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October 01, 2001 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-01

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8A -The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 1, 2001

ARTS

4

Lessons of love, faith and friendship
shine through in 'Hearts in Atlantis'

By Jenny Jeltes
Daily Arts Writer

If there is one thing that everyone
must know about Stephen King, it is
that he' has an amazing ability to
explore the
s upern atural,
which is often-
times frighten-
Hearts in ing, as his
Atlantis countless novels
Grade: B+ reveal. Despite
At Showcase his reputation
anQulty16 being cast into
and Quality 16 .the horror/thriller

sweet memories of his past. The story
then fades in to about thirty years ago,
where the same Bobby (Anton
Yelchin) lived with his mother (Hope
Davis).
The story has a great pace, neither
lingering too long nor rushing through
crucial character development. Not
only is Bobby's friendship with the
new upstairs neighbor, Ted Brautigan
(Anthony Hopkins), convincing, his
relationship with his overly suspicious
and selfish mother is intriguing and
strengthens the foundation of the
entire plot.
In addition, his friendship with
Carol is believable, and although there
is a little bit of a love story involved
(she was his first kiss), their relation-

ship does not cross the line into
cheesiness or detract the audience
from other important elements.
Anthony Hopkins delivers an excel-
lent performance as a somewhat mys-
terious, yet genuine and kindhearted
man. After moving into the upstairs
apartment, Mr. Brautigan, insisting on
being called Ted, quickly appeals to
Bobby. Without a father (he passed
away), Bobby finds himself happy and
secure in Ted's presence. Soon learn-
ing about his strange tendencies, how-
ever, such as recalling things about
Bobby before being told, Bobby real-
izes there is something larger to learn.
Being somewhat employed by Ted,
Bobby receives S I a week to read him
the paper because of his eyesight, but

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genre, some of
his work proves
-otherwise ("The
Green Mile"),
where paranor-
mal tendencies

are secondary to the more comforting
lessons of love, faith and friendship.
Thus "Hearts in Atlantis," directed by
Scott Hicks and based on King's
novel, also disproves a stereotype by
instilling tension in far more subtle
and touching ways.
The story begins when Robert
Garfield (David Morse) attends a
friend's funeral. His friend John Sulli-
van, known as "Sully," was one of his
best friends from childhood and also a
Vietnam veteran. After learning the
news that his other childhood com-
panion, Carol Gerber, had passed
away, he wanders back to his home-
town and old house, struck with bitter-

more importantly, to keep an- eye out
for strange looking men and clues that
would indicate that Ted is being pur-
sued by some "bad people."
Yelchin also does a great job with
his role. The cute, innocent-eyed boy
adds important elements to his charac-
ter, revealing Bobby's confidence,
intelligence and wit. The Il-year-old
gives several lighthearted wisecracks,
leaving the audience with a smile. In
fact, there is not one actor that does a
less than great job in the film.
Sully's role, however, is virtually
absent, which doesn't make much
sense since his death was the foil lead-
ing into the entire story. Although the
times shared between Bobby and
Carol were stirring, if Sully was so
important, perhaps it should have been
Carol's funeral instead. Despite this
small initial flaw, it is the story
between Ted and Bobby that is most
important.
After learning Ted's secret (I will
not spoil this for you), Bobby soon
realizes that Ted will have to leave.
This sad moment is a usual tear-
inducing turning point (obvious from
my own drippy nose and the many
watery eyes around me), yet it is not
merely a ploy to invoke emotional
reaction.
It really is sad, and one can't help
but feel compassion for Bobby, who,
at such a young age, has had to deal
with so very much: The death of his
father, a judgmental mother who does-
n't "trust" Ted and now the parting of
a special friend who he will never see
again.
Although the ending is sad, life still
goes on, and as Ted says to Bobby,
"We're all just passing through,
kiddo." This simple thought is a nice
place to end, or begin . . or simply
emphasize that each moment in life is
so precious and must be held dear in
our hearts.

Courtesy of University Productions
Yang Sun (Joe Hendrix) and Shui Ta (Lauren Spodarek) in "The Good Person of Szechwan."

By Autumn Brown.
Daily ArtsWriter

Songs, poems, action
intertwine in 'Person'

Are nice. people really left with the
soggy end of the sandwich? Jimmy
Stewart probably thought so, but the

The Good
Person of
Szechwan
Trueblood Theater
October 4-14

4

character, Shen-
Teh of "The Good
Person of Szech-
wan" begs to dif-
fer. In this
unusual drama by
Berliot Brecht of
"The Threepenny
Opera" fame, a
young Chinese
woman struggles
to remain good in
the presence of a
corrupt society.
"It sounds like
a parable," said

Courtesy of Castle Rock Entertainment

"Money, artistic integrity... same difference."

Malcolm Tulip, director of the produc-
tion. "But it's a little more complicated
than that." Tulip believes that Brecht's
concept for the play indicated a disin-
terest in storytelling, and instead a
venue through which a particular mes-
sage would'be imparted to his audience.
During the early decades of the 20th
century, Brecht experienced first-hand
the desperation of the Germans. He,
too, heard Hitler's lies and saw the

tyi ee h

"victorious" German soldiers battered
and beaten. In fact, he felt the indigna-
tion all the way to his Marxist soul.
Brecht dreamed of a form of theatrical
art, which would not only entertain his
audience, but also move them. This
dream resulted in the birth of this epic
play.
Tulip chose the secondary version of
the play, nicknamed the "Santa Monica
version," which eliminates a few
lengthy scenes and focuses more atten-
tion on the character, Shen-Teh.
Although songs are included, they serve
a purpose divergent of the usual one,
which is often projecting the emotions
of the characters. "Songs and poems
frequently interrupt the action of the
play," he said. "The songs prevent the
audience from getting hypnotized.
Instead the audience must think about
what is going on, and resist escapism."
The songs for "The Good Person of
Szechwan" have been created especial-
ly for the show by Frank Pahl, who also
wrote the songs for last year's produc-
tion of "The Tempest." Pahl has also
written the score for four of Tulip's
eight original plays.
Tulip believes that it is important that
the actors understand the subtle mes-
sages implemented in the story. There-
fore, he has been reading and
discussing the play with the cast in
great detail as a supplement to regular
rehearsals. In addition, he instructed the
cast to make up their own epilogues for
the play, one of which will be included
along with Brecht's epilogue.
As theater majors, rehearsals and
shows consume a large portion of the
actors' lives, but they all believe the
experience of performing onstage is
worthwhile. Senior Lauren Sporadek,
who plays the character, Shen-Teh, said,
"[acting] has always been the thing that
has made me the happiest. I did many
auditions, but in the end I fell in love
with this school. It's been wonderful -
especially with such great professors
and actors.
Joe Hendrix, senior, who plays the
character, Yang Sun, shares his fellow
cast member's enthusiasm for acting. "I
love making people think and that's
what I am doing when I am on stage, as
opposed to just talking to them, trying
to convince them of my opinion," he
said. "I believe that vulnerability is one
of the most vital characteristics an actor
can have."

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