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October 16, 1998 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-16

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gore to Music e1 idfigmt&g Monday in Daily Arts:
University of Michigan Chamber Choir. Rabindranth Tagore, former U Visit Daily Arts on Monday for a review of PBS' "Africans in
poet laureate of India famous for "Gitanjali," is represented by a America," a new special concerning the history of slavery.
series of songs by Ed Sarath. THe chamber choir will perform
"Brahma, Vishnua, Shiva,"as well as works by Bach, Haydn and
Rheinberger. Tonight at Hill Auditorium. Free admission. Octoberi19
October16,n1998os
Morrson's 'Beloved' haunts in Op L 's hands'

By Bryan Lark no means comprise the whole tale.
Daly Arts Wnr "Beloved" is a complicated and surreal web
From the director of the "Silence of the of stories and characters where the ghosts of the
Lambs" comes the loudest film of the year past are as lively as the spectres of the present.
Not loud in the sense of decibels, loud in The past informs the present in "Beloved,"
terms of resonance; even after two weeks, appearing periodically in lush flashbacks of
Jonathan Demme's "Beloved" will ring in the muted yellows and oranges, telling the story of
ears and echo in the mind. former slave Sethe's journey to freedom and
A film of great histori- introducing us to Sethe's deceased mother-in-
cal and cinematic impor- law Baby Suggs (Beah Richards), whose wis-
I tance, "Beloved," based dom provides the thread tying this tapestry
on Toni Morrison's most together.
Beloved honored novel, is a color- The two halves of "Beloved" - the past and
ful tapestry of a film, the present - are interwoven seamlessly and
filled with vivid imagery, slowly and cleverly reveal the two journeys of
At Ann Arbor t & 2, unsettling content and Sethe: the first to freedom and the second to for-
&roawood technical virtuosity giveness.
&Show s Starring Oprah Revealing more plot details would only spoil
Winfrey as Sethe and the freshness of the film's storytelling tech-
Kimberly Elise as her nique, which is at once matter-of-fact and utter-
daughter Denver, the film ly magical.
tells the tale of three By turns yiolent, sexual, haunting and poetic,
unexpected guests in "Beloved" is an ambitious project,
their house at 124 expertly crafted by Jonathan
Bluestone Rd. on the outskirts of Cincinatti. Demme.
First arrives a strange force they call the The most thrillingly directed
"baby ghost," then comes Paul D film of the year, Demme's use of
(Danny Glover), Sethe's friend from color evokes the words left unsaid
the Sweet Home Plantation who's by the characters, his use of
been searching 18 years for her and cross-cut close-ups of his
finally the three encounter an enig- s r characters in certain conver-
ma who calls herself Beloved sational scenes lends an
(Thandie Newton), who appears enormous intimacy to the
seemingly out of nowhere in a film, and his use of his
gorgeous, gown and brand incomparable acting
new shoes. ensemble create the
Profoundly affecting devastating, wholly
Sethe and Denver, the human beauty that is
three visitors drive "Beloved"
the narrative, but by courtesy ofitouchstone Pectures Led by Oprah
Dealing with fear and longing, Sethe despairs.

Winfrey's astonishing and natural portrayal of
the strong-willed Sethe, the ensemble capably
conveys the subtleties of Morrison's prose,
adapted for the screen by Akosua Busia,
Richard LaGravenes and Adam Brooks.
Acting standouts include the ever-solid
Glover, whose Paul D. is both naive and the first
to realize something sinister may be going on,
Beah Richards, who exudes a pure screen pres-
ence as the compelling Baby Suggs and Irma P
Hall and Carol Jean Lewis, who both carve stel-
lar niches for their meddlesome townswomen.
But the best performances of the film stem
from the blossoming talents of Elise and
Newton, perfectly balanced as Denver and
Beloved, respectively.
Elise's Denver is an understated, sympathetic
portrait of a young woman trying to find herself
among the ruins of slavery.
While Newton's Beloved is a funnel cloud of
innocence and anger channeled into two of the
largest, most eerily expressive yet expression-
less eyes.
"Beloved," too, is made eerily expressive by
its gorgeous score by Rachel Portman, the
Oscar-winning composer of "Emma," who
blends stirring spirituals with lush orchestration.
Despite its nearly three-hour duration, which
may seem a detriment to some, "Beloved" cre-
ates an immediate, ravishing, dark dream, three
hours that one can - and should - feel.
"Beloved," whatever feelings it creates about
Toni Morrison, slavery or Oprah Winfrey, will
likely be labeled as one of those "important"
films that critics love but to which audiences are
generally averse.
Ignore the so-called importance of its content
and remember the wonderfully fluid form of its
many sensual merits. And remember you will
- for "Beloved" won't let you forget.

