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February 15, 1999 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-15

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University English Prof. Tobin Siebers reads at Shaman Drum.
Siebers will read from the recently published "Among Men," a
book discussing the meaning of manhood. 8 p.m.

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on the Block's latest release.
February 15, 1999

Guitarist Pepe Romero to appear with orchestra

By Jufle Munjack
For the Daily
Known for his brilliant performance and flaw-
less technique, Pepe Romero more than fifty
recordings for solo guitar, guitar with orchestra
and chamber music for gui-
tar. Romero joins the
unique Orpheus Chamber
x.. Orchestra for a concert on
Pepe Feb. 15.
Romero His most recent solo
Rackham album, "Opera Fantasy,"
Auditorium includes guitar pieces from
Tonight at 8. "Rigoletto," "La Traviata,"
"1l Trovatore," "Don
Giovanni" and "Faust"
With his father and sib-
lings, Romero began the
leading classical guitar
ensemble in the world -
The Romeros Quartet.
Although he will be per-
forming without his family tonight, Romero's
presence will ensure a new type of musical expe-
Sharing the stage with this world renowned gui-
tarist will be the incredible Orpheus Chamber

Orchestra. The group has performed for more than
25 years without a conductor. Unlike most orches-
tras it was created upon the idea that musicians
could work and perform as equals.
Each musician is given the opportunity to play
in the principal and secondary positions. This
guarantees that every player is given the chance to
both lead and follow the other members. From
piece to piece, the players' seating rotates, distrib-
uting the leadership and responsibility. Shifting
positions eliminates the blame from a single per-
son, creating a system of learning and teaching.
,In the more than 50 concerts they play
annually the orchestra has previously worked
with many soloists. Romero has played with
Orpheus on numerous occasions, playing
music composed specifically for guitar-
orchestra combinations.
The amazement hits when one realizes that all
of the music is being performed in the absence of
a conductor, and without mishaps or confusion. Its
fluid sounding rhythm, requires not only preci-
sion, but an extraordinary amount of cooperation
and skill.
Allan Kozinn from The New York Times said,
"Orpheus Chamber Orchestra precision and unity
of purpose evoked as much wonder as admira-

tion." Another New York Times writer describes
Orpheus as "a group that operates at a high level
of drama, because it feels drama naturally."
Ronnie Bausch, a violinist in the Orchestra for
24 years, describes Orpheus as a "multiconductor
ensemble," creating a "society of equals." When a
soloist joins the group, the musician takes on the
role of conductor, and a "partnership is formed,"
among the performers.
Bausch said the performance is like a "basket-
ball game, where every quick pass is like the
switching of leadership among the players." Using
this form, a community is created, which is evi-
dent both visually and audibly.
Justin Davidson, a journalist for Newsday mag-
azine writes, "Not only is Orpheus as waterproof
an ensemble as any conductor could demand, but
its musicians play with fused sense of urgency and
a cooperative commitment to detail."
Romero, along with the Orpheus Chamber
Orchestra are sure to perform an energetic and
inspiring program, one that no one will want to
Tickets for Pepe Romero are $22 to $36 and can
be purchased at the University Musical Society
Box Office, first floor of the Burton Memorial
Bell Tower Call 764-2538for more information.

Courtesy ofColum$Artists

Pepe Romero will perform with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra tonight.

Our Country's Good' falters wit slow development

By Jenni Glenn
Daily Arts Writer
Following a group of desperate crim-
inals in Australia's first prison colony,
this weekend's University Productions
s w had the potential to be a truly com-

Our Country'S
Mendelssohn Theater
Feb. 11, 1999

pelling drama.
Yet in spite of
its talented cast,
"Our Country's
Good" never
broke out of its
own prison.
Even with
graphic whipping
and sex scenes,
"Our Country's
Good" took more
than half of its
three-hour run-
ning time to
involve the audi-

of characters to identify with detracted
from the superb display of emotional
acting. In particular, Brendan
McMahon, in the role of guilt-ridden
prison guard Harry Brewer, reproduced
in an outright eerie manner a broken
man losing his sanity to ghosts.
In comparison to the fear inspired by
his creepy performance, the two leads
Andrew Bielski and Julia Siple seemed
saccharin and out of place in this drama
about desperation.
Yet many of the actors conveyed the
transformation of the prisoners in a very
realistic manner. During the second
rehearsal in the play, the convicts' fears
induced by the threats of Major Ross, a
leader of the colony opposing the play,
were palpable. This scene displayed, in a
culmination of tension, the difference in
the convicts' reactions to intimidation
and education.
All these powerful parts of the perfor-
mance, however, took place in the sec-
ond act. The first act contained only
exposition, merely setting up the con-
flicts for the rest of the drama.
Since all of the convict characters, and
several of the guards, came across as

mere animals in the first half, the audi-
ence lost interest in their activities.
Dominique Morisseau's angry perfor-
mance as convict Liz Morden and Angela
Lewis's mood swings as Duckling Smith,
although convincing, didn't push the
audience out of their indifference.
In particular, the scenes dragged
where the authorities of the prison dis-
cussed the play's fate or possible hang-
ings of prisoners. Although necessary to
establish the conflict between vicious
Major Ross, played by Joshua Parrott,
and Daniel Kahn as the civilized
Captain Arthur Phillip, these scenes
held no interest for an audience that did-
n't identify with the convicts' situation.
With less time devoted to setting up
the story line, this play could have
expressed the importance of efforts to
reform criminals very effectively. The
setting, however, muddled the relation-
ship of the situation to today's political
debates on the fate of overcrowded jails
and the death penalty. Even with the plot
based in real events, this story, at least
during the first act, seems like a relic
from another time that should have been
left there.

ence. For the viewers who did return after
intermission, their patience was reward-
ed, although it was too little, too late.
This obscure drama never allpwed
audience members to identify with con-
vi ts and prison guards trapped in a for-
e land. A gap of 200 years and thou-
Submissions to the
Daily literary
magazine are due
Feb. 19 at noon!
Call 763-0379
or e-mail
for more information.

,ourtesys, kuridountryskoo
Daniel Kahn, Aaron Sherry, Dominique Morriseau, Joshua Parrott, Nick Gabriel and Andrew Bleiski portray guards and criminals.

sands of miles combined with the
immeasurable societal gap between the
audience and the characters proved too
much for Timberlake Wertenbaker's

writing to bridge.
Wertenbaker attacked the question of
whether a criminal can be reformed. The
guards decided to educate the prisoners

by putting on a play. This process
changed the convicts in the cast from sav-
ages into compassionate human beings.
Until this change took place, the lack


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