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January 17, 1997 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-01-17

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 17, 1997 - 9

'Barrymore' traces life of Broadway star

By Tyler Patterson
For the Daily
On a rented stage for a single night, a
legendary Broadway and Hollywood
actor must find a way to reclaim his
stage prowess. John Barrymore stag-
gers out of the wing, drunk and deject-
ed, and a future Broadway show begins.
Barrym ore,
played by a
Hollywood and \
Broadway legend
in his own right, Music
Christopher
Plummer, is an old Through Jan. 1
man. He cannot
remember lines anymore and he has
trouble focusing on the moment, often
drifting to narratives on different points
his life.
At one moment, he could bring to
life his esteemed grandmother, "Mum
Mum." At the next, he might tell a
funny story about his shameless broth-
er or his drunken father. Or he might
give touching tribute to his departed
friend, Ned, who pushed him to suc-
ceed.
The voice that occasionally calls

from the wing, Frank (Michael Mastro),
is Barrymore's prompter. He calls in the
lines that Barrymore forgets and, with
increasing impatience, pleads with
Barrymore to focus.
Frank's lack of physical presence
keeps the spotlight on Barrymore, and
rightfully so. Barrymore's drunken nasti-

REVIEW
Barrymorm
Hall Center for the
Performing Arts
19, 1997. Call 963-2366
Barrymore than
character, based
same name who
from 1920 to

ness is often funny
and always sincere,
partly because he is
alone on stage and
partly because of
Plummer's delivery.
It's hard to imag-
ine a better fit for
Plummer. Like the
on the actor of the.
starred in 34 movies
1941, Christopher

and give full range to the text.
Written by William Luce, author of
other stage biographies, including "The
Belle of Amherst" about Emily
Dickinson, the prose offers a mix of
reflection, humor and philosophy. As an
actor proficient with the classics,
Barrymore is allowed the leeway to
quote the great works of Shakespeare.
Rather than detract, Luce's structure
provides perfect poetry to an old actor's
diminishing ability.
Luce's reflective style, with
Plummer's inspired delivery, humanizes
Barrymore to levels of raw and shame-
less vulnerability, that only we, as
strangers, could understand. Had we
known Barrymore, we never could have
seen him as he was then: childish and
spoiled, apologetic and proud.
An old man, Barrymore is haunted
by a number of things: his career, his
family, Ned and his ex-wives. Always
mixing humor with revelation,
Barrymore describes his marriages:
"I wasn't good enough for any of my
wives ... but I didn't tell them! I let it
come as a surprise."
We learn more about the man and his

departure from the world of theater to
Hollywood, where blackboards with his
lines written on them are strategically
placed around the set. As we discover the
troubling dynamics of his family, his
love for his ex-wives and his scandals,
we see a dynamic and pained individual.
His success as an actor makes his failure
as a person all the more painful, while
his age begins to take its toll.
It is easy to feel sorry for Barrymore,
yet there is something triumphant about
the way he struggles. His brilliant hon-
esty and humor, in spite of the misery
he's feeling, add a nobility that recalls
the professionalism of an age when the-
ater was born and reborn every evening.
We are reminded of a time when
Broadway actors represented a kind of
elite status given more often nowadays
to professional athletes.
In March, one of those actors,
Barrymore, will be returning to
Broadway for the first time in more
than 50 years. It can be assured that
every night when "Barrymore" hits the
stage in New York, as it did in Detroit,
an important part of theater will again
find life.

Plummer has spent a lifetime acting.
Since the age of 17, Plummer has been
acting professionally, and his experi-
ence carries over well on stage.
Plummer's voice is full of rich histo-
ry, deep and grating, bellowing his lines
with the full of thespian power. His
movements around the set, staged mas-
terfully by Gene Saks, are meaningful

U

Christopher Plummer stars as John Barrymore in William Luce's play.
II U

Chaq's back
with a third"%
time charm
Shaquille O'Neal
You Cant STOP the REIGN
*terscope
It seems that Shaquille O'Neal's life
has recently been about radical
changes. He left Florida to be a Laker
(guess he heard Snoop's conversation
with that kid on his newest release,
"The Doggfather"). To top it off, he's
released his third album. And this one is
actually good! I guess the third time
ally is the charm.
"You Can't STOP the REIGN" has
some pretty decent raps in it. His trib-
utes to his stepfather ("It Was All a
Dream") and his fraternity (the his-
torically black Omega Psi Phi - "Big
Dog Stomp") are two examples of
Shaq's much-improved studio flow.
His vocal action has been strength-
ened not only in delivery, but also in
versatility.
"Shaq Diesel" and "Shaq Fu - da
eturn" can't begin to touch "You Can't
STOP the REIGN" in the number of
differing cuts it contains. On this
album, Shaq's transitions range from
the rap ballad ("Let's Wait a While") to
more hardened sounds ("Edge of
Night").
And no less impressive is the sheer

9

Collage promises variety

Shaq released a good album this time.
number of top-ranked rap guests who
appear on this album. Mobb Deep joins
our 7-foot backboard smasher on
"Legal Money." Lord Tariq and Jay-Z
dish out some memorable rhymes on
"No Love Lost," which incidentally has
some of the best beats of any song on
this album.
Snoop, NAS and Biggie Smalls also
give a taste of their money-making
lyrics.
"You Can't STOP the REIGN" can't
make up for two weak albums released
in the past few years, but it does serve
as a starting point for other, more pro-
fessional releases worthy of a listen.
It'll be interesting to see whether
Shaq really has improved and honed
what I never before acknowledged as
true rapping skills, or if "You Can't
STOP the REIGN" is just a fluke occur-
rence of good luck - like the occa-
sional, pearl-guarding clam.
- Eugene Bowen

