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April 01, 2005 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-04-01

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April 1, 2005
arts. michigandaily.com




Matt Devine and Nate Cunningham (center, right) speak to Christine J. Ovaitt
(left) in The Rude Mechanicals' production of "Murder In the Cathedral."
Rude Mechanicals'
'Murder' honors Eliot

By Hyatt Michaels
Daily Arts Writer

"Murder in the Cathedral" is regard-
ed as one of T.S. Eliot's best because it
revived the use __
of poetic verse in
drama. The Rude Murder in the
Mechanicals' Cathedral
production pres- Tonight and
ents a traditional Saturday at 8 p.m.
interpretation of and Sunday at 2 p.m.
the work in per- Tickets $7 adults, $5
formances this students through MUTO
weekend. $7 at the door
"("Murder in At the Lydia
the Cathedral") Mendelssohn Theater
has everything
you want in a play," director and LSA
sophomore Lisa Fetman said. "It has
death, violence, crying, poetry and happy
In contrast to many recent student pro-
ductions of classic plays such as "Romeo
and Juliet," Fetman made the choice not
to update the work. "I kept it really sim-
ple," she said. "I wanted the language to
speak for itself and let all the technicali-
ties shine through the actors."
The production takes place in Canter-
bury during the 12th century and follows
the events that led to the martyrdom of
Archbishop Thomas Becket. "The char-
acters are dealing with the entrance of
violence into a place that is peaceful.
The play questions whether dying or kill-

ing for peace is something that actually
makes sense," Fetman said.
The tale begins when Becket returns to
Canterbury, aware that his life is in dan-
ger because of his volatile relationship
with King Henry II. Becket believed in
the separation of church and state, while
the King felt otherwise. The Archbishop
encourages peace as political conflicts
regarding the issue escalate, resulting in
his death and initiation into sainthood.
"(Then the play) poses a question to the
audience," Fetman said. "Did he do this
(purposely) for himself or the good of the
Fetman admitted that the material
could be challenging for some, but she
acknowledges that anyone expecting the
usual poetic drama will be greatly dis-
appointed with "Murder." "Although the
play is based on historical events, much of
it is fictionalized and manipulated for the
audience's sake.
"The (story messes) with you," she
said. "(It) will take you on this path
and you'll turn right when you think
you'll turn left." The play discusses the
effects of conflict regarding separation
of church and state, but it is really a
commentary on violence and war. The
director hopes that the audiences will
keep current events in mind and prepare
for a "journey" when the play opens
"I want people to see what's going
on in the world," Fetman said. "That is
the intention, because it's very relevant
to the structure of today's world."

BourAesy od ony
BOASTS MANY OPTIONS Top left: Sony's PlayStation Portable. Above: A PSP screenshot from Konami's "Metal Gear Acid."

By Forest Casey
Daily Arts Writer

The rumor mill was running rampant.
Sony's new handheld gaming device, the PSP
(which stands for PlayStation Portable), has
garnered just as much negative hype as it has
glowing plaudits: From talk of dead pixels on
the breathtaking screen to the springing disc
eject that comes from twisting the unit and the
half-functioning square button, it seems as if
Sony sold its soul to the devil for the chance
to sell a product like the PSP, simply because
no gadget this beautiful has ever been so well
Sony is selling the PSP as an all-encom-
passing device, perfect for storing and viewing
photos and home movies, for playing games
and for listening to music. Nebulous promises
to support Internet browsing through the PSP's
WiFi capabilities were also made before its
launch. The reality is that the PSP isn't really
as optimal a device for listening to music as
Apple's iPod. The gadget doesn't feature a
convenient method for organizing and catego-
rizing music, and the available space for music
is only as much as is on the removable Mem-
ory Stick media. Sony only includes a 30 MB