Paul D (Danny Glover) and Sethe (Oprah Winfrey) ignite "Beloved."

has spit
'and drama
By Ed Sholinsky
Daily Arts Writer
If one believes NBC, "Trinity" is "the next
great American drama." Let's hope not. Not
that "Trinity" doesn't work - in fact it's better
than it has a right to be - but "great" simply
goes too far.
The acting makes "Trinity" above average,
even though the actors often have to overcome
mediocre writing. In both the pilot episode and
the second episode, "In a Yellow Wood," the
scripts put in too much action and too many sit-
uations, coupled with melodramatic and stunt-
ed dialogue.
Nevertheless, "Trinity"
ends up being quite
enjoyable.
Tiiy "Trinity" revolves
around the McCallisters,
a large Insh family living
in New York. The fai-
NBC ly's matriarch, Eileen
Fridays at 9 pm. (Jill Clayburgh), and
patriarch, Simon (John
Spencer), act as the glue
holding together their
very different children.
They do this while trying
to overcome the death of
their son, Mikey, when
he was 15, from a drug overdose. To make
things worse, it seems as if their youngest
daughter, Amanda (Bonnie Root), might end
up in the same situation.
The McCallister children are a mix of per-
sonalities (hey, it's an ensemble drama, you
can't expect them to be too original) -a priest
(Kevin, played by Tate Donovan), a cop
(Bobby, Justin Louis), a union boss who might
have ties to organized crime (Liam, Sam
Trammell) and a stockbroker (Fiona, Charlotte
Ross). Surprisingly, the siblings don't always
get along, which creates familial tension.
In the pilot episode, the tension centers
mostly on Bobby and Liam. Bobby has just
receised a promotion to detective and wants to
prove himself. One of the ways he wants to do

Anytbing' goes quite well

The three McCallister brothers compose a "Trinity."

By Jenni Glenn
Daily Ars Writer
The ship doesn't sink as in last year's biggest
film, "Titanic," but "Anything Goes" does tell the
story of a cruise to Europe in true style. Opening
this season with a ba'ng (and not into an iceberg),
the School of Music's production of Cole Porter's
popular show promises great productions for the
rest of the year.
Selling out one week before the performance,
"Anything Goes" certainly lived up to high audi-
ence expectations. The show shined, combining a
stellar cast, catchy jazz numbers and '30s cruise
ship set with an authentic feel.
Complete with cheesy one-liners and a frantic
pace, the cast took the audience on a wild ride
through romantic comedy. While Reno Sweeney
(Becky Bahling), a flashy evangelist/nightclub
singer, makes a play for him, charming rascal
Billy Crocker (Barrett Foa) stows away on the
cruise to be near debutante Hope Harcourt
(Courtney Balan). Harcourt announces her
engagement to the eccentric Lord Evelyn
Oakleigh (Ernie Nolan), and Crocker gets mis-
taken for a notorious gangster in the ensuing con-
fusion.
Talented singers in the cast certainly did Cole
Porter's music justice just by having fun. The per-
forming ensemble drew alot of attention, partic-
ularly with "Blow,
Gabriel, Blow;' in which
Bahling shone. Bahling
and Foa's chemistry made
Anything duets like "You're the
Goes Top" a delight to watch.
Mendelssohn They also worked well
Theater with Alex Gemignani,
Oct.15, 1998 who stole the spotlight in
the role of gangster-dis-
guised-as-a-minister
Moonface Martin.
Thethreesome over-
shadowed Balan in the
role of the sweet debu-
tante. Hope just couldn't
compete with Sweeney's
wicked sermon and Crocker and Moonface's
clever schemes. She got further lost among Celia
Keenan-Bolger's ditziness as the gangster's moll,
as well as amid Todd Buonopane as a drunk
tycoon and Nolan playing a Brit jumbling
American slang. At least Balan still managed to
play well to Foa in duets like "It's De-lovely."

