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November 22, 1996 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-11-22

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Movie traps psy
by Kelly Xlntaris
Daily Arts Writer
"Caught" perverts a simple story of
an extramarital affair into ii darkly cyn-
*eal vision of the modemn Americaii
family. The film first compares an
Iunfaithful woman to a caught fish and
then traps you in its supposedly enlight-
ening social commentary. Once it layers
op the Oedipal themes too thick, you
jurst might long to escape this tangled-
Cu mess.
~The New Jersey-based drama centers
aman illicit relationship between Nick
Z9Arie Verveen), a scruffy transient, and
~tty (Maria Conchita Alonso), the
dde-aged wife of Joe. Betty, feeling
artable, welcomes Nick into their
lime and even persuades Joe (Edward
Jmes Olmos) to give him a job at their
safood store. Nick happens to be the
ame age as the couple's only child,.
~anny (Steven Schub).
Betty feels an explosive sexual
ttraction to Nick, whose mother
edward James Olmos, pictured in "Amer


The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 22, 1996 - 9

chosexual themes in its weak plot

passed away when he was very young.
Joe, a man who lives for his business, is
completely oblivious. When Betty tells
Nick, who stays in her son's bedroom,
that he's just "a kid." the film shifts into
Freudian mode. By the time Danny,
who until then appears on video-taped
messages to his
mom, gets
involved. the film R E
screams "Look, Ji
Oedipal complex- 9
es galore!"
In the ancient ________
story, Oedipus
the son kills his father and marries his
mother. In "Caught," both Nick and
Danny fulfill the Oedipal role (Danny
even spitefully calls him "brother"),
while Betty stands at the peak of the
resulting love triangles. Strangely,
Danny ends up competing with Nick
for parental love rather than telling his
father about Mom's affair. Danny is


insanely jealous of Nick, who is jealous
of Joe, who is the most ineffectual of
the three men.
The film addresses the implicit incest
theme in sometimes disturbing, often
ridiculous ways. In one scene, Danny
unexpectedly arrives home from Los
Angeles while
Nick is perform-
/I EW ing oral sex on
his mother in his
Caught bedroom, of all
** places. Betty
rushes out to
At Ann Arbor 1 & 2 greet her son,
who lavishes her
with kisses, saying, "You look great! I
could just eat you up!" Toward the end
of the film. Danny calls Nick a "moth-
erfucker" which brings a whole new
meaning to the word. The filmmakers
trade meaningful character develop-
ment for what they consider a brilliant
statement about familial bonds.
More than any other character, Betty
deserves more depth. After all, she
Btysrays fo hrwokhoi hs
band or at least why she falls in love
with Nick, the script focuses on her
physique. In scene after scene, Alonso
takes a bath, applies cold cream and
satiates her sexual hunger, thereby sat-
isfying her Oedipal role. Compared to
Olmos, however, Alonso pulls off a bet-
ter performance.
As Joe, a victim of everyone else's
indiscretion, Olmos struggles with a
script that fails to dredge up sympathy
for his character. We never see how
Joe's and Betty's marriage was pre-
Nick, so by the time Joe finds out, it's
too late to justify a pointlessly symbol-
ic ending. Nick narrates periodically,
drowning out any valuable insight into
Joe and Betty.
Perhaps the screenwriters had the
saying "still waters run deep" in mind
when they wrote lines for Nick, who
grunts responses to Betty's overtures.
Verveen, who brings the range of a pet
rock to this pivotal role, delivers the
voice-overs in a sleepy monotone.
Schub, who revs pup his role with high
emotional intensity, steals every scene
he shares with Verveen.
Without giving away the ending, let's
just say it's, as Nick whines, very
"phony." The film actually asks us to
feel sorry for Nick - a man who beats
thieves with a huge fish and then ruins
two marriages.

Some of the cast members of MUSKET's "Cabaret," which runs this weekend at Power Center.

Moving 'Cabaret' dances into 'U'

By Evelyn Miska
For the Dailv
The high life of the 1920s and '30s will be reborn this'
weekend in MUSKET's latest production of "Cabaret,"
Directed by musical theater senior T. Adam [less, "Cabaret"
promises to be a poignant and emotional show. In a recent
interview with The Michigan Daily, H-ess described the pro-
duction as "both entertaining and educational, tracing the ris-
ing tide of hatred that led to some of the most horrific events
in human history."
"Cabaret" takes place in the late
1920s, and it foreshadows the rise of
the Nazi regime. The unusually dark P R!E
musical follows two different couples
in their qluest to find happiness in a
time when there isn't much. Sally Today
Bowles is an English cabaret singer Center
who is in love with an unemployed.
American novelist named Cliff
Bradshaw. The second couple consists of a German landlady
Frallein Schneider, and a Jewish fruit seller, Herr Schultz.
Frallein Schneider must face the difficult decision of
whether or not to mnarry H-err Schultz in a time of Nazi
repression. Whether it is to raise a child in an unfriendly envi-
ronment or to marry, all of the characters are faced with
unpleasant situations in which they must make difficult deci-
Because the show deals with the difficult subjects of
Nazism and anti-semitism. MUSKET will be hosting post-
show discussions in which the audience will be able to talk
with the cast and a scholar on the Nazi era. In addition, there
will be an exhibition in the Power Center lobby containing
photographs of Berlin and the Nazi occupation.
IHess feels this is an important work which deals with a
sensitive subject. "(Cabaret paints) a picture and (shows) an
accurate description of the horror. lie said.


"Cabaret" affected the company as well. Because of such
tense themes, rehearsals tended to be draining and very emno-
tional for the cast. At the beginning of production, Hess tried
to provide as imuch information for the troupe as possible.
This took the form of showing videos and doing research in
order to help the actors understand the issues they were deal-
ing with.
"I'm proud of the way we dealt with the subject matter. It
all stems from the fact that everyone took the issues to heart,
from both an emotional and educational aspect," Hess said.
Not only was the subject matter dif-
ficult for the cast, but other challenges
V I E W had to be faced. "The characters are
Cabaret from the 193 Os, so it's hard to go back
in time. Some characters have to wear
~d Saturday at 8 p m- swastikas and are playing people who
udent tickets are 7. support the Nazi party," H ess
The show itself is widely praised.
and it has received numerous awards including the New York
Drama Critics and Antoinette Perry awards for best musical
of 1966, as well as a Tony Award.
The main message [less hopes to convey to the audience
is that 'everyone must remember the events of the past:' He
does not w~ant to offend anyone, though, and he hopes peo-
ple will take advantage of the post-show discussions. "I
want to give people anl opportunity to discuss and under-
stand what is going on if they were confused about sonmc-
thi ng," Hess said.
While "Cabarct" may not deal with the most pleasant sub-
ject, it should be an emotional evening full of dance, song and
perhaps a few tears. "You can't shy away from the issues,"
Hless said. This is truly an event in history where the saying
"those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it" applies.
Even though the subject is serious, "Cabaret" promises to be
an elaborate and moving show.

ican Me," stars in "Caught."

















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