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October 30, 2000 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-10-30

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8A -- *he Michigan Daiiy--- Monday, October 30, 2000

ARTS

Downey, Jr.
shakes up
4th season
By Jenny Jeltes
Daily Arts Writer
Last Monday, "Ally McBeal" fans
welcomed the show's fourth season.
Those who enjoy
watching "Ally"
were brought
Ally back into her
McBeal quirky world of
humor, relation-
Fox ships and every-
Mondays at 9 p.m. d a y
complications.
The addition of
Robert Downey,
Jr. to the cast
brings a lot of
anticipation, for
you can already
speculate a new love interest in- Ally's
life.
In the season premiere,.Ally (Calista
Flockhart) is invited to move in with her
current boyfriend, Bryan. Stunned and
flustered, Ally's instinct tells her no.
With encouragement and insight from
her roommate, Renee (Lisa Nicole Car-
son), and her fellow co-workers, Ally
realizes that not only is she questioning
his invitation, but also the continuance
of their relationship altogether.
Upon running into Larry (Robert
Downey, Jr.) in her former therapist's
office, Ally shares her dilemma, mistak-
enly believing that Larry is a new thera-
pist in town, when he is actually another
lawyer. Larry, who is witty, confident
and intriguing, sets her straight. The
underlying flirtatious attraction between
the two is obvious.
Although Bryan has all the right qual-
ities - sincerity, compassion and trust
- and Ally knows this is an opportunity
to settle into a stable and "content" situ-
ation, she realizes how dreadfully boring
he is and decides to break it off. Here
ends another relationship, although the
aftershocks have deeply affecred Ally as

THE POWER OF 'WIT'

courtesy of The Fox Network
Downey, Jr. to appear in "Ally," court, rehab.
she realizes that you just don't find
"someone to love" everyday. Finding
that her commitment to Bryan really
stemmed from her fear of loneliness,
viewers are once again sympathetic to
Ally and her situation.
What makes "Ally McBeal" a success
is the realistic and often absurd encoun-
ters Ally finds herself in. Ally is who
she is, doing the best she can to find
happiness and satisfaction. She shows
the audience that all those "little things"
aren't so trivial after all. Ally is one of
those people who has her head in the
clouds, but feet on the ground. If one
can manage a realistic view of oneself
and everyone around him or her, what
harm does a little daydreaming do?
Ally_'s fantasies are funny, yet very simi-
lar to our own. Be it stuck in an embar-
rassing situation and wanting to literally
shrink to the floor or imagining oneself
kicking the crap out of someone out of
utter frustration and anger, Ally demon-.
strates life's ups and downs.
We cannot forget Ally's fellow attor-
neys at law. Ally's friend and co-worker,
John (Peter MacNicol), still finds the
opportunity to make his nose whistle.
Despite seemingly strange characteris-
tics such as this, he seems just a bit
more confident this season. Perhaps this
is due to the previous success of over-
coming his initial shyness and awkward-
ness while dating the beautiful Nelle
(Portia de Rossi). Ling (Lucy Liu) is just
as cold and guarded as ever, always find-
ing the opportunity to throw in her two
cents. Richard (Greg Germann) still glo-
riously represents a typical image of a
male chauvinist pig.
You can't help but hook into all of the
characters' hilarious experiences, both
in and out of the office. The arrival of
Robert Downey, Jr. to the cast leaves
much to be anticipated. "Ally" still
remains an outlet for the thoughts and
actions we may hesitate to express.

