March 19, 2004
'Cabaret' titillates 'U' audience
By Dawn L Low
For the Daily
Is it possible to reinvent a show that's
seen two Broadway revivals, an iconic
film and countless college stagings? If
you ask the directors of MUSKET's pro-
duction of "Cabaret," they'll answer yes.
If you're looking for blindly happy
musical theater, look elsewhere. If
you're looking for a story with depth,
"Cabaret" has it in spades.
Imagine Berlin, in 1930. The Third
Reich is rising and the country is deteri-
orating, but in a cabaret called the Kit
Kat Kiub, citizens _._..._..__
can elude the out- Cabaret
s o m e t i m e s.
Searching for writ-
Bradshaw visits the
at 8 p.m. and
Sunday at 2 p.m.
At the Power Center
Courtesy of MUSKET
Robin! What are you doing looking at me for?
Courtesy of Focus Features
Remember that time, when she was on that boat, and she got naked ... that was pretty cool.
MUSIC VIDEO DIRECTOR TURNS STARS
and stumbles upon the club, where he
meets Sally Bowles, a bewitching night-
club performer. They fall in love, as does
his landlady and a widower, Herr
Schultz. The problem: Schultz is Jewish
and the Nazis are gaining status. Issues
of power, race and culture are set against
a backdrop of eccentric characters rang-
ing from an idealistic politician to the
bizarre entertainers of the Kit Kat Klub.
Director Meghan Randolph and assis-
tant director Ricky DeNardis have want-
ed to produce this show for a year. "It's
our baby," says Randolph, who was
drawn to the play's emotion. The two are
borrowing features from four major
adaptations, including the 1972 film
directed by Bob Fosse, which has proba-
bly influenced every production since.
Although the directors and the choreog-
rapher were drawn to the dark elements
of the most recent revival in 1998, they
believed that much of the sexual content
was purely for shock value and inappro-
priate for Ann Arbor audiences. Thus
they've chosen to use the script from the
Unlike most musicals, in "Cabaret"
the orchestra isn't relegated to the pit;
they're onstage and in costume.
Although it might be tempting to use
only musical theater students in such a
dance-reliant show, the cast comes
from a diverse set of disciplines. Vocal
and musical theater students who join
law, business and nursing students.
Each of the 18 cast members has key
moments in the production.
"It was important that they under-
stand this period, understand why
there was this abandon, this sexual
freedom," Randolph says.
But it would be a shame to over-
whelm the poignant scenes at the
heart of the musical with sexual
glitz. Integral to the play is the jux-
taposition of life - what is outside
of the cabaret - with what happens
inside the club. Both worlds reflect
and merge into each other. "It's a
historical piece," says DeNardis,
"and it's ambiguous in a way that
will leave you thinking as you walk
out of the theater."
By Todd Weiser
Daily Arts Writer
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Even though they're two of
the world's biggest superstars, Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet
sure have a lot of trouble talking about themselves. Gath-
ered in a Beverly Hills hotel along with the director,
screenwriter and other stars of "Eternal Sunshine of the
Spotless Mind," a film released today in theater across the
country, the two leads can't help but hide their celebrity
status as they are too busy gushing over what a great time
they had making the film.
A more dramatic departure for the comedic giant,
Carrey scoffs at the idea that he needs to be funny all
the time, "For me the story's the star. It doesn't matter
whether it's funny or not."
If Carrey was looking for an imaginative, smart story
that demanded none of the usual Carrey showmanship,
he certainly found the right men for the job in acclaimed
screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, the unorthodox mind
behind "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation," and
music video filmmaker Michel Gondry, a second-time
director also responsible for videos for The White
Stripes and Bjork.
A romance with a sci-fi twist, "Eternal Sunshine" finds
Joel (Carrey) and Clementine (Winslet) as one-time lovers
who now wish to erase all memories of their relationship
from their brains thanks to an operation devised by Dr.
Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson, "In the Bedroom").
The film combines Kaufman's eccentric storytelling
with Gondry's visual magic, but never lets the technical
overcome the emotional. Winslet noted her attraction to the
film, "Whilst the story is told in this kind of crazy,
unorthodox way, it's actually a very simple love story about
two people who are really meant to be together despite this
horrendous thing that they do."
