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September 09, 1999 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-09

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k ation festivalAan & gt Tomorrow In Daily Arts:
M an animation screens at the Michigan Theater. As part of U Check out Daily Arts for reviews of the new films "Trick,.
Goethe-Institut's fall film series, a collection of animation by "Stigmata" and 'White Boss."
ous filmmakers will be shown. 7 p.m.
-RT ShThursday
September 9, 1999
lusical Titanic' tells more than story o sinkg sp

Christopher Tkaczyk
y ArtsWriter
Titanic," the musical by Maury Yeston
Peter Stone, has moored in Detroit for
beginning of its new national tour.
ring the name, one may guess what
tanic" is all about. Strangely enough, that
ill probably be wrong.
Wrrect guess would include the human-
of natural tragedy, highly distinct social
ss seperatism, abuses of power led from
ed, compromise and compliance, hope for
cess in a new land. Oh ... and a sinking
Vith all the drama and intertwined bits of
logue that reveal the passengers of
nic, one might forget while watching the
formance that a catastrophic event is
I at doesn't mean "Titanic" is without
plentiful helpings of
foreshadow and impend-
ing doom. Composer
Yeston hasn't abandoned
T n the dramatic effects of
strings and cresendoes
-not to mention eerie
isher Theater telegraph blips. Just in
Sept. 7, 1999 case the audience gets
too wrapped up in the
characters, clues are
structurally inserted
throughout the entire
musical. Iceberg warn-
ings aren't the most
obvious clue, and black
cats aren't often passen-
s on luxury steam liners.
'his "Titanic," structured not of steel and
ts but of flesh and bone, is the most
nan telling of that tragic night in April,
t examines (and delivers to) our need
comparison to the helpless victims of the
>edy. It tells of man's unfortunate need to
ninate the earth through excess and prop-
y. It demands tears from audiences
ause it conveys an understanding of sor-
v and loss - not of that great ship or its
sres, but of its passengers.
Titanic" equally plays out the lives of its
e class divisions. The upper, richer,
otier class is sampled through its sense of
> - especially in the last moments

A triumverite u powsv'r, Andrews the
builder, Smith the captain tand Ismay the
owner, ir. the flwtss if titinic. A great ship
cannot stay afloat it theteire itono great men
to guide ithi tugh 0 atei. placid or temnpes-
tous. With All rgedie'. a villain must be
made in takeW resptnsibiliv Who is there to
blame fr a dtisier 4I such magnitude'? No
one. At least, , one who can muster the
courage to idit defeat and rest in the grave
of the ship. Ismay s greed is one cause of
Titanics death. as is ( apt Smith's willing-
ness to comply all to hurry along to
retirement The dreamer Andrews, who was
forced to compromise sl'afety for space, hero-
ically claims responsibility and pays with his
Unfortunately, the sinking of "Titanic" is
anti-climactic. In part, the lack of special
effects in this touring production have limit-
ed its eye candy capabilities. The original
Broadway set design included three decks of
the ship onstage at once, as well as falling
wreckage and sliding furniture. At the Fisher,
only one deck is viewed per scene. This
"Titanic' tilts, but the sinking is left to cur-
tains and lighting
As is needed for enjoyment of all theater,
suspension of disbelief should be taken to
"Titanic' and used in abundance. Given the
interior consistencies of the characters and
the fall of their dreams and futures, "Titanic"
will cause eyes to water shed. Fitting the
grand ship on a stage is impossible. Fitting
human lives and their stories is mandatory in
the theater. and that's where" Titanic" suc-
Theater educates without lecturing. It
shows, rather than tells - the very reason
this musical's epilogue aboard the Carpathia
is unnecessary. A row of survivors spouting
numerical facts of lives lost and tons
weighed and degrees chilled can't compare
with reliving the experience through theater,
which drives this "Titanic" to sail on, God
The opening of the "Titanic" national tour
runs thrwgh September 26 at the Fisher
Theater in Detroirt. For tickets, visit the
Michigean Union Ticket Office or call
Ticketmaster at (248) 654-6666. For theater
directions and more inmforation, call (3/3)

