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April 13, 2005 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-04-13

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Air
ARTS
Early music ensembles evoke musical past.
By Andrew Klein
Daily Arts Writer
FIEARg RVE

La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Le Con-
cert des Nations are like any other large classical
ensembles that might pass through the University
on any given day - except that both groups spe-
cialize in early music from the Renaissance and
Baroque periods. And conductor Jordi Savall,
a master of the viola da gamba - the fretted,
seven-string instrument that was replaced by the
cello in the 17th century - is by no means a typi-
cal musician or conductor.
La Capella Reial de Catalunya, a vocal group
created in 1987, and Le Concert des Nations, an

AMY DRUMM/Daily
Music and LSA junior John Hartman and Theater junior Mikala Bierma created,
wrote and now star in the Basement Arts sketch comedy show "Kapowski."
Student-led comedy
hits Basement Arts

orchestra that performs on
period instruments that was
created in 1989, are the brain-
children of Savall. Both groups
are acknowledged to be some
of the foremost performers of
early music. But in all fair-
ness, Savall commented that
"early music" isn't the best
term to describe their work. "I
think we mix many different
time periods from very differ-
ent cultures, presented with
style for the time," he said.

La Capella
Reial de
Catalunya and
Le Concert
des Nations
Thursday at 8 p.m.
$30-40
At St. Francis of Assisi
Catholic Church

By Victoria Edwards
Daily Fine Arts Editor

After nearly a year, the love child
of John Hartman and Mikala Bierma

- "Kapowski,"
a sketch comedy
show written, pro-
duced and per-
formed by the two
students - will
run for three nights
at the Frieze Build-
ing's Arena Theater
as part of the Base-
ment Arts series.

Kapowski
Thursday through
Saturday
7:00 p.m.
Free
At the Arena Theater
Frieze Building

"(Our show) is the only student-writ-
ten thing performed at the Basement
this semester," Hartman said.
Basement Arts productions usu-
ally consist of performances for
which student directors and actors
re-imagine the works of other play-
wrights. But Hartman and Bierma,
who both perform in the campus
comedy troupe Witt's End, began
writing the sketches for their pro-
duction last summer. They've con-
tinued to meet at least once a week
for the entire school year to continue
working on "Kapowski."
The pair originally wrote sketches
that included two roles for them to
perform. But when they submitted
their proposal to the Basement Arts
executive board, Hart and Bierma
promised to open the sketches up to
include other cast members as well
as a design and lighting staff.
Their labor of love turned into a
comedy .that now involves no less
than 12 different sketches. Hart-
man and Bierma star in the produc-

tion, along with four supporting cast
members. Hartman said that the per-
formance depends heavily on satiri-
cal comedy.
"(The, show) satirize(s) everyday
life and people. It makes fun of dif-
ferent aspects of society," Hartman
said. He added that as a writer, he
uses satire as means to address the
problems that one faces in the world.
One skit, called "Sloppy Second
Chances," is set up as a mockumen-
tary, humorously following reformed
prostitutes who attempt to rejoin the
job market.
"A lot (of the show) revolves
around surprise - you don't know
what's going on," Hart said.
One problem that the duo faced
in being so deeply involved in the
inception and development of their
project was the possible conflict of
interest entailed in both directing
and acting in their sketches. Because
both Hartman and Bierma star in
each sketch, it's not easy for them to
critique their own performances.
"We're also directing ("Kapow-
ski"). So we're giving people in the
scenes direction, which is why we
had to hire an assistant director -
to give us notes," Hartman said.
Hartman and Bierma's experi-
ence improvising in Witt's End per-
formances provided a good basis
around which to frame the show.
While sketch comedy is more close-
ly related to improv comedy than it
is to stand-up, Hartman also has a
background experience in that field.
"It's been our project for the whole
year, from the beginning to now,"
Hartman said. The culmination of
Hartman and Bierma's work will
make its debut tomorrow night.

