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October 25, 2002 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-10-25

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Friday
October 25, 2002
michigandaily.com/arts
mae@michigandaily. com

ARTS

5

'The Spirit House' a blend
of mysticism and politics

By Lynn Hasselbarth
For the Daily

To see a world premiere of live theater
is like "breathing life into words that have

never been heard before,"
said Johanna Broughton,
executive director of Adam
Kraar's new play "The Spirit
House."
An original story of inter-
national politics and reli-
gious mysticism, "The Spirit
House" opened last Friday at
the Performance Network
and will continue through the
month.

THE S
HoU
Performance
Oct.17 -
$22.50 -
663-0
120 E.

A story of an American family living in
Thailand during the Vietnam War, the play
is founded on religious superstitions and

layered with politics, family conflict and
adolescent coming-of age. The story begins
with the expected uncertainty that comes
with starting a new life far from home.
To Miriam, played by Carla Milarch,
Thailand is fascinating and
romantic. She is enlivened as
a woman and as the wife of a
PIRIT powerful and successful
JSE diplomat.
Her husband Herbert,
e Network played by David Wolber, rep-
Nov 10 resents focus and consistency
-27.50 amidst the hot tropical envi-
681 ronment of Thailand. Their
Huron two children, Aurora
(Katherine Banks) and Marty
(James Frounfelter), find themselves in a
magical land of spirits and legends.
The family's servant and nanny, Pur-
pang, played by Shelly Fager, informs the
family of ancient stories and religious
beliefs that become essential to the plot.
Intrigued by Purpang's stories, Aurora
pays homage to the ancient spirits, offer-
ing gifts to the spirit house behind their
home. These mysterious apparitions that
Purpang speak of create a web of turmoil
and suspicion that ultimately destroy this
humble family.
Through a creative combination of light-
ing and set design the audience is drawn
into the center of the story's internal con-
flicts. Lighting that seems to always be a
hue of sunset and fire, represents the heat
and rage of Herb and Miriam's deteriorat-
ing marriage.
Throughout the play, there are insightful
monologues in which Aurora stands cen-
ter-stage with a single spotlight. This tech-
nique seems to represent her isolation
after an innocent love affair with Gary, the
haughty teenage neighbor.
As the fascinating story unfolds, the
audience is lured deeper and deeper into

Courtesy of Performance Network

Carla Milarch, Katherine Banks and David Wolber in "The Spirit House."

unknown territory.
With a hazy background of palm trees
and tangled vines, the audience is
enveloped by the tropical environment and
tension of the characters' relationships. By
the end of the play one barely recognizes
the characters one met at the onset.
Written with passion and vigor, this play
transforms the simple idea of an American
family in Thailand, to a thickly layered
story of how the spirits of one culture can

seep into the skin of unsuspecting visitors.
Though the story is told through the per-
spective of Aurora in a series of stern
monologues, Adam Kraar based much of
the story on his own experiences. He pre-
sented a time and place that was the back-
drop of his own adolescence, Thailand in
the mid-1960s.
What he expands upon is the political
and climate of the time and its effects on
an innocent American family, and an inno-

cent young girl. Kraar's intended to con-
nect America's loss of innocence with that
of Aurora's own pain and guilt from a
young love affair.
However, there seemed to be many more
variables that dominated the story. Tc
some, this may have made the play excit-
ingly complicated. To others, however.
"The Spirit House" may have contained
too many themes within the two-hour per-
formance.

Courtesy of Performance Network
Nick Yu and Katherine Banks.