By Rachel Bachrach
For the Daily
"Time goes so slowly, yet is so scarce," says Vivian
Bearing on her death bed, the main protagonist of Mar-
garet Edson's Pulitzer Prize winning play, "Wit." This
quote is just one of many that
sends the audience full of chills
during this 90-minute production.
Performance Network's interpre-
Wit tation of Wit is outstanding and
could not have
Performance been done with-
Network out the brave
performance of
October 27, 2000 actress Jan Rad-
cliff, who plays.
Prof. Bearing.
Bearing is a,
patient with
stage four ovari-
an cancer and
the play spans
the time of 12 months while she is in ,
the hospital. During this time, she '
takes the audience on a journey
through her past life; from the time "''
she was five reading her first book to
the times in her lectures when sher
gave no mercy to her students.
Bearing's character is a sardonic
and very intelligent academic who
teaches 17th Century holy sonnets by
John Donne, whose poems are full of co
metaphysical references and dry wit. Jan Radcliff as Viviai
She is strong-willed, witty (like
Donne's sonnets), and compassionless. As she tells the
audience her life story - in the hospital bed - her dry
sense of humor lets the reality of cancer really show.
ier encounters with the Chief of Medical Oncology, Dr.
Kelekian, and a clinical fellow, Jason, relay the hard and
cold feelings of doctor-patient relationships. Jason,
played by Nick Barnes, is only interested in the effects

of a new drug on tumors and would rather do research
than interact with human beings. Ironically, Jason was a
student of Prof. Bearing's and has now become just as
coldhearted as she once was to him. Susie, an R.N., is
Bearing's main caregiver and, although not the smartest
person, is the most compassionate. Both the character of
Jason and Susie, played by Kelly Pino, are acted very
convincingly and help the main paradox of being smart
and insensitive or not so smart yet sympathetic. Of
course, Bearing realizes that she once was as cruel as
Jason, yet now it is too late. As she comes to terms with
her final days, she realizes that "now is
the time for simplicity ... for kind-
ness," and she is finally at peace with
herself.
Although this play seems to be
about cancer, it is not. It is about find-
ing out how to live one's life while one
is living and not when it is too late.
Wit is beautifully written and also well
intertwined with Bearing as a profes-
sor of Donne's morbid and complicat-
ed sonnets. This shows Bearing's
strong will to teach one of the hardest
.poets and also her ability to hide
behind the wit of Donne and herself.
The other characters of the play com-
pliment Bearing well by stressing the
importance of human love and care for
one another.
Although there is much medical jar-
gon throughout the play, it is needed to
convey the authenticity of a hospital
of Performance Network setting. If anything, it makes the view-
Bearing in "Wit." er a little more knowledgeable at the
end of the play. The simple set just
enforces the importance of the language being spoken
by Bearing and her cast mates. Bearing believed that
being intelligent would make life worthwhile, but she
realizes in the end that one must have both intelligence
and compassion to lead a life of true bliss.
Perfornnunce Network s Wit ill be shown through
Nov. 19, Thurs-Sat at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.mi.

Courtesy ofThne roxNet
Fyvush Finkel: Say it five times fast,
Kel goes
'Pulici

Disco Biscuits: Hard and heavy

By Joshua Gross
Daily Arts Writer
The Disco Biscuits are a mule.
Their music is a genetic miscalcula-
tion, a freak combination, an amal-
gamation of species. Their style is
refreshingly unique, a combination
of jam-rock and techno blended

together like salty and sweet ingre-
dients in a recipe for booty-shaking.
And although the band shares the
mule's hybridity, they certainly lack
its sterility.
On Saturday night the Disco Bis-
cuits performed at the Michigan

/-1 19

/

ZY74

TOM a JZ

Biscuits
Michigan Theater
Oct. 28, 2000

ork ew7N eff el

Theater to an
audience eager
to have their
aural electrons
r e a r r a n g e d.
Over a short
t h r e e - y e a r
career, the
Disco Biscuits
developed a
reputation of
catering to the
tastes of their
fans while
simultaneously
pleasing their
own musical

