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November 18, 1998 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-11-18

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Now,

The Puerto Rican production of "La Gran Fiesta" runs tonight at 8
p.m. Check out the film that is set in 1942 when the United
States and Puerto Rico were shaky, and discusses the events in
the course of delicate issues that occurred at the time. A discus-
sion about the film's content follows. The screening is in Angell
Hall Aud B, and is in Spanish. It begins at 8 p.m.

ITS

The University of Michigan Medical School turns 150 years
old this year, and Weekend etc. Magazine will tell you all
about it.
Wednesday
November 18, 1998

5

'Grease'
By Jenni Glenn
Daiy Arts Writer
It was the typical high school prom, com-
plete with couples dancing close and chaper-
ones smiling and sipping punch in the cor-
nets of the dance floor.
Typical, at least, until a heated aebate
W ke out between a football player and a
el who was usually more likely to be
found under the bleachers smoking than at
any school-sanctioned
activity.
Before the dance's
chaperones could halt
Grase the argument, it spilled
Power Center out onto the front porch.
and Stry Enthusiastic neighbors
ida and Saturday at the house across the
Sunday at 2p.m. street began to yell at the
sight of a probable fight,
egging on the angry stu-
dents. It took one of the
chaperones breaking
character to sort out the
situation.
Nolan, a Music senior,
directs the MUSKET production of
"Grease," which was holding an actual prom
on Oct. 25 in order for the cast to develop
their characters when the "fight" started.
*As the prom proved, there are no walk-on
roles in Nolan's script of "Grease." Everyone

)es to new dimension

in the cast portrays a member of Rydell High
School's class of 1959, ranging from the
cheerleading cstain to the valedictorian to
the class clown.
"We tried to create as much of a high
school atmosphere as possible," Nolan said.
"Every recognizable high school stereotype
is up there on stage as part of the environ-
ment."
Nolan started with a script of "Grease"
that focused on the well-known story of
Sandy, the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds. He
noticed details about other members of the
high school class, such as a song dedicated to
Ronnie and Sheila, but the audience never
met these characters. Nolan added cameos
into the script, so "the audience ends up fol-
lowing a lot of those story lines."
. In this endeavor, theater directors Richard
Monette from the Stratford Festival and
Mark Madama, who is known for regional
theatre on the West Coast, inspired Nolan.
Both directors emphasize the background
characters to give the plot more dimension.
"There's a story, but then there's a story
outside of that," Nolan said. "It becomes so
much more than a scene, then a blackout and
a scene change. It becomes a real life experi-
ence," he explained.
The production staff of "Grease" faced the
additional challenge of not remaking the
movie, although it has become a part of

American pop culture.
"I think people take the storyline for grant-
ed," Nolan said. "I didn't want this to be a
'Grease' like anything else."
Yet the show's popularity brought 150 peo-
ple to auditions. The resulting cast of 40
gives the show a lot of energy.
"The great thing about having 40 people is
that it gives a lot of people opportunities and
there's always people on stage," the show's
choreographer Jeremy Davis, a Music senior,
said. The cast is "so full of life."
This cast worked hard to give the show a
true flavor of the '50s, a decade none of the
members have experienced firsthand.
Besides researching the culture of that era,
the artistic staff also used universal themes
of high school life from the Brat Pack
movies. "This is what we're familiar with in
teen popular culture," Nolan said.
In addition, the cast encourages others to
get involved with the show's spirit. The artis-
tic staff will hold a musical theatre workshop
for 150 area school children on the set. The
cast also sponsors a sock hop a half an hour
before every show and after Saturday's per-
formance for the audience to relive the
essence of the decade.
Learning more about the '50s added anoth-
er reason for holding a pretend prom apart
from working on character development.
These elements combine to make the show

Courtesy of Musket
Ryan Boda and Tiffany Helland relive great moments of the '50s, while adding their own teen experi-
ences, to this weekend's performance of "Grease" at the Power Center.

come to life with a large cast where every
character has his or her own complete per-
sonality.
"We've really worked to make this show an
ensemble show," Davis said. "It's really a cast

full of stars."
Tickets.for "Grease " are $7 for students and
$12 for regular admission. Contact the
League Ticket Office at 764-0450for more
information.

Complexity runs wild in 'Blood Wedding'

By Jenny Curren
Daily Arts Writer
"If you only see one Lorca play in your lifetime,
you must see 'Blood Wedding,"' said Robert
Knopf, who will premiere his first directorial
effort for the University stage tomorrow night at
Mendelssohn Theatre.
Knopf, a new University theater professor,

transferred to the
Blood
Wedding
Lydia Mendelssohn
Theater
Tomorrow at 8 p.m.
production that wil

