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March 07, 2003 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-07

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March 7, 2003




By Sarah Peterson
Daily Fine Arts Editor
From the title character Cori-
olanus, a noble and great warrior
who despises the lower class, to the
two Tribunes, Sicinius Velutus and
Junius Brutus, who serve as the
speakers for the voiceless masses,
the Royal Shakespeare Company's
production of this Shakespearean
tragedy is nearly flawless. The tale
of Caius Martius' rise to glory, after
his single-handed defeat of the Vols-
cians, his fall into exile, when his
contempt is openly unleashed, and
then his near devastation of Rome,

his city, could not have
more beautifully.
For three hours, the
cast suspends the audi-
ence in a space outside
of reality, as they tell a
story of pride, betray-
al, love and grief.
From the first word to
the last, the story is not
enacted by actors play-
ing their roles, but

been enacted

Tonight at7
and Satu
At the Pow

rather by actors living their roles.
The lines flow as if new thoughts, as
opposed to recited, and the reactions
seem genuine as opposed to
rehearsed. The troupe lives up to
their namesake with a truly regal
Leading the company in this pro-
duction is Greg Hicks in the role of
Caius Martius, later Coriolanus.
Given that the role is one of a life-
long warrior, no one could have per-
formed the role better. Hicks always
makes his presence felt long before
speaking a single word. His posture
and walk both bespeak a man born to
fight, and made to lead men into bat-
tle. His stance is always one of com-
bat readiness, and his sword is
always at his side.
Coriolanus' only downfall is his
unchecked pride and his contempt for
the commoners, and Hicks brings this
aspect to life brilliantly. The audience
is driven to disapprove of his pride,
but compelled to respect his convic-
tion. Although full of scorn for com-
mon folk, Coriolanus is not a man
without love. He has friends that he
adores, and a mother, wife and son
who he cherishes deeply. It is this love
of his mother and friends that causes

him much anguish and pain, when try-
ing to come to terms with his banish-
ment. Again, Hicks gives a masterful
performance; portraying the internal
struggles of his character in such
detail (a clench of the jaw and a slight
trembling while choking back tears, or
a tension of the shoulders released)
that one can see the instant when a
decision is made.
Hicks steals the stage with his vivid
and colorful portrayal, but every other
performer.in the cast is exceptional.
Richard Cordery (Menenius) is the
friend that everyone hopes to find,
with a quick wit and the intelligence
to know when to use it, and a cheerful
countenance. Chuck Iwuji (Tullus
Aufidiuos) is the sworn enemy of
Coriolanus, but is a man
stricken with both love
and hate for the warrior
he has always aspired to
ANUS be. Hannah Young (Vir-
gilia) begins as the
7:30 p.m. quiet, unquestioning
rday at wife of Coriolanus, but
p.m' she breaks hearts when
er Center desperately pleading
with her husband to
have mercy on Rome. And playing the
other woman in Coriolanus' life,'Ali-
son Fiske is both commanding and
maternal, in her exquisite portrayal of
Coriolanus' mother.
The actors are the ones who trans-
form the story into the living, breath-
ing masterpiece that it is, but the set,
props, costumes, lighting, sound and
special effects add to the plays
detailed intricacy. The lights alter the
stage from the soft red haze of the
indoors, to the bluish tint of the night
sky. A fog blows on stage to portray
the dustiness of the streets, and the
mist of the battlefield. Finally, the
minimalist set, the authentic props and
music and the magnificent costumes,
all bring to life the theme of the Samu-
rai, a warrior trained from childhood
to be hard and without fear, a lifestyle
parallel to that of Coriolanus'.
While in residency, the Royal
Shakespeare Company will also be
performing "The Merry Wives of
Windsor" on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
and Sunday at 1:30 p.m., and "Mid-
night's Children" beginning next
Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Comprised
of a troupe of superb actors, all of
the three plays are more than worth a
night at the theater.

By Adam Rottenberg
Daily Arts Writer
This summer's blockbuster inde-
pendent romantic comedy makes the
leap from the big screen to the small
screen in CBS' new series "My Big
Fat Greek Life." Writer/actress Nia
Vardalos transformed her one-
woman show into a hysterical film
that became the most successful
independent film in history. Most of

bonds made the original film
charming but, while most of the
family returns to reprise their roles,
the actors are now playing carica-
tures of the motion picture charac-
ters. Michael Constantine's Gus,
Nia's father, simply acts in an over-
bearing manner throughout the
entire episode, while his wife
(Lainie Kazan) is always trying to
feed her daughter.
Without three dimensional charac-

Courtesy of CBS
They should get a bigger couch.
'My Bi g Fat Greek'
waste of a sitcom

the main players return
in the spin-off, but
they left the humor in
the theaters.
The show picks up
when Nia (Vardalos),
known as Toula in the
film, and Thomas
(Steven Eckholdt),

Sundays at 8 p.m.

ters, the jokes become
increasingly obvious
and lose what little
wit they might have
had. The jokes and
characters are so
forced that it seems as
if the actors are trying
too hard to elicit
laughter, especially
(Andrea Martin) con-

replacing John Cor- '
bett's Ian, return from their honey-
moon in Athens. In addition to the
minor character changes, the final
few minutes of the movie are disre-
garded as the honeymooners arrive
to find that Nia's overbearing father
has bought them a home. The plot of
the pilot revolves around the deci-
sion of whether or not to accept the
generous gift, and hilarity is sup-
posed to ensue. Instead, the story
deteriorates into a run of the mill sit-
com, eliminating the tone and humor
found in the feature film version.
The sincere comedy and familial

Aunt Toula's

stant sexual references.
Unlike most unfunny and uninter-
esting new sitcoms, "Greek Life"
does have some potential. The actors
involved are extremely likable, espe-
cially following in the footsteps of
such a beloved film. Surprisingly,
Nia Vardalos seems to be the worst
offender of forced acting. With more
time, hopefully the sitcom will bet-
ter mimic its successful precursor,
but until then, the DVD version of
the movie will have to suffice for
viewers at home.


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