The cast of "Titanic" sings lightheartedly, unprepared for the impending doom.
aboard ship when a beverage cart is pushed full of hope and life. The three Kates, an
across the deck by a calm, life jacket-wearing Irish trio of women hoping to marry the men
servant. It's only when gravity takes effect they've either left behind or stowed aboard,
and the cart slowly rolls seaward that the tilt- recall the pre-greenhorn stage of an immi-
ed upperclass realize the seriousness of their grant's life. It's only too bad that the musi-
situation. cal's creators left out the colorful lives of the
The Romanticism of the middle class is entire steerage class, whose stories were
attractive in "Titanic," giving personable more telling and adventurous than that of
association to the logical understanding of Benjamin Guggenheim.
the tragedy. Two couples from Titanic's sec- A saddened tune of age and weariness
ond class passengers drolefully examine underscores many of the musical's pulse-dri-
those above them and those down below. A yen scenes, including an important dance
fascination for the rich, longing for a better number where the three classes meld.
life while not fully satisfied with their "Autumn" arrives at a time when each of
achievements, expose them as ordinary pro- these characters are approaching the autumns
fessional folk who live with dreams of excess of their lives.
during the day, but go to bed every night with There are no headlining talents involved
reality. with "Titanic." Each character is treated with
The poor of the ship, steerage passengers the same amount of inspection and impor-
of the third class, are presentably-groomed, tance, causing for no specific leading roles..

However, the romantic stoker Frederick
Barrett, played by Marcus Chalt, sings a
devotional long song in "The Proposal" dur-
ing an intriguing radio room scene. The pity
of the Radioman, Harold Bride, portrayed by
Dale Sandish, unveils as his infatuation with
his radio mirrors that of Barrett's beloved.
Bride's love (or need for communicative
power) combines well with the admonition.
The most strikingly touching moment
arrives when an elderly couple sing of their
40 years of married bliss. She has agreed that
she will not leave her husband's side. After
43 years, she says, how can she live another
day without him? "Still." a tender and mov-
ing ballad, recalls the joy of love and the
power it has over death. For a moment, the
audience forgets that the elderly couple are
Isidor and Ida Straus, owners of Macy's
department store.

'Cruel Intentions'
rele ased onD

Locals rock to close School of Americas

B atthew Barrett
DArts Writer
Writer-director Roger Kumble
takes his stab at Choderlos De
Laclos' "Les Liaisons
Dangereuses" with "Cruel
Intentions," a modern day update
involving a group of rich teens
living in New York City.
The setup is irresistible -
Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar)
bets her stepbrother Sebastian
(bn Phillippe) that he can't
de ower a well-known virgin
(played by Reese Witherspoon). If
he fails Kathryn gets his beloved
car, and if he succeeds - well, he
gets Kathryn.
It's pretty clear that "Cruel
Intentions" isn't shooting for the
upper echelon of cinema history,
but that's part of its charm.
Everything is overdone - from
tlialogue to the love scenes to
the performances by the three
leads - and that's part of why we
can accept this unrealistic world
that they live in.
Fans of flick will be pleased to
find multiple extra features
included on its DVD version. The

commentary track, which features
several important behind-the-
scenes players including Kumble,
Theo Van De Sande (director of
photography) and Jon Gary Steele
(production designer). is a bit of a
There are just too many people
trying to talk at once and what
they have to say is never very
interesting. A better move would
have been a track featuring
Kumble and a few members of the
The disc also contains six
deleted scenes, many of which are
introduced by Kumble. None of
the six are very interesting and
after watching them, it becomes
clear why they weren't included
in the film's final cut.
The only other items of interest
are two featurettes on the making
of the movie. Both include inter-
views with the cast and crew and
provide some insight into how the
look and feel of the film was cre-
Simple and seedy, "Cruel
Intentions" may aim low but at
least it hits the mark.

