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March 29, 1999 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-29

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8A -The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 29, 1999

Holocaust documentary to screen

Honey' sweetened
at H il perfonnance

By Matthew Banett
Daily Arts Writer
Fresh off its Academy Award for Best Documentary
Feature, "The Last Days" appears tonight at the
Michigan Theater. The film tells the stories of five Jewish
people from Hungary and their
experiences in concentration
camps through a series of inter-
views. The conversations are
The Last heartbreaking, painful and eye
Days opening as the survivors give us a
* glimpse of the horror that they
experienced during World War II.
At the Michigan Those featured here said that
Theater they were never very concerned
with Hitler's rise to power in
Germany, mainly because they
thought his influence would never
be felt in Hungary. Then, almost
overnight, the Germans were tak-
ing them out of their houses, as
people that they considered to be among their closest
friends looked on.
One of the most powerful moments in the movie
involves a survivor, Renee, discussing the choices that
she had to make in terms of what she was allowed to
bring with her. She decided on a bathing suit that her

ing the prisoners' mouths, she swallowed the diamonds
and began a horrible cycle in order to keep possession of
the special stones. Eventually the diamonds were shaped
into a tear-drop necklace, which will be passed down for
generations to come in the woman's family.
Then there is the story of three friends who promised
to protect each other from the guards at any cost. When
an official noticed that one of them was limping, he
pulled out his gun and prepared to shoot. The other two
boys stepped into the line of fire, but ultimately moved
when the guard threatened to kill them all. One of the
men, who was interviewed, is still haunted by the fact that
he feels he let his friend down.
Intercut with these interviews is footage from the con-
centration camps along with video of the survivors
returning to their hometowns or the sites of the camps.
Many of the people are seeing these places for the first
time in 50 years and the power of these scenes is undeni-
able. The footage from the concentration camps is near-
ly unbearable, and although it is well used at some points,
by the end it seems that the makers are lulling in it just a
bit too much.
"The Last Days" is not an uplifting story or one that
leaves viewers with a great deal of hope. But like many
of the World War II movies recently released, it gives us
a little better perspective of the horrors of the war and the
concentration camps.

By Jeff Dnrchn iak
Daily Arts Writer
Hill Auditorium's atmosphere was
exciting this past Friday night. From
the front rows to the cheap seats, it felt
more like an old-fashioned revival tent
than a concert. In a way it was, as the
Washington D.C. a cappella group
Sweet Honey in the Rock led the con-
gregation to the altar of music.
The six black women of Honey,
who are touring to celebrate their 25th
anniversary, performed two blindingly
soulful 80-minute sets -plus an encore
- of a wide repertoire that included
jazz, gospel, R&B, blues, reggae and
traditional African music, much of it in
the form of their own compositions.
Their voices were accompanied with
simple percussion instruments and the
American Sign Language interpreta-
tions of Elsa Hamilton, who is justifi-
ably considered a full member of the

group for the contributions her
dance-hall-inflected gyrations adde
to the performance, even for those
who don't know sign language.
Soprano Nitanju Bolade Casel
selected each song to be performed by
her colleagues. This unorthodox role of
the designated "programmer" is a duty
that the members of Sweet Honey rotate
among themselves from concert to con-
cert. Group founder and director Bernice
Johnson Reagon explained that this con-
cept, inspired by her childhood experi-
ence in black churches, makes "each con
cert a composition by the programmer."
"It's a leap of faith," Reagon
observed, and Friday the audience was
more than willing to make that leap
with Sweet Honey. Audience mem-
bers applauded and hooted after
almost every song, and often during
one when especially charmed by the
vocal pyrotechnics.

Annete Latos Latos ,i. .o "tesy o October Fims
.R ete anad To/iLantos enjoy their gradIldrn
father had brought from a business trip, feeling that as
long as she had it she would be able to remember the bet-
ter days. Eventually, upon arriving in the camp she was
forced to give up the suit and ended up losing a great deal
of hope because of it.
Another wrenching story involves a girl who was given
diamonds by her mother with which to buy bread in the
camps. After sneaking them past the checkpoint where
valuates were supposed to be left, she placed them in her
mouth. Upon seeing that further ahead they were check-

-.