tense as if waiting for the results of
an unknown medical examination.
Surrounded by calm, meandering
bass lines and docile guitar licks,
many, ensnared by the music, let
their guard drop.
This temporary relaxation is shat-
tered beyond repair by a sudden
technological ambush. The dread-
locks and Birkenstocks began to
fade out while the trancelike throt-
tle of a day-glow rave fades in. The
bass kicked up and the beat tumbled
down. Mechanical screeches and
utopian swishes swelled and burst
like Digweedian bubbles. Blatantly
masochistic in their playing style,
the Biscuits nearly sacrificed them-
selves onstage while playing such
marathon songs (songs that clocked
in at anywhete between five and 35
minutes) as "The Unspoken
Rhyme" and "Magellan," while dis.
playing their ox-like stamina with a
nonstop first set: "Jigsaw Earth >
Hope, Plan B> Jigsaw Earth> Plan-
B, Jam > Helicopters." The band
pulls this metamorphosis during
every performance, growing wings
and flying into uncharted techno
territory. This Saturday's show was
such a creature, the strange hybrid
that is the music of the Disco Bis-
cuits, taking off like a spaceship
launch and, bringing jaws hurtling
towards the floor.

We're looking for a qualified student to become
Elctronic M did MANdqagr
Must have HTML skills and know
a thing or two about website design
E-mail Isasg.web@umich.edu for more info

palettes. Their throng of devotees,
growing with every performance,
has discovered that listening to the
Disco Biscuits jam is like embark-
ing on an Amazonian safari without
a guide. Saturday's performance
was such a safari, as the audience
crossed pulsating mountains and
slid down vast ambient plains, danc-
ing until their hearts burst out of
their chests. The show began with a
small, excited audience, slightly

new school*
series
By Ryan Blay
Daily Arts Writer
Funny, I don't remember my high
school being so active and full of
stereotypical characters. Then again,
I'm not from Boston.
- For those of you who thought high
school was four years of boredom and
torture, this show should wake you
out of your slacker stupor. For those
over-involved, hyperactive students or
parents, Fox's newest hit show might
teach them to chill out a little. Either
way, it's fascinating for a student to
watch the opera-
tion of a school *
from the view-
points of the
Boston principal, vice
Pubic principal, and
the teachers -
The Fox Network the heart and,.
Tonight at 8 p.m. soul of the pub-
lic education
system.
This show is.
clearly an,
ensemble piece.
The most famil-
iar face to most
viewers of the
pilot episode was Zachary Ty Bryart
(the eldest son on "Home Improve-
ment"). However, the supporting cast,,
top to bottom;is excellent.
QbYiQ.,y1 this is a TV show and
not real life, so the characters are .
exaggerated a bit, but it is refreshing;
to see multi-dimensional characters
This is probably due to the influence".
wielded by uber-producer David E,-
Kelley ("Ally McBeal," "The Prac-...
tice"). Quirky, flawed, human charac-
ters are prevalent in his shows and
movies.
The hard but just Principal Harper
(Chi McBride) leads by example, but
antics in his school have him on the-'
hot-burner with the superintendent.
It's admirable how Harper deals wiA
everything from irate parents to guns
in school to first amendment rights in
a single episode. Even more feared is,
the vice-principal, Guber (Anthony
Heald). He routinely stares down
taller students, and enforces the laws
pretty teacher Lauren Davis (Jessalyn ,.
Gilsig). By the end of episode one, he
has a soft side.
All the teachers have their obsta-
cles to face. Davis is failing the star
running back, so the football player's
father threatens to sue. Harvey Lip-
shultz (Fyvush Finkel, "Picket
Fences") has history students threat-
ening the historical accuracy -of the
textbooks. Harry Senate (Nicky Katt)
has to deal with The Dungeon, the
top miscreants of the school. How
bad is The Dungeon? The last teacher
all but threatened suicide. Lawless*
ness reigns. So ambitious Senate
decides to pack heat. By shooting a
few blanks, he shuts them up all right,
but oversteps political correctness and
nearly loses his job.
Oh yes, he also had a brief affair
with student Dana Poole. Yes, "Elec-
tion" fans, this is going to cost him.
Poole is an Alicia Silverstone look-a-
like, one of the few students high
lighted in the premiere. She not only'
slept with Harry Senate, she also
refuses to wear a bra to school. In
tonight's episode, she has another
starring role, as she ignites an all-

school female protest against
brassieres and the secret of her affair

Get on the
government today!
-

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