stick with purchase; to amass anything close
to a sizable music collection (like 1 GB) on the
PSP would cost nearly as much as you would
pay for an iPod Mini - which is capable of
storing five times as much data.
The most talked-about issue related to the
PSP concerns Sony's use of the proprietary
UMD (Universal Media Disc) as its remov-
able media. Because the PSP must constantly
stream information from this disc, its battery
will drain in three to five hours, depending
on disc access. While that may not seem like
a lot of time, tests revealed that it was more
than sufficient for casual gaming during the
day, and the power cord can be plugged in
at night. With the exception of a long road
trip or plane ride, the PSP's battery is robust
enough for most casual gamers.
When players actually get their hands on
a PSP - which should be pretty easy to do,
despite Sony's past problems with short prod-
uct supplies - they'll find its look and feel
unsurpassed in the world of portable gaming.
The device's fit and finish is sleek, with its
reflective black plastic casing and massive
screen. Its design is functional as well: The
buttons are comfortable, noise from the spin-
ning UMD is virtually nonexistent during
gameplay and the sliding thumb "nub" serves
well as a familiar and natural substitute for

the analog control stick.
Every rumor, good and bad, about the PSP's
much-discussed screen is true: It's gorgeous,
bright and expansive - it's the first thing
gamers will notice when they initially pick
up a PSP. Sony's first shipment has had prob-
lems with dead pixels and even trapped air
bubbles inside the screen, but the company
vows to replace any defective model immedi-
ately. Besides, there are so many pixels on the
screen that a dead one or two isn't noticeable.
The device is also plagued by some chromatic
aberrations during movies and some trailing
refresh rate problems during games, but both
of these glitches could be solved simply with
Critics who are sounding the death knell
for Nintendo's DS portable system and for the
iPod should take note: The PSP should not be
compared to the DS and will not dethrone the
giant of portable music. Quite simply, the PSP
doesn't handle music well enough to kill the
iPod, nor does it present the same caliber of
courageous innovation as the DS.
Sony's new wonder device has its fair share
of shortcomings, but the potential of the Play-
Station Portable is staggering. It may not slay
the iPod or replace televisions, but it certainly
redefines the potential of the portable gaming

__ ,

Michigan Pops goes international.
with 'Around the World' concert

By Jessica Koch
Daily Arts Writer
Want to see and hear some of
the world's most exotic instruments
played on campus? The Michigan
Pops Orchestra
will perform their
spring concert, a Michigan
hybrid program Pops
of orchestral Orchestra
music featuring Sunday at 7 p.m.
ethnic instru- Tickets $8 adults
$5 students,
ments entitled
"Pops Around the At the Michigan Theater
World," this Sun-
day at 7 p.m. at the Michigan The-
atre. The orchestra is comprised of
more than 80 students from differ-
ent schools and colleges throughout
the University. The concert will fea-
ture pieces from all over the world,
from Johannes Brahms' Hungarian

Dance No. 5 to the dazzling Law-
rence ofArabia Overture.
The only student-run and student-
directed orchestra on campus, the
ensemble will challenge itself by
performing pieces that combine dif-
ferent cultural traits into one work.
Several guest musicians will be per-
forming with the orchestra on such
ethnic instruments as the Indian
sitar, a guitar-like instrument with
a long neck; the Argentinan bando-
neon, which is a close relative of the
accordion; and even the Australian
didgeridoo, a long, hollow wooden
tube that's held up to the mouth and
played by vibrating the lips against
one end.
Music graduate student Christo-
pher Lees, in his third year as direc-
tor of the Michigan Pops, excitedly
described the concert's cross-cultur-
al appeal. "This, to my knowledge,
has never been done at this Universi-
ty before. The fact that we are having
original, authentic, cultural instru-

ments like the sitar and the tablas ...
(these instruments) have never been
played with full orchestra before (at
the University)," Lees said.
As expected, finding repertoire for
such a unique concert was no easy
task. "Some of these arrangements
have never been heard before because
we arranged them ourselves," Lees
said of pieces such as the traditional
Indian Rag Yaman and the classical
Irish Uillean Sketches, on which Tyler
Duncan will play the Uillean pipes.
"It's such a neat opportunity to
hear both Western instruments like
(those in) the orchestra combined
with the authentic sounds of Austra-
lia, India, Ireland and Argentina,"
Lees said. "Where else are you going
to hear sitar and orchestra?"
The concert gives Pops members a
chance to showcase their talent and
enjoy performing with one another.
"That's what Pops is all about -
doing good music well and having a
fun time doing it," Lees said.


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