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October 11, 1996 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-11

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 11, 1996 - 9

.Take a festive trip
back with 'Pamela'

My Tyler Patterson
Daily Theater Editor
Trying to transplant a story written
Originally in another language and in
another culture is a very difficult
endeavor. Often times such intangibles
like humor and political significance
can get lost in the translation. In adapt-
ing Carlo Goldoni's landmark 247 year-
old comedy "Pamela" and attempting to
present it to an American audience for
the first time, such considerations can-
not be glossed over.
For one thing, the idea of forbidden
ve between the classes, although a
Familiar theme to
anyone only
slightly read in
the classics, lives
in faint vestiges
today. To a con- Tru
temporary audi-
ence, this tension,
which plays such
a crucial role in understanding the
light of Pamela (Heather Dilly) as she
resists Lord Bonfil's (Alexander Alioto)
advances, more often than not is mere-
ly given face value. Understanding the
past is purely an intellectual feat, if con-
temporary pressures do not relate to
historical ones.
John Russell Brown, director of
University Productions' opening play,
answers these by implementing into the
text an "audience-friendly" theater. By
the strength and energy of the actors, he
nvites the audience into the world of
the play.
As the opening night audience
etered the theater, it was greeted by the
large cast with an enthusiasm and
excitement worthy of a Venetian festi-
val. Waiters took orders from those
seated and many actors posed for pic-
tures with unwitting observers.


The effect of these opening antics did
much to set the tone, at least for a while.
Capocomico (Donald McManus) order-
ing the Venetians to deliver their lines in
English, declaring, "We're going to do a
new kind of play" expressed the transi-
tion of the play from Italian to English
in a humorous and theatrical way.
The set design (by Vincent
Mountain), using a foundation of a bare
outdoor stage one might find at a carni-
val, correctly captured the mood.
Costumes (by Erika Furey), intricately
and in some cases beautifully designed,
gave the actors much needed mobility
for the more ram-
bunctious scenes
VIE W in the play.
P eHowever, the
energy and inge-
blood Theater nuity of the pro-
Oct. 10, 1996 duction could not
overcome the
problems that
developed over the course of the play.
Heather Dilly, as Pamela, did a fine
job expressing the fierce virtue that was
her character. Her sharp criticisms of
the oversexed Ernold (Bernardo De
Paula) and the rather pathetic Lord
Bonfil cut straight to the heart of their
desires and left them speechless. Dilly
displayed humility and modesty while
demanding respect. A feat not often
The opposite lead of Lord Bonfil, as
played by Alioto, did not have quite the
stage presence nor effect. Alioto's inter-
pretation of Lord Bonfil as buffoonish
and ridiculous took away the edge of
some of his darker characteristics, such
as his violent irrational reactions when-
ever he did not get what he wanted.
Such cartoonish features work better
with supporting characters, not lead


One such supporting performance
that was absolutely wonderful was
Allison Tkac's portrayal of Jevre,
Pamela's housekeeper. Delivering her
punches with natural comic timing,
Tkac's presence was always a blessing
on the production.
A character having difficulty with the
comedy of his character was De Paula
as Ernold. The problem was not the act-
ing so much as his tendency to lose his
lines in his speech. His displays of ener-
gy and wit too often got lost in the
thickness of his accent.
Jennifer Davis as the conniving and
utterly shameless Lady Daure gave a
much needed subtle performance dis-
playing her rivalry with Pamela.

Michael Rubenstone (Lord Artur),
Patrick M. Moltane, who as Isaaco the
servant entered every scene with trum-
pets blaring, and Matt Oberg
(Longman) all played their eccentric
characters with flair and humor.
Music also accompanied most of the
action of the play and it became a
much needed undertone for the partic-
ularly sluggish portions. Three singing
numbers, a duet and two solos by
Jessica D'Onofrio (Paulina) and
Tiffany Jones (Sandrina), were beauti-
fully delivered.
Although the play, at two hours and
45 minutes, is a little long, its main
problem is not the length. Instead, it is
the difficulty at expressing humor
through the pathetic lead in Lord
Bonfil. Rather than having a play
about the cruel face of love that rests
with Lord Bonfil, it is, at times, a
ridiculous portrayal of the way
Englishmen lust for women. Of course
the play can be about both, but to
reduce Lord Bonfil to an unrealistic
pathetic mess of emotions is to deny
him his humanity. This denies the
audience a chance to take him and sig-
nificant thematic issues seriously.
With the lively and intoxicating way
these actors celebrate their perfor-
mances, though, it is difficult to walk
out of this play without some sense of
satisfaction. Through their effort, one
was able to sneak a glance into a world
of continuous and complete celebra-
tion, where the virtuous women get
what they deserve and the shameful
men get humbled.
"Pamela" continues at the True-
blood Theater in the Frieze Building,
tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m., Sunday
at 2 p.m., Oct. 17-19 at 8 p.m. and Oct.
20 at 2 p.m. General admission tickets
are $14 ($7 for students with ID).

