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April 04, 1995 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-04-04

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 4, 1995

Trippy 'Tempest' a real treasure

By Sheila Wisely
For the Daily
When director Pete Fletcher called
his production of "The Tempest"
trippy, he wasn't joking. My guess is,
the Arena Theatre hadn't seen much
black light and Saran Wrap before
this weekend. But although the imagi-
nation was asked to stretch a bit fur-
ther than usual in Shakespeare, it all
somehow seemed to work.
What made the production so
successful was the fact that no ex-
pense was spared. The elaborate set
design brought the viewers com-
fortably into the realm of the un-
Fletcher's vision
to merge music
with theater
added emotion to
the performance
in a way that
Shakespeare's
script could not.
known, making anything, and ev-
erything possible. The set allowed
the cast to get away with more than
they could have in an "ordinary"
setting, and they used that to the

fullest.
Being in the realm of the un-
known also made the non-human (or
sub-human) characters the most in-
teresting. Ariel (Nathalie Peterson)
and Caliban (Jaffe M.) were definite
show stealers for portraying very well

The Tempest
Arena Theatre
March 31, 1995

the characters with no qualifyingly
human limits. Peterson, although
much sexier than Shakespeare had
probably intended, gave a perfor-
mance which not only charmed the
audience, but accomplished the dif-
ficult task of expressing Ariel's faith-
ful servitude and mischief-loving per-
sonality. Jaffe M. not only became
his character, but quite obviously
loved every minute of it, and caused
the audience to love every minute of
him in return.
Although overall an excellent pro-
duction, there were a few ambi-
tious attempts that didn't quite
work. At times, the symbolism was
a bit heavy-handed. For example,
the striking resemblance that
Prospero had to Darth Vader, or
Caliban's lead pipe through the tele-

vision set, may have added to the
entertainment value, but felt more
contrived than thought-provoking,
when subtlety might have been bet-
ter.
Also, the lighting effects added
much to certain parts of the show, but
the indirectness got a bit annoying
when the characters faces were in the
dark, or when an awkwardly placed
spotlight blinded the viewers.
Aside from these few flaws, and
lists of other reasons why this play
should not have worked, it did.
Fletcher's vision to merge music with
theater added a modern twist to the
play, but didn't take away from the
classic plot. It added more emotion to
the performance and spoke to the
modern-day audience in a way that
Shakespeare's script could not.
The recorded songs were well
chosen, such as the Beastie Boys
"Sabotage" at Caliban, Stephano,
and Trinculo's plot against Prospero.
And the very well-played live mu-
sic provoked unease and anticipa-
tion in a way that Elton John's "Lion
King" songs could only aspire to.
The all-out attitude of Fletcher's
production in the acting, in the mu-
sic, and in the set made it the suc-
cess that it was. And for a produc-
tion that may have ol' Willie rolling
over in his grave, the modern-day
audience found this "Tempest" any-
thing but stormy.

Xplora 1- Peter
Gabriel's Secret World
Interplay
Windows CD-ROM
While artists like Prince and Bob
Dylan are releasing CD-ROMs that
delve into their musical archives and
their mystique, Peter Gabriel's.
"Xplora 1" gives a nice sweet taste of
the artist's music, but also explores
his love of world music, and also his
involvement with world politics.
"Xplora" not only entertains viewers
with Gabriel's breakthrough videos
and music, but attempts to educate
them about the world we live in, and
the music it makes.
Even though it concentrates
mainly on Gabriel's most recent al-
bum, "US," "Xplora" is still an ex-
ceptional experience in music and
video. Featuring the full videos for
"Steam," "Digging in the Dirt," "Kiss
That Frog," and a few others, the disc
is an excellent example of Gabriel's
innovation as a musician and also an
artist. Aside from the videos, "Xplora"
offers countless clips of Gabriel's
songs, and also pictures his albums
and other work from his career.
In one part of the experience, play-
ers can tour around Gabriel's Real
World Studio, watch him recording a
track, and even remix "Digging in the
Dirt."
"Xplora" also explains and informs

about Gabriel's WOMAD festival and
gives samples of different artists' mu-
sic. It also has a section which demon-
strates a number ofunusual instruments,
showing how they work, and live video
clips of them being played.
There is also a section which talks
about human rights violations, Am-
nesty International, and Witness, agroup
which distributes video cameras to
people in third world countries so they
can record injustices and expose them
to the world. As with the rest of the
experience, there are multiple provok-
ing video and music clips to supple-
ment the demonstrations.
The video and sound quality of the
disc is fairly good, and there is defi-
nitely lots of great material packed
tightly into "Xplora." Gabriel's work
has always gone beyond the music it-
self, typically into his awesome com-
puter generated videos. But now,
"Xplora" gives Gabriel his computer-
ized heyday, and lets him develop an
excellent and innovative experience,
giving us a look into Peter Gabriel's
own secret world.
- Brian A. Gnatt
MTV's Club Dead
Viacom New Media
PC CD-ROM
The same people who revolution-
ized television with their twisty camera
work and in-your-face personalities
havejumped head first into the world of
multimedia. Yes, MTV's first CD-
ROM, "MTV'sClubDead," is themost
eccentric CD-ROM ever produced,
complete with wacked out characters,
surreal images, and a plot that would
make any sci-fi nut disavow "Star Trek."
"Club Dead" is set somewhere in
the future, with cyberplummer Sam
Frost (that's you) trying to solve a string
of murders at a posh resort, where the
rich and famous go to explore the
nation's most intense synthetic experi-
ence, virtual reality. You have four
days to solve the murdercases, and after
that, well, you're dead too. You have to
find the clues and evidence to solve the
murders by talking with guests and
workers at the resort, and also by look-
ing forclues around the luxurious com-
plex.
As must be the base theory behind

MTV, almost everything in the game is
done for you. The characters automati-
cally say the lines to you, and don't
require any speaking or selection to
interact with the player. Through clips
of entirely actual video and real actors,
"Club Dead" is far beyond most of its:
other role playing competitors, and cre-
ates a sense of intrigue and also fright,
into players' minds.
The graphics are pretty much amaz-0
ing, and also use futuristic symbols and
gadgets like visual mail, and Tele-FX,
afuturistic fax-likemachinewhichsends
items in the form of virtual images to
other characters in the game. The nu-
merous video clips are exciting and
plentiful, but sometimes are especially
dark or blurry. Sometimes the sound
has a similar problem, but for the most
part it is pretty accurate. As far as music
goes, this is an MTV production, so
"Club Dead" does have ;i loud and
repetitious soundtrack. However, it is
possible to turn off just the music, and
keep all the other vivid sound effects
on.
"Club Dead" is a very innovative
game, and is challenging and even dif-
ficult at times. Nevertheless, it is de-;
signed very well, and doesn't have an*
noying quirks like repeating charac-
ters' lines like most other CD-ROM
role players do. The hardest thing to get
used to, and also the game's biggest
plus, is the way the video clips and all
the other features are incorporated and
used to create a strong and innovative
game.
-Brian A. Gnatt

Look at Gabriel's secret world.

II

great scores....
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Date: Thursday, April 6, 1995
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Kaplan Educational Center
337 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor
CALL 1-800-KAP-TEST
to reserve a seat
get a higher score
KAPLAN
Summer Housing
in New York Ci

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