March 31, 2006
arts. michigandaily. com
R TSe fidligtnBail
. ......... .
Half-handed Cloud to
perform at the Halfass
By Derek Barber
Daily Arts Writer
In support of his new full-length
release, Halos & Lassos, Half-hand-
ed Cloud will per-
form this Saturday
at the Halfass in
At the Halfass
The cast of
'KARAMAZOV' MIXES THE HIGH-BROW WITH THE HILARIOUS
By Daniel Nutters
For the Daily
What do a deranged translator, a butler
named Ernest Hemingway
and an actor - sawed in half
yet somehow miraculously
retaining his acting ability
- have in common?
They all take center stage
in the wildly farcical "The
Idiots Karamazov." Written
by Christopher Durang and
Albert Innaurato, the play
opens tonight at the Michi-
gan League's Lydia Men-
delssohn Theater at 8 p.m.
Friday and Satur-
day at 8 p.m. and
Sunday at 2 p.m.
aspiring playwrights decided to pen a satirical
play based on the translator.
Throughout the play, Duran and Innaurato
incorporate classic literary figures such as Anais
Nin into the oddball comedy, with a host of lit-
erary allusions. Of course, all of the brothers
Karamazov from Dostoevsky's immortal work
are also present to create the delightfully idio-
syncratic world that is "The Idiots Karamazov."
The play follows Constance Garnett, a feeble-
minded translatrix (literary translator). At the
beginning of the play, she has difficulty trans-
lating the Russian classic "The Brothers Karam-
azov." Also onstage are characters who perform
the story as she translates it.
As Garnett's translations of Dostoevsky's
text begin to falter, the characters acting out
the contents of the novel are forced to follow
Constance's woeful misinterpretation. Then, as
Constance's insanity becomes more pronounced,
she begins to add other famous characters from
a wide range of works into her version of "The
In "The Idiots Karamazov," Durang and Inn-
aurato poke fun at concepts ranging from the
hypocrisy of Catholicism to the domination
common to Western literature.
Although it may seem at first glance that only
ultra-sophisticated academics will be able to
understand the countless literary references and
subtle jokes, the play promises to be entertain-
ing for audiences of all types. Director and LSA
senior Kate Hutchens, who has stage-managed
numerous Rude Mechanicals productions, said
an audience member who doesn't pick up on one
or two of the literary references will still find
much to enjoy about the play.
"I think that the play will deliver laughs for
everyone," Hutchens said.
She said she hoped that, if nothing else, a
befuddled audience member would go away say-
ing, "I don't know what the hell that was - but
it was funny."
Produced by the student theater group Rude
Mechanicals, "The Idiots Karamazov" should
be a change of pace and build off the success
of their last production, "Macbeth." "The Idi-
ots Karamazov" promises to be an entertaining
rendition of a play that manages to fit a com-
bination of songs, literature and cultural criti-
cism into a unique play as relevant today as it
John Ringhofer, the brain behind
solo project Half-handed Cloud,
writes music that's at once accessible
and nearly impossible to classify.
Often humorous, surprisingly
honest and always thought-provok-
ing, Ringhofer's music is propelled
by an ongoing search for truth and
God. While there's often a negative
shadow cast upon so-called Chris-
tian music, Half-handed Cloud's
individual, lively and experimental
indie-pop is the of the sort that any-
one can enjoy.
More recently, the name Half-
handed Cloud has been associated
with the ever-growing popularity
of folk-artist-hero Sufjan Stevens.
True, Ringhofer is a constant con-
tributor to Sufjan's ever-changing
tour band - the Michigan Militia,
the Illinoisemakers, etc. He's also a
close friend of Stevens.
When it comes down to it, though,
the music of Half-handed Cloud
speaks for itself.
Ringhofer's original - not to
mention incredibly concise - song-
craft has won him much deserved
praise from even the most skepti-
cal of critics. But Ringhofer hasn't
always experienced this kind of
"I was in third chair (on trom-
bone) for years in high school,"
Ringhofer said. "And finally, junior
year, the music teacher told me 'Ya
know, you probably should try out
for second chair, but we'd rather
give it to a freshman.' "
Having grown up in a military
family, Ringhofer is no stranger to a
certain brand of precision and order.
His meticulous attitude toward
crafting a melody permeates the
majority of his songs; several of the
tunes clock in somewhere between
one and two minutes.
"Sometimes it just feels natural,"
Ringhofer said, in reference to his
preferred method of composition.
"I try to make sure a song doesn't
go too long without a good reason.
I don't think it's a good enough rea-
son to extend a song just because it
'needs' to be longer."
The lyrical content of his songs is
also worth noting. While many tunes
are filled with clever Biblical allu-
sions and complex themes, this theol-
ogy is often presented in childlike or
singalong style. Ringhofer manages
to fuse the relentless enthusiasm of
a 12-year-old Sunday schooler with
the musical sophistication of Brian
Wilson circa Pet Sounds.
Although incredibly personal and
honest, the additional humor in the
music might confuse listeners, but
this only adds to the appeal of Half-
"After a while people catch on
and realize that I'm not pulling a
big joke," Ringhofer said. "But I
think that music works in different
ways for different people. Maybe
(the music) is tongue-in-cheek for
them, even though I'm often being
Joining Half-handed Cloud will
be the musically diverse and experi-
mental folksinger Liz Janes, who is
also a fellow Illinoisemaker. Janes
is widely acclaimed in her own right
and was nominated for the San Diego
Music Award for Best New Artist in
2004. She will be performing with
the free-jazz collective known as
Create(!). The Actual Birds and
the High Spirits comprise the local
bands filling out the set.
The performance Saturday night
is sure to feature a vast array of
musical styles and instruments:
glockenspiels, unconventional per-
cussion and even an omnichord will
likely make an appearance.
Concertgoers can expect a show
where the line between perform-
er and audience begins to blur,
and anticipate a performance that
emphasizes Ringhofer's singular
love for his music.
The comedy was created in 1974 when
Durang and Innaurato were graduate students
studying theater and drama at Yale. Having
recently taken a Russian literature class, the
duo discovered that almost all the great Rus-
sian works (Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, etc.)
were translated by the same women. The two
Poet adapts original Greek tragedy in 'Burial'
By Priya Bali
Daily Arts Writer
Beginning this weekend, Antigone, Sophocles's
timeless tragic heroine, will walk the stage of
the Trueblood Theater in Seamus Heaney's "The
Burial at Thebes," a University
Located in the historic
Frieze Building, the True-
blood is slated for demolition
when the Frieze is torn down
Anril 7 and Anril 9
Courtesy of GenAPA
Performers practice for the GenAPA show In Mason Hall.
Pan-Asian cultural show
mixes art and awareness
to make room for a new dor- at 8 p.m.
mitory building. The Arthur This Sunday and
Miller Theater, scheduled to April 9 at 2 p.m.
open in spring 2007 on North $16
Campus, will replace the True- Students $9
blood as the site for many of At the
the on-campus theater perfor- Trueblood Theater
mances by University groups.
"