By Jeff Druchniak and Jo Serrapere: While the pre-intermission acts,
Daily Arts Writer which included burgeoning a cappella group Sacred
The national political movement to close the Song and solo artists Heidi Alwin-Snvder, Jeanne
United States Army School of the Americas has been Mackey and Kristine Pettersen, displayed a uniform-
garnering more attention lately. It flexed its muscles ly pleasing earnestness that gained the approbation of
on the Ann Arbor scene Tuesday night at the Ark on most in attendance, the gallery's reactions indicated
S. Main. Represented by local organizers from the that they were waiting principally for Hunter and
Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, local musi- Serrapere.
cians gathered to support the It soon became clear why, as Hunter and
closing of the SOA with their Serrapere's all-too-brief sets - only three songs each
. 3 performances. - supercharged the energy level in the room, tran-
* The School of the Americas is scending the simplicity of their voice-and-guitar sohi-
Benefit a taxpayer-funded, heart-of- tude onstage. The two young women's greater experi-
Concert Dixie military installation where ence and comfort with live performance was immedi-
The Ark Latin American countries have ately apparent, especially the cracklingly charismatic
Sept7z 1999 for decades sent soldiers to be Hunter, who combined a fiercely-tough intelligence
trained by U.S. military person- with a red-hot, childlike braggadocio.
nel in paramilitary and coun- Hunter kicked off the post-intermission entertain-
terinsurgency techniques. meet with the funky "My Purple Hair," a killer dare-
The crowd, which nearly me-to-grow-up boogie that the artist described as
packed the intimate Ark, warm- "showing off my inner bitch" Hunter modulated
ly embraced the short sets per- without difficulty into the impassioned ballad
formed by the six acts on the "Breathe" and the fed-up satire of "Spin," all the
bill, five of which were singer- while showing off her lethal weapon of a voice, by
songwriters. But the natives appeared to grow restless turns sexy sneer and whiskey-laced whisper.
while. after each act, emcee and Interfaith Council Even more pleasantly surprising was the assured,
representative Mary Anne Perrone plugged the ICPJ's but never cliched way Hunter needled the audience
activities in support of the Close SOA movement. between songs, convincing everyone she was sincere-
Perhaps this was attributable to the crowd's antici- ly having a blast onstage.
pation of the two featured performers, Lisa Hunter Serrapere's demeanor was a little smoother and

more subdued, but convinced the audience equally
well that it was in the hands of a professional. While
Serrapere was not above poking gentle fun at the
description of herself in the program, she was all
business as she dived into the blues standard "C.C.
Rider." With the help of that showcase of her guitar
virtuosity, Serrapere outshined the muscular, but
more conventional aplomb of Hunter's playing.
Serrapere's money shot, however, was the next
song, the epic scream-into-the-void "Oil and Water,"
whose narrator is a victim of sexual abuse at the
hands of her uncle. As it got into character,
Serrapere's voice, which was so melodious at first lis-
ten, took on such white-hot intensity as to leave the
listeners woozy by the end of the song. In fact, they
didn't recover enough to give Serrapere the degree of
applause she had earned until a song later. Serrapere's
mix of raw interpretation with finely crafted song-
smithing brought about an emotional peak that tran-
scended the moment, but nonetheless reminded the
audience of the sincere convictions that had brought
the performers together to sacrifice their skills for
this benefit. Admittedly, they might have seemed
irreconcilable opposites. But Hunter's playful rebel-
lion on "My Purple Hair" and Serrapere's righteous
fury on "Oil and Water" were like split images of the
quality they shared with the activism on behalf of El
Mozote's victims: the bare-fisted support for the
downtrodden and the underdog that just might still be
the heart of rock and roll

(n l fI

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