UProd's 'Flute'interpretation enchants

Futuraiia"

By Julie Munjack
Daily Arts Writer
"The Magic Flute," arguably the finest opera
of Mozart's career, can also be seen as the
zenith of the University's theatrical experi-

R E E W
The Magic
Flute
Mendelssohn
Theater
March 25, 1999

ences. With its unprece-
dented musical score and
the brilliant opening night
performance, the lengthy
opera seemed like a brief
dream.
The opera focuses on the
conflicting qualities that
exist in human beings. As a
result, every element must
support, but not overwhelm
this concept.
Every aspect of
Thursday night's perfor-
mance fit together seem-
lessly. Conducted by
the University Philharmonia

the 38-member group carried the audience
through the opera, giving texture and feeling to
the performance.
The strength and meaning of Mozart's words
were enhanced by the performer's voices. Each
singer was appropriately casted for their respec-
tive abilities.
Papegeno, a countryman, played by Gary
Moss, won the hearts of the audience members.
Moss's powerful vocal stylings, facial expres-
sions and intense eyes naturally portrayed
Papegeno's charisma and honesty.
Similarly, Tamino, a rational and determined
prince played by Scott Piper, yearns to consum-
mate his love with Pamina, who was portrayed
by Marcia Porter. Tamino's determination and
persistence to achieve his goal wass illustrated
by Piper's powerful and confident voice.
In addition to the impressive soloists, two
choruses played an integral part of "The Magic
Flute." Covering the stage, the all-men's ensem-
ble had a passionate and remarkable moment.
Joining their voices in perfect unison, their
individual words permeated throughout the the-
ater, becoming a single instrument.
Dressed in fairy-like clothing, the per-

former's appearance paralleled the opera's
enchantment and adventure. In pastel gowns
with flowing layers, the women seemed as if
they were part of another world - a world
which could possess a magic flute.
With a bold use of color in both costumes and
lighting, the all-white minimalist set empha-
sized the importance of the character's words
and the underlying ideas of the opera.
Mozart's sexist lyrics caused smirks and
whispering throughout the course of the show.
The audience, recognizing the difference
between Mozart's reality and the present, found
reserved humor in these comments. In response
to Sarastro's (Allen Schrott comment, regarding
the queen's irrational, impulsive actions, an
elderly man said to his wife: "See that's what
happens when you give *a woman power."
Culminating in a magical scene, the fairytale
ending provides a feeling of fantasy.
Surrounded by falling stars and the soothing
voices of the chorus, Tamino has united with
his love, Pamina. The combination of their lov-
ing words and alternating use of the magic flute
left the audience satisfied.
The cast deserved a standing ovation, per-

Kenneth Kiesler,

Orchestra was the backbone of the production.
With fluid precision and natural ease, the
orchestra set the opera's mood, atmosphere and
rhythm. Bringing Mozart's masterpiece to life,

forming with eloquent precision. Exercising
their talent and charm, every performer gave a
unique twist to Mozart's original work.

flunks well
Dail Film Editor
Matt Groening is a genius. He has cre-
ated the greatest comedy ("T,
Simpsons")that has ever been on TV *
one ofthe two greatest shows that has ever
been.
That's what makes "Futurama" all the
more painful: It's not funny. Instead, it's
derivative garbage with potential to
bounce back in its second episode if
Groening can bring some of "The
Simpsons"'s charm and originality to this
series.
But as it stands after its first distin,
rotten first episode, "Futurama" is a dW
tinct disappointment.
"Futurama" is the story of Fry (voice
of Billy West), a pizza delivery boy who
accidentally falls into a chrogenic freezer
on December 31, 1999 and wakes up
December 31, 2999. As the time passes
we see the world
grow, get
destroyed by
aliens, get rebuilt
Futurama only to i
** destroyed again,
until finally the
Sunday at 8:30, world of the 31st
starting in two Century rises up.
weeks: Tuesdays at When he
arrives in the
future, Fry decides
to resist the totali-
- tarian structure
and fight t
power (how ori
nal!). He is at once
hunted and aided by the one-eyed alieir
Leela (Katey "That's Mrs. Peggy Bundy
to you" Sagal) and the robot Bender (John
DiMaggio).
The pilot episode takes these thni'
through a head museum and into the city
under a city. It also saddles them with
jokes that don't work and silly situations
that seem like outtakes from "Thy
Simpsons."
The show has perhaps three fud
jokes, but for the most part all of the
humor falls flat. It seems as if the show is
trying so hard to be funny, but it can't
overcome the stale storyline. Most of thee
jokes are 61d hat and so offbeat they seem
forced. It's as if "Futuama" wants to be
"The Simpsons 300E'
Perhaps the show's disappointing per-
formance has more to do with the high
expectations Groening's presence rea
than the show's poor quality. Most every-
thing that comes out these days really
sucks. "The Simpsons"'s fans and TV
audiences just expect more out of
Groening.
Keep in mind, though, the first season
of "The Simpsons" wasn't very good. It
took "The Simpsons"two seasons to real-
ly grow into the powerhouse it is these
days. Then again, Groening knows a lot
more about series TV today than he knew
years ago.
STUDENTS WITH
CROHN'S DISEASE
OR ULCERATIVE
COLITIS
Please join
Dr. Ellen Zimmermann
Asst Professor of
Gastroenterology, U of M
for an informal discussion

m

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