The University of Michigan
School of Music
Sunday, October 13
Stearns Collection Lecture Series
"This Republic of Strings," a lecture-recital
Andrew Lawrence-King, harp
Recital Hall, 2 p.m.
36th Annual Conference on Organ Music:
Hommage a Langlais, October 13-16
Organ Recital by Laurence Jenkins
Hill Auditorium, 4 p.m
Carillon Recital by Patrick Macoska
Burton Memorial Tower, 7:30 p.m.
Faculty Recital by Robert Glasgow
"The French Symphonists"
Hill Auditorium, 8p.m.
Monday, October 14
Carillon Recital by Ray McLellan
Burton Memorial Tower, 7:30 p.m.
University Musical Society Choral Union
Janice Beck, organ; Thomas Sheets, conductor
" Duruf d: Requiem
" Langlais: Premiere Symphonie, Messe Solennelle
Hill Auditorium, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, October 15
Organ Recital by Timothy Tikker
Music of Franck, Langlais, Tournemire and Tikker
Hill Auditorium, 3:30 p.m.
Carillon Recital by Margo Halsted
Burton Memorial Tower, 7:30 p.m.
Organ Recital by Marie-Louise Langlais
Music of Langlais
Hill Auditorium, 8p.m.
Wednesday, October 16
Carillon Recital by Richard Giszczak
Burton Memorial Tower, 7:30 p.m.
Organ Recital by Colin Walsh
Hill Auditorium, 8 p.m.
Creative Arts Orchestra
with guest percussionist Gregg Bendian
Ed Sarath, conductor
Recital Hall, 8 p.m.
Thursday, October 17
Octubafest Concert
Recital Hall, 8p.m.
Lurie Carillon Dedication
Concert and Light Show
Margo Halsted, carillon
University Symphony Band, H. Robert Reynolds, conductor
North Campus, 9 p.m.
Thursday-Sunday, October 17-20
Musical Theatre Production
Edwin Drood by Rupert Holmes
Gary Bird, director; James Wilhelmsen, musical director
Mendelssohn Theatre, Thu-Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m.
Tickets: $18.00, $14.00 (313.764.0450)
Theatre & Drama Production
Pamela by Carlo Goldoni
John Russell Brown, director
Trueblood Theatre, Thu-Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun 2 p.m.
Tickets: $14.00 (313.764.0450)
Friday, October 18
Wind Ensembles
H. Robert Reynolds, conductor
Rackham Auditorium, 8 p.m.

University Choir & Chamber Choir
Jerry Blackstone and Hugh Floyd, conductors
Music by Schubert, Finzi and Elgar
Hill Auditorium, 8 p.m.
Octubafest Concert
UM Tuba and Euphonium Ensemble
Fritz Kaenzig, director
McIntosh Theatre, 8 p.m.
Sunday, October 27

The cast members of University Productions' "Pamela."

'Savage Love' burns hot at Arena

° -

r r l r

k Christopher Tkaczyk
or the Daily
The Basement Arts season is now in
full swing with its second dosage of
theater opening this weekend. Sam
Shepard's "Savage Love" is being
directed by RC
student Heather
Adams, and stars P
BFA perfor- \
ance major Elif
elebi. This pro- V nat
duction is being at p.
presented as a General Ad
one-person show.
It details the rewards, trials and tribula-
tions of a woman's (Celebi) past love
In a recent interview with The
Michigan Daily, Celebi said that the
show is "deeply personal," and that the
themes of the production are universal.

Adams agreed, "This show illustrates
the rawest truth (of love). It's very inti-
mate, and very simple. It is easy to
translate into everyone's lives because
there is a piece of every monologue in

E E W 1I Il
avage Love
at 5 & 11:30, tomorrow
m. At the Arena Theater.
dmission seating is free.

Although the
play looks at the
adventures of one
relationship, it
does not merely
find everything
wrong and every-
thing right with
the affair. The

the RC's Auditorium, where it was
well received.
The two women were asked to bring
their production to Basement Arts for
the fall season. This run of the show
includes a special Friday engagement at
11:30 p.m. Why such a late show? "You
get a different atmosphere, a different
crowd (with the later audiences), Celebi
Forthe second consecutive week,just
one woman will take the stage at
Basement Arts. This indicates the
courage and confidence of the company
and of the actor who must carry an
entire show on her shoulders alone.


production looks at one woman's expe-
rience and her many reactions to it.
Celebi has previously performed the
play with Adams as well as with other
production groups, so the two are
experienced with the material. Last
year Adams showcased parts of it at

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