this is by showing how dirty Liam's boss real-
ly is. Obviously, Liam is none to pleased. Liam
stands firm in his belief that his boss is clean.
In the second episode, his boss goes a long way
toward proving his innocence on the matter of
taking bribes.
Father Kevin has to overcome many chal-
lenges to his faith, including having a long-
time friend, who has a wife and kid come out
of the closet. In the same episode, Kevin
decides to violate a sacrament by revealing
something told to him in confession: a man
told Kevin that he was planning to murder
someone. It is doubtful that a priest has that
much controversial material to deal with in a
year, more or less a couple of days.
But this is just an example of where the
script is too busy. "Trinity" has five
McCallister children, two McCallister parents
and Bobby's wife Clarissa (Kim Raver) to deal
with in the span of an hour. As an example of
biting off more than one can chew, executive
producer and writer John Wells ("ER") tries to
give all of the characters equal time. Instead of
only telling part of a story in each episode

(such as is accomplished in "Murder One" or
"Homicide"), "Trinity" attempts to tell a com-
plete story, within each episode, about each
character.
But the writing doesn't suck, making the
show worth watching. In places, the stories
work quiet beautifully. The continuing conflict
between Bobby and Liam works particularly
well, with each of the characters trying to be
the best people they can be, even though their.
professions make them bump heads. Another
interesting story line involves Amanda and a
very personal decision she must make with
regards to her lifestyle. Because her drinking
and drugging might lead her to lose her job as
a teacher's aide at the Catholic school Kevin
runs, and might have more serious life conse-
quences, Amanda finds herself at a fork in the
road.
Less interesting is the use of music in the
show. Shows such as "Homicide" and "Picket
Fences" make good use of music played over
the show's action. Here, however, the music
creates a maudlin effect (very much an overall
See TRINITY, Page 9

courtesy ofrniversity Productions
A tycoon (Emie Nolan) whispers sweet some-
things to a frightened Hope (Courtney Balan).
The singers conveyed the lyrics well, even
without microphones. Problems with acoustics in
the Mendelssohn Theatre actually forced the
orchestra and the singers to balance more. The
orchestra, placed above the actors on a second
tier, only got lost in the shuffle a couple of times.0
In spite of the acoustics, the set and lighting
scheme gave the show a great atmosphere, with
the sky even changing for the time of day. The
design truly captured the '30s comedy spirit
director Gary Bird envisioned. The set had a real
art deco feel, particularly when added to the era's
costumes and dance steps.
As one of the largest shows to be performed at
the Mendelssohn with a cast of 28 students,
"Anything Goes" represented a challenge. The
play also included a large number ofcostume an4
scene changes, but the crew coordinated every-
thing admirably in a small space.
The set, in particular, managed to make use of
the available stage space. Susan Crabtree
designed a two level set, using the entire stage as
the boat. The orchestra was actually seated on the
upper level of the ship. A lifeboat between the
first row and the ship front (painted on the stage)
added to the effect and conserved space.
By overcoming these challenges, "Anything
Goes" comes through with titanic stage presence.
And after spending $7 a shot to see "TitanicO
multiple times, this classic boat story with a
happy, romantic ending is definitely worth at
least one viewing.

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