Jurassic 5 to transcend studio
bounds and bring back hip-hop

By Joseph Utman
Daily Arts Writer
Who cares about Jurassic 5? You haven't heard
them on the radio, you haven't seen their videos on
106 and Park and you haven't seen their name while
consulting Billboard's Top 10 lists. "You" is the
average music fan. "You" is even the
average hip-hop fan who's acquired his ,
taste from conventional media outlets
like MTV. JURA;
"You" should also be sure to check out
Jurassic 5 at St. Andrews Hall tomorrow. St. Andr
Touring in conjunction with the release Tomorrov
of their latest album, Power in Numbers, $
Jurassic 5 provide both their devoted Clear C
fans and the uninitiated with an opportu-
nity to hear hip-hop in one of its finest forms. Con-
trary to KRS-One's notion that "the real hip-hop is
over," there is no better way to describe the music J5
makes.
Six men who, by their own admission are "trying to
take hip-hop back to its primitive state," J5 are a
group reminiscent of old-school b-boys and hip-hop's
playful roots. With tightly constructed rhymes, cre-
ative beats, and unparalleled group chemistry, J5
seduces listeners with an energy and charisma that
excite live audiences wanting to be thrilled by an
exemplary effort.
The quality of a J5 show is further enhanced by
how easily their music translates to the live format.
The group's first two works, an eponymous EP and
the debut LP Quality Control, are distinguished by
the group's harmonizing and playful interaction. In
concert, these qualities of their music serve to
humanize the emcees, transforming them from
amorphous voices on a record into familiar friends
on the stage. For instance, fans of the older "Con-
crete Schoolyard" or the newer "If You Only Knew"
will delight in the spontaneous harmonic variations
offered by the group.
Hip-hop fans can also anticipate a healthy display
of DJ skills courtesy of J5's Nu-Mark and Cut
Chemist. Whether in the studio or in concert, both
men make the most of the venue. In the lab, the pro-
ducers are able to weave together melodies and
sounds into organized tracks. While all the amenities
of the studio can't be brought on the road, neither
must the constraints of making a coherent song.
Resultantly, both gentlemen take advantage of this

L S r
lre
ws
X22
Ch.

freedom and scratch their way into the favor of fans
who are routinely impressed by how much can be
done with two turntables and some records.
The group's intelligent creativity further manifests
itself and astounds the crowd as experimental songs
like "Acetate Prophets" are recreated through efforts
like the group's emcees spinning those colorful chil-
dren's tubes meant to emit varying
sounds based on how quickly they are
spun. In sum, the group's fervor to per-
SIC 5 form well - appearing in all its forms
- endears J5 to its audience and does
ws Hall not disappoint.
at 9 p.m. As if seeing real hip-hop's champions
z were not an attractive-enough prospect,
annel fans will also want to be at St. Andrews
tomorrow to see the Beatnuts and Ann
Arbor's Athletic Mic League. The Beatnuts will no
doubt perform fan favorites like "Watch Out Now"
and "Off the Books" while also promoting their new
record, The Originators. The Mic League will be at
St. Andrews to establish themselves with a wider
range of hip-hop heads perhaps unfamiliar with the
talented magnificent seven. So, who cares about J5?
Well, everyone should now.

'Starfox' changes series formula

By Jeff Dickerson
Daily Arts Editor
Fox McCloud and his band of mam-
malian minstrels step out of their polyg-
onal spaceships and take to the ground
in "Starfox Adventures," the latest
installment in the "Starfox" franchise.
Originally slated for release on the
Nintendo 64, "Starfox Adventures"
began as a 3D platformer called
"Dinosaur Planet." When Nintendo
realized the imminent demise of its sys-
tem, it delayed the game, threw in the
"Starfox" trademark and revamped the
presentation of the game to make use of
the more powerful GameCube.
The first thing gainers will notice is
the lack of flying missions, which have
been thrown aside for "Mario" style 3D
gameplay. Fox uses items he comes
across to completemindless missions
such as opening doors rather than skill-
fully flying his Arwing. "Starfox
Adventures" really isn't a "Starfox"
game at all. Later in the game there are
a few levels where Fox becomes the
pilot once more, bringing the game
back to its more traditional roots. Nev-
ertheless, these moments are few and
far between, leaving gainers in a dull

some state of redundant gameplay.
"Starfox Adventures" is not without
its merits. The graphics are certainly
impressive, from the colorfully detailed
characters to the lavishly expansive
landscapes of Dinosaur Planet. But
what gamers are left with is an essen-
tially hollow gaming experience that
borrows more from "Super Mario 64"
than its "Starfox" predecessors.

STARFOX
ADVENTURES
For GameCube
Nintendo

Do you H ave Acne.'
¢ If you have acne you may qualify for an investigational study
at the University of Michigan Department of Dermatology.
¢ You may also receive compensation for your participation.
g If you are interested in participating, call the University of
Michigan Department of Dermatology to find out more.
A The number is : (734) 764-DERM

Courtesy of Interscope
J5 appears tomorrow in Detroit with the Beatnuts and AML

M"

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