Both groups have performed numerous concerts
around the world and made multiple recordings
as well. The two groups recorded W.A. Mozart's
Requiem together in 1994, which received an
award from the prestigious European radio sta-
tion, Luxembourg Television and Radio.
Le Concert des Nations performs with period
instruments from the Baroque era to give their
sound a genuine feel. La Capella Reial de Catalu-
nya is composed of a group of top-level vocalists
that ranges from eight to 60 members, depending
on what pieces are being performed. The sing-
ers, mostly from Spanish-speaking countries, are
noted for their revival of Catalan historical music
as well as their devotion to music from their
respective cultures.
The groups are set to perform pieces that
include The Music of Don Quixote and Monte-
verdi's Madrigals of Love and War. The group-
ing of these two works is not coincidental; Savall
explained that while the former deals with war in
a "lively manner," it is still a "tragic history" in
comparison to the latter, which addresses "Greek
mythological themes of war and love."
"There is a balance between the drama and

Courtesy of UMS
Jordi Savall will conduct La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Le Concert des Nations on tomorrow night.

A

the humor. Both are a medium to understand the
human condition," Savall said.
He insisted that even an uninformed listener
has much to enjoy from this concert. To Savall,
the most important objective is "to have the plea-

sure in discovering another type of music, anoth-
er type of emotion
There is always something to appreciate. You
don't need to be a musical specialist to perceive
the music."

University produces famed Broadway musical

By Colleen Cox
For the Daily
In 1989, "City of Angels," written
by Larry Gelbart (of "M*A*S*H"
fame), was adapted for the stage and
exploded into major success, sweep-
ing the Tonys for Best Musical,
book, score, set design, actor and

featured actress. With a vivacious
jazz score by Cy Coleman - who

won his first Tony
with the show -
and David Zippel's
lyrics, "City of
Angels" became a
huge hit on Broad-
way, running at its
opening venue, the
Virginia Theatre,
for an amazing
878 performanc-
es. Now, "City of
Angels" comes to
the Power Center
for performances

City of
Angels
Thursday at
7:30 p.m.
Friday and
Saturday at
8:00 p.m.
Sunday at
2:00 p.m.
Tickets $15 - $20
At the Power Center

and Stone's dilemmas reflect each
other, with Stone stepping forward
from fiction as Stine's conscience
and critic, eventually leading to
their explosive duo, You're Nothing
Without Me.
The play's sets and costumes are
integral to the mood: Stone's fic-
tional realm is cast in the bleak hues
of noir-esque black and white, while
Stine's real world appears in vibrant
color. But with one stage, two worlds
and numerous scene changes, bring-
ing "City of Angels" to life is quite
difficult. The director, Theater Prof.
Mark Madama, realized this imme-
diately when adapting the musical
for a University production; at the
outset, he knew what the central
challenge would be.
"Clarity ... The script was already
brilliant, but the plot is very layered
and dense," Madama said.
He dealt with this by utilizing the
Power Center's stage space-as well
as he could, using projections and
moving sets to aid the flow of the
story.

Musical director Cynthia Kortman
Westphal leads both local musicians
and School of Music jazz students in
the pit orchestra. She expressed great
excitement to be acting as musical
director for her first University show.
"I've worked in Broadway shows for
the last 10 years," she explained. "I
didn't know what to expect when I
came to (the) University ... but it's
been a fantastic experience."
Madama stated that the script for
"City of Angels" also reflects what
lies in store for his students - or
perhaps any young person - look-
ing to find his way in the world.
"There (are) tremendous truths in
this script," he explained. "There's
so much of the reality of Hollywood
and Los Angeles there, and it's
something that these students will
be relating to in the time to come
- just like how (the character) Stine
is trying to come to peace with his
artistic life and economic life. But
it's also a part of the human condi-
tion. We all go through something
like this."

this Thursday through Sunday.
"City of Angels" follows the tri-
als of writer Stine and his alter ego,
who happens to be the leading char-
acter of his novel, Detective Stone.
Stine struggles to adapt Stone's
adventures for the screen under the
direction of sharky and overbearing
producer/director Buddy Fiddler in
'40s Hollywood. As parallel charac-
ters in interwoven storylines, Stine

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