisfied,
but she didn't know what else to do.
"Yet, as I reflected across the years, I
knew that there was a God who holds
everything in his hands," she said. His
answer came to Mamie almost two
decades later.
"I felt that if Black children should
have to memorize the Gettysburg Ad-
dress in school, why not have them
memorize and present Martin Luther
King, Jr.'s speeches as well." Today,
her third generation of Emmett Till
Players, ages five to 17, travel the coun-
try presenting MLK speeches.
This treat greeted those at the
fraternity's event. The 10 children and
young adults who spoke were power-
ful, inspirational orators whose rendi-

tions of the late Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr.'s speeches mimic not only his words,
but his actions, his style and - most
importantly - his spirit.
University student Patrice Petway
began the event with her a capella ver-
sion of "Peace on Earth." From there,
the audience was dazzled by the shouts,
stomps and oratorical beauty of the
Emmett Till Players.Lynette Stroud
proved that this was to be no ordinary
afternoon of hum-drum speeches as she
presented her fellow EmmettTill speak-
ers with a set of rousing introductions
which made her seem much more ma-
ture than 10 years old.
Then the speeches began.
Excerpts and whole speeches were
shouted, prayed and stamped into the
minds of the audience by the youths as
they had been by MLK himself only a
few decades ago. These speeches in-
cluded "The Dilemma and the Chal-
lenge" (Lloyd Colar, 14), "Be the Best
of Whatever You Are" (Samantha
Smith, 6), "The Bad Check" (Ariel
Mitchell, 10) and King's most well-
known speech, "IHaveaDream" (James
C. Miller, 5, and Ryan Newsome, 17).
And the speeches weren't all. Play-
ers Joseph Hardin, 15, and Shenedrea
Goshay, 17, filled Mendelssohn The-

and His Dreams," performed by the
Emmett Till Players.
Mamie Till-Mobley is the founder
of the Emmett Till Players, and al-
though it was formed in 1973, the rea-
son behind itis from1955. That yearher
14 year-old son, while visiting his great-
aunt and uncle in Money, Mississippi,
was kidnapped by two white males for
supposedly winking at a white store
clerk. He was lynched and thrown into

Mamie Till-Mobley speaks as Player Joseph Hardin holds a sign bearing the name of her lynched son.'ooDbuavid vaia

ater with their skilled vocals. Hardin's
performances of "His Eye Is on the
Sparrow" and "I'll Rise Again" show
that he is the next Tevin Campbell.
Goshay's "Precious Lord" was no less
"The Emmett Till Performers really
brought the spirit of the Dr. King cel-
ebration with them," said fraternity

brother and University alumnus Peter
Ellis. "I think that is something the
community needs."
The fraternity's tribute chairman,
Felman Malveaux, Jr., hopes that this
program "will allow people on campus
to take something from it and apply it to
their personal lives."
Although short of a capacity crowd,

for the 250 individuals who attended,
"Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Man
and His Dreams" will be an unforget-
table celebration for sometime to come.
It is the other tens of thousands of
University students who should be hit-
ting themselves over the head for deny-
ing themselves such an amazing, uplift-
ing, emotional experience.

'Salmonberries' takes a fresh look

AThe occasional snapshot and short
film format of "Salmonberries" gives

Salmon berries
Directed by Percy Adlon
with k.d. Lang
director Percy Adlon the freedom to
experiment. As the film is less commer-
cial, it tends to be more expressive.
At its core, "Salmonberries" con-
cerns itself with the story of Kotzebue
(k.d. Lang), who struggles to find her
roots despite years of neglect and the
lonesome path on which she travels. In
Kotzebue's journeys, she overcomes
her self-alienation to bestow upon an-
other woman, Roswitha (Rosel Zech),
her heart and soul.
Their selfless, frequently intimate