Carrey eagerly added, "It's romantic and yet it's not
romanticized. It's a real love full of compromise and every-
thing else that love comes with."
With a story they believed in drawing the actors to the
project, Gondry's high-wire-act filming style never disap-
pointed Carrey and Winslet on the set. Winslet explained,
"I think that so much of what we ended up shooting was
not only brilliantly written by Charlie but was in Michel's
mind and that, for all of us, was the thing that was so
inspiring and challenging and spontaneous about making
this film, that every day there was something new."
"Michel definitely flouts convention," Carrey echoed.
"(It was) different than anything I think any of us has
ever experienced. At a certain point he didn't want to
say action or anything. He just wanted to completely
rewrite the whole rulebook."
Gondry's bizarre approach confused Carrey at first, as
he explains, "I argued with him a couple of times about
that I didn't think that I could accomplish certain things
like a scene in (Dr. Mierzwiak's office) where I'm in
two different places in the scene and I have to run
around the camera."
Winslet adds, "And you never thought it was gonna
But Carrey could not argue with the results, "It looks so
clunky. You just go, 'This is a student film right here,' and
then you see it and you go, 'Wow. It's magic man."'
From Elijah Wood to Kirsten Dunst, the entire room
sang the praises of Kaufman and Gondry. Moreover,
from their stories it appeared the entire crew fell in love
with the project.
Carrey recounted, "When (we) were done in the scene,
(everybody) would run down the hall to the video monitors
to see if we pulled it off and then this cheer would go up at
the end of it."
And with that trademark Carrey grin he added, "It was
like old-time show business again."
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is now playing
at the Quality 16, Madstone and Showcase.
FOX's 'Wonderfails simply wonderful
By Abby Stotz w..f x
Daily Arts Writer. v4'<x
"Wonderfalls" is the quirky new FOX dramedy that shows
what happens when you give in and listen to the voices in
your head. The woman hearing things is Jaye Tyler, newcomer
Caroline Dhavernas, and the voices happen to come in the
form of inanimate objects such as monkey-shaped bookends
and a deformed plastic lion figurine.
Jaye has recently graduated from Brown Universtiy with an
unemployable degree in philosophy and has settled into a life
of underachievement as a lowly employee of the Wonderfalls
Gift Emporium at Niagara Falls. She
lives in the High and Dry Trailer Park
and her teenage co-worker has just been Wonderfalils
promoted over her. That's when the lion Fridays at 9 p.m.
figurine begins to speak to her. FOX
The lion and other objects - book-
ends, the eagle on the back of a quarter - lead her on to
small events that link together forming a bigger picture. In the
premiere, Jaye discovers that her sister is a lesbian, and realiz-
ing this fact helps her grow one step closer to her family.
"Wonderfalls" stays away from the saccharine "one-girl-
can-make-a-difference" trap because of its comedic core.
Jaye faces the world like MTV's Daria, the embodiment of
sarcasm. While that would usually be annoying, Dhavernas
somehow makes Jaye endearing. Even though Jaye graduat-
ed from an Ivy League school and is stuck selling Niagara-
themed souvenirs, her smart-ass attitude toward her situation
is funny,and makes "Wonderfalls" more entertaining than the
Don't go chasing wonderfalls.
average primetime programming.
Besides Dhavernas, the show is aided by a funny sup-
porting cast including her clueless white Anglo-Saxon
family, her best friend and loyal drinking partner Mahan-
dra (Tracie Thoms) and the bartender Eric (Tyron Leitso).
The cinematography is above average, with creative shots
of the inside of a vending machine, a coin dropping into
a fountain and the falls themselves. The writing is witty
and quick, with multiple funny one-liners. In one of the
more humorous moments, Mahandra says to Jaye, "Dis-
appointing your family is an extreme sport for you."
With a quirky outlook on the supernatural, a sarcastic
heroine and an original premise, "Wonderfalls" is an
excellent addition to the FOX schedule.
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