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October 15, 1998 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-15

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Jars of Clay plays tonight at the Pease Auditorium at Eastern
Michigan. This contemporary Christian rock troupe will play its
greatest hits from "Flood" and other albums. Check out the band
in the local arena. Tickets are $15 in advance. Call 487-1221 for
ticket information.

MZpe id jigam &d

Brit Newton spells out
success in 'Beloved'

Bryan Lark
ly Arts Writer
"B-E-L-O-VE-D."
Not very frightening, right? It's just spelling.
But when those letters come as a guttural roar out of the
mouth of Thandie Newton, as the unsettlingly primitive title
character in Jonathan Demme's "Beloved," filmdom may have
a new definition of creepy -just don't tell that to Newton.
"Beloved's initial deep voice, for me that was like a tomb
door being opened after years and years and years and those
hinges need oiling, clarified Newton in a recent interview with
*oe Michigan Daily.
"I wanted it not to be this creepy fucking 'Exorcist,' I wanted
it to be that it hadn't been used, that it was painful to speak again
and the desperation to get the words out, to be understood."
Creepy or not, once "Beloved" is released tomorrow, Newton
will be desperate no more.
Newton is already garnering
praise for her physically and
emotionally demanding role as
the uninvited guest of Oprah
Winfrey's Sethe, who may or
may not be the ghost of a 2-year- E .
, Newton, a native of
Zimbabwe and Great Britain '-
who has graced the screen in
"Gridlock'd," "Jefferson in
Paris" and "Flirting" in recent
years. She will likely be an
Oscar nominee, if not
Hollywood's next big thing.
But whatever the role brings
her, Newton found that bringing
elf to the role was hard
ough.
After being given Toni
Morrison's novel in college
because - even creepier than Director Jonathan Demme gu
the above - her full name, Thandle Newton to potential
Thandiwe, means "Beloved" in
Zulu, Newton thought that she
could use the character in the novel as a guide upon being cast.
"What character in the novel?" asked Newton facetiously.
"I thought hey, I've got the role now, I'll just go back to the
book. I hadn't read it for six years. I got back to the book and I
Ough it would be there. No, nothing. She's elusive, she
changes, mercurial in that she's different with every character,
with every situation."
Newton found the perfect metaphor for her complex charac-
ter in something much more simple.
"We call it dot-to-dot in England," explained Newton. "When
you've got dots ranging all over the place, they're so disparate,
how can you bring them together to form a cohesive, three-

dimensional character? And I was really having a period of feel-
ing extremely daunted by what I had to do. Far be it from me to
fill in the gaps for Toni Morrison."
So far from her, in fact, that the simple task of consulting with
Morrison left Newton a little shy of outspoken.
"And I remember the first time I met Toni Morrison I could-
n't speak for hours, I could just imagine, 'Ms. Morrison, would
it be all right if I filled in the gaps in your book for you?' But
she was cool, she let her book go."
Even without Morrison involved, Newton believes the book-
to-film translation still came out well.
"I think it's extraordinary because of the simplicity of the
story, the intimacy of the story allows you to appreciate the psy-
chological"
And there is plenty of the psychological within "Beloved,"
which confronts the issue of the physical and emotional after-
math of slavery.
But as Newton was
researching her role, she
consciously tried to evade
the African American histo-
ry that"Beloved"evokes.
"I decided that the histor-
ical element wasn't as
important for me because
Beloved was never actually
enslaved and that's key. Her
rage is more contemporary, I
felt."
Upon her decision,
Newton looked at case his-
tories in the U.K. of people
"who had been denied the
civilizing process," includ-
ing the tragic case of a 14-
year-old called "Jeannie."
Courtesy of Touchstone Pictures "She was discovered after
des Kimberly Elise (left) and her father killed himself in
scar gold in "Beloved." their living room. She'd
been tied to a potty since
babyhood. Didn't know how
to talk, didn't know how to walk, didn't know how to feed her-
self."
It was Jeannie's horrific experience that layed the ground-
work for Newton's characterization of Beloved that she couldn't
find in the novel.
"When I was reading about this girl, it struck me that this was
Beloved, someone who had been denied those basic tools,
someone who's been locked away for a long time whether it's in
limbo, whether it's in the afterlife, whether it's in a grave, we
don't know where."
That element of the supernatural proves troublesome for
Newton, who is averse to the idea that she's.playing the role of

British actress Thandle Newton takes the title role In Jonathan Demme's "Beloved," opening tomorrow.

ui
iC

Coes' sets sail for sold-out show

By Anna Kovalszki and Jenni Glenn
Daily Arts Writers .
It's a sell out! The Musical Theatre
Department's season is off to a com-
mendable start. Their 15th season-open-
ing production sold out a week before
its premiere.
Cole Porter's 1930s musical
" nything Goes" is not the traditional
sical theatre number. It is defined
more by its placement within the musi-
cal comedy genre. Gary Bird, director of
the show, said, "musical comedy is less
plot oriented and incorporates elements
of vaudeville and burlesque."
Set on the high seas aboard a cruise
bound for Europe, the musical's
comedic and plot-twisting aspects might
Weekend, etc.
returns next
week when it
looks at the
funny folks at
Detroit's
Second City.

Anything
Goes
Mendelssohn
Theater
Tonight though
Saturday at 8 p.m.

remind one of a
soap opera. But
no soap offers
such catchy tunes
as "I Get a Kick
Out of You" and
"It's D'Lovely."
Convoluted
love stories
abound, with
Reno Sweeney's
saga (Becky
Bahling) at the
helm. An evange-
list and nightclub
tries to charm Billy
Foa) to no avail, and

engaged Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Ernie
Nolan).
Meanwhile, Lord Evelyn's fiance6,
Hope Harcourt (Courtney Balan), falls
for Crocker. Crocker actually sneaks
onto the boat, and is mistaken for a
famous gangster who missed the cruise.
Also on board is Crocker's boss (Todd
Buonopane), who is enamored by
Hope's mother (Jessica Murphy).
These love triangles create a comedic
atmosphere, and the many teasingly
small complications get resolved by the
end of the show. This plot, however,
doesn't mirror the traditional Broadway
production.
Bird chose the 1987 Lincoln Center
See ANYTHING, Page 12A

singer, Sweeney
Crocker (Barrett

then sets her sights on the already

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