By Stephanie Love
For the Daily
It only happens once a year: More
than 300 School of Music students col-
laborate in a conglomeration of every
musical genre imaginable. Tonight's
20th annual Collage Concert, featuring
18 performances
by 15 groups from P1
the School of
Music, promises to Col
be one of the most
impressive con-
Free admission
certs of this term. ticket from Hi
The Collage
Concert is presented by a member of
the conducting faculty on a rotating
basis. This year the artistic director, or
"collage czar," is Kenneth Kiesler,
director of University Orchestras at the
School of Music. But as Kiesler said,
the success of a concert of this nature
depends on the work of many people
behind the scenes.
The technical aspects of the concert
are coordinated by Roger Arnett, who
has put in many hours of hard work to
make sure the staging of each group
runs smoothly. In addition, Kiesler
relies on the talents of a stage manager,
a score reader and lighting, sound and
recording staff.
According to Kiesler, the concert
functions "like a collage or kaleido-
scope of the great variety of activities
available at the School of Music. Just
like in a collage, you have many differ-
ent pictures adjacent. The audience can
hear a seamless fabric of jazz, contem-

IL
)n w
Hill ,

porary art music, string quartet, band,
orchestra, improvisation, opera, etc."
Additionally, Kiesler has faced the
reality of turning the technologically
outdated Hill Auditorium into a con-
ducive modern "theater."
As Kiesler noted, "Hill Auditorium is
not a theater in
E V I E W terms of sophisti-
cated lighting. The
age Concert logistics of getting
Tonight at 8:15 the performers on
Hill Auditorium and off stage and
with general admission
Auditorium Box Office the lighting
aspects always cre-
ate a challenge."
Despite the difficulties posed by a
concert featuring so many different per-
formers, Kiesler finds that "one of the
most enjoyable times is the dress
rehearsal when most of the School of'
Music is all there together. It's fun to be
able to hear everyone else.
"Usually a classical concert has two or
three kinds of groups. But with this con-
cert there are so many different kinds of
music. The exciting, jarring, thrilling jux-
taposition of those groups means that
you can have orchestral music going into
jazz into marimba into musical theater
into string quartet," said Kiesler.
A live concert always has the poten-
tial for unexpected surprises. Kiesler's
idea of insurance for a successful con-
cert lies in the preparation.
"You always do the best preparation
you can do - but it's a live perfor-
mance, so you never know what's going
to happen."

. - Ann
Sportswi
for

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Arbor, Mkhigan 48104
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Dresses for Fonnals and Semi-Formals!

Tricky lands at St. Andrew's
Tricky, with his dark, hip-hop
flavored, electronic sounds,
will be floating into St.
Andrew's Hall tonight for a
show that will sonically hyp-
notize you. This tour, in
which Tricky performs for
more than two hours in near
- total darkness, promises to
deliver the full experience of
his two acclaimed albums,
"Maxinquaye" and "Pre-
Millenium Tension." Now ask
yourself, what can be better
than a show like that?
Though it won't be a hip-
shakin' show, you'll be in for
a head-noddin' good time.
Opening acts will include DJ
A Guy Called Gerald and Jeru
Tha Damaja. Doors open at
6:30 p.m., and the show is
for 18 and over. Don't miss
out on a great time with
Tricky. Who knows what
tricks he'll have up those
sleeves of his. Come on
down and check it out.

The University of Michigan
School of Music
Sunday, January 19
Lecture/Recital by Ellwood Derr:
"Joseph Boulogne Chevalier de St. George: Black Composer,
Violinist and Athlete in Late Eighteenth-Century Paris"
Color slide presentation followed by performance of St.
George's Sonata in E-flat for flute and harp by Lydia Cleever,
harp, and Robin Rhodes, flute
McIntosh Theatre, 4 p.m.
Monday, January 20
Martin Luther King Day Concert
Ensemble and solo performances by School of Music
faculty and students
Rackham Auditorium, 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday, January 22
Guest Recital by F. Gerard Errante, clarinet
. Music by Bunce, Errante, Graham, Bestor, Winkler, Thompson
Lowenstein
Britton Recital Hall, 8 p.m.
Thursday, January 23
Music Engineering Seminar Series
Russ Berger, acoustical consultant:
"Room Acoustics"
2044 Moore Building, 4:10 p.m.
Friday, January 24
Faculty Recital by Erling Blondal Bengtsson, cello
" Hindemith: Sonata, Op. 25
. Dallapiccola: Ciaccona, Intermezzo e Adagio
" Bentzon: 16 Etudes, Op. 464
. Kodaly: Sonata, Op. 8
Britton Recital Hall, 8 p.m.
Sunday, January 26
Stearns Collection: Virginia Martin Howard Lecture
Michael "Chikuzen" Gould:
"The Shakuhachi"
McIntosh Theatre, 2 p.m.
Michigan Chamber Players
" Derr: Six Songs of Sundry Sorts for soprano, saxophone
and piano with Melody Racine, soprano; Donald Sinta,
saxophone; and Logan Skelton, piano-Ann Arbor Premiere
. Mozart: Serenade in C Minor for Winds with Harry Sargous, oboe;
Deborah Chodacki, clarinet; Fred Ormand, clarinet; Richard Beene,
bassoon; Peter Unterstein, bassoon
" Beethoven: Piano Trio in D "Ghost" with Louis Nagel, piano;
Andrew Jennings, violin; Anthony Elliott, cello
Britton Recital Hall, 4 p.m.

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Super Bowl Alternative Concert
. Music of William Bolcom for Violin and Piano
Paul Kantor, violin; Stephen Shipps, violin; Andrew Jennings,
violin; Henry Rubin, violin; Ali Jennings, violin; William
Bolcom, piano; Eric Larsen, piano

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