friendship portrays the probability of a
non-sexual bond between two women
regardless of their painful pasts and the
irregular circumstances. In a scene
where Kotzebue brings Roswitha
salmon, shegives Kotzebue berries back
as a form of exchange. "Salmonber-
ries" stands to illustrate the camarade-
rie between the two females in this
small Alaskan town.
Visually, Adlon brings us from a
captivating snow scene in the town to a
dance in the choking dust. Here, his
camera meditates on barbed wire as
flashy green and red hues move in a
hypnotic fashion. Adlon's artistry lies
in the fact that his scenes are not clearly
areenactmentofanovel or amemory of
his own, but a subtle and moving com-
bination of the two.
These moments of subtlety are
filmed with grace and ease. Add to
them such magical coincidences as
books that open to the precise page their
readerneeds and thedelirious rush down

at relationships
a snow-covered path behind a sled. You
get a sense that, for all of its sadness, the
world is run by a slapstick locomotive.
Small towns have had a cinematic
resurgence lately, from comedies like
"Trapped In Paradise" to genre pictures
like "The Last Seduction," but most of
the towns have become generic back-
drops to the action.
Gone are David Lynch's "Twin
Peaks" visions of dark forces boiling
under a calm surface, replaced by nos-
talgia fora time when we could trust the
most uncanny of characters. "Salmon-
berries" still deserves respect because
the story is told in a nonlinear style,
making it all the more hypnotic.
Granted, "Salmonberries" may take
some patience, but no amount is too
much in order to appreciate its flexibil-
ity, its ingenuity, and the tremendous
skills of Lang and Adlon.
SALMONBERRIES is playing at the
Michigan Theater tonight at 9:00

When Harry Nederlander an-
nounced the closing of the Birming-
ham Theater this summer,

The World
Goes 'Round
Birmingham Theater
January 14, 1995

"Zorba" and (most recently) "Kiss of
the Spider Woman."
To put it plainly, there are three
reasons to see this show:
1. It possesses some of the best
music in the history of musical the-
ater: showstopping belt numbers, lyri-
cal ballads, wow-'em vamps, jazzy
torch songs and snappy upbeats.
2. It is stunningly well-performed
by a tightly-knit and wonderfully tal-
ented cast of five.
3. You are saying you want the
Birmingham to stay in business.
"The World Goes 'Round" is es-
sentially an evening of songs. It is
simply 27 songs from 13 musicals,
every last one intelligent, entertain-
ing and catchy. The title song (re-
prised every so often) provides a con-
nection, sending a general yet famil-
iar message: "Somebody loses, / And
somebody wins, / And one day it's
kicks / Then it's kicks in the shins. /
But the planet spins / And the world

Music and laughs make 'World' go round *

goes 'round and 'round."
Where showtunes are concerned,
Kander and Ebb's music boasts the
perfect combination of style with sub-
stance. They appeal to the masses -
"New York, New York" was famous
before the cream cheese commercial
- writing neither insipid (Andrew
Lloyd-Webber) nor overly sophisti A
cated (Stephen Sondheim) material.
Kander and Ebb's music benefits
from an easygoing and honest ap-
proach. Their no-frills style is cap-
tured brilliantly by this cast of five.
You'd think these five have been do-
ing Kander and Ebb together for years
to achieve comic timing and intricate
harmonies of this caliber. In fact, the
ensemble numbers are some of the*
best moments in the show. The five
are especially adept at frenzied, high-
octane songs like "Coffee in a Card-
board Cup," "Me and My Baby" and
"The Rink." But they can pull back in
See WORLD, Page 13

theatergoers in the tri-county areas
mourned the death of a faithful friend.
But Maybe This Time Produc-
tions and Daniel J. Castle are trying to
keep the tradition going. Now play-
ing the Birmingham is "The World
Goes 'Round," a lively musical revue
of the songs of John Kander and Fred
Ebb, the Broadway composer-lyricist
team best known for "Cabaret," "Chi-
cago," "New York, New York,"



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