University from Purdue this
year.
His impressive list of
directorial credits include
not only productions at
Purdue and University of
Wisconsin-Madison, but he
also worked on plays in New
York City, directing talents
such as Calista Flockhart,
now T.V.'s "Ally McBeal."
This year marks the 100th
anniversary of the revered
Spanish playwright Federico
Garcia Lorca's birth, and
Knopf saw fit to give him a
proper birthday honor, in a
11 feature 16 actors from the

more experimental, surrealist plays," Knopf said
about why he chose this particular work.
"So in a way, 'Blood Wedding' allows audience
members to experience the full range of Lorca's
talent as a playwright," he said.
The plot is an intense one. The author twisted a
famous news item from his time, in which a future
bride suddenly elopes with her cousin, bringing
the groom in a frenzied chase after her, only to see
him jailed for the murder of the bride's cousin. It
is later revealed that the cousin was killed not by
the estranged groom, but his brother.
Lorca's obsession with tragedy drove him to
recreate this event for the stage, fictionally deep-
ening it to reveal an ages-old vendetta between
families, not unlike "Romeo and Juliet."
But the plot is about the only similarity between
Shakespeare's classic and Lorca's masterpiece.
"Blood Wedding" begins firmly rooted in reality,
but swirls deeper and deeper into a surrealist
dreamscape that loses all connection to rationality.
Moreover, -in contrast to "fair Verona," the play
is set within the arid and enigmatic landscape of
Andalusia, and the Spanish cultural influence
greatly affects the text.
This is both enriching and problematic for the
director and cast. Due to the almost poetic nature
and rich lyricism of Lorca's writing, finding an
English translation that delivers the same impact
can provoke a dilemma.

Fortunately for Knopf, a recent translation by
Michael Dewell and Carmen Zapata of the
Bilingual Foundation for the Arts in Los Angeles
more than satisfies this obstacle. Knopf believes
the text is simultaneously accessible to English
speakers and faithful to Lorca's original speech
because the scripts translators are completely
'bilingual.
As for the other cultural elements such as music
and dance, that are pivotal to the plot, Knopf also
discovered the compositions of John Bracewell
from Ithaca college, written expressly for "Blood
Wedding" that captured the effect he wanted.
"I find that his music evokes a combination of
Spanish folk music and carnival music, contribut-
ing to the darkness in the production," he said.
To further reflect the disconnection from reality,
the production also utilizes pieces from various
musical genres, such as Latin American folk
music, ultimately arriving at a "sensual no man's
land in the final act."
It seems as if this Knopf has passion and expe-
rience abound to make this complex production
transport audiences this weekend.
It may be an risky undertaking, but if it works,
it will be all the more worthwhile.
"Blood Wedding" runs tomorrow through
Saturday at 8 p.m. and on Sunday at 2
p.m. Tickets are $7 with ID. Call 764-0450,for'
more ticket information.

courtesy of University Productions
Catherine Baugh and Daniel Kahn star In Federico Garcia Lorca's rural tragedy
"Blood Wedding."

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance program.
"'Blood Wedding' is almost certainly his most
stylistically diverse play, blending elements of his
realistic drama, his folk drama and some of his

Five fab divas take over the stage in 'Alice'

Off A 9Cm siganiiLnnktniie

Garth Heutel
Arts Writer
As the publicist for VH-l will tell you:
Divas rule. For those of us who agree
and can't get enough of fantastically tal-
ented women, we should be happy to
discover that we have our own share of
divas right here in Ann Arbor.
One can see them this weekend as
Basement Arts presents its first musi-

A wa My
Name is
Alice
Arena Theater
Tomorrow at 8 p.m.;

cal offering of the
season with "A ...
My Name is
Alice," a revue
conceived by
Joan Micklin
Silver and
Julliene Boyd.
The revue
explores the issues
of women today
through songs,
monologues and
short scenes.
Many different
artists contributed

Called Life."
The show is directed by musical the-
atre junior Todd Buonopane, who chose
the show because of the appreciation he
has of the connections that women make
with each other.
"The revue has something to say," he
said, "but at the same time it is extreme-
ly entertaining. It's hard to find a good
mix like that."
Buonopane first saw the show a few
years ago. He found it extremely moving
and found himself with many of the
tunes constantly running through his
head.
Although a musical revue, the show is
tied together by a single concept. It deals
with five women who find strength in
each other.
"The show is about, in a very real way,
what women go through," Buonopane
said.
He insists that the highlight of the
show is the amazing cast. The perfor-
mance featured five women in the musi-
cal theatre department: Courtney Balan,
Erin Braithwaite, Brittany Brown, Celia
Keenan-Bolger and Jessica Murphy - all
of whom Buonopane calls "five of the

best women I have ever met." Because of
them the show should deliver some
tremendous performances.
"They have put their hearts and souls
into this revue," Buonopane said. "The
true emotion comes from them."
Five funky divas performing in one
small theatre might be too much for the

weak of heart, but those who can handle
it should prepare for the first time any-
one has seen five women this talented
together since Ginger Spice hit the road.
"A... My Name is Alice" runs on
tomorrow at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m.
and 11 p.m. and Saturday at 7p.m.
Admission isfree.

Study Abroad
Visiting Students
Summer Session
For Study Abroad:
(212)84-2559
e-mail:
For other programs:
e-mail:
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Visiting Students
If vou need more reasons to be in New York,
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Summer Session '99
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UM ATHLETICS, AND STUDENT AFFAIRS PROGRAM COUNCIL PRESENT
ONE NIGHT OF DRINKING,
A LIFETIME OF CONSEQUENCES
ALCOHOL AWARENESS PRESENTATION
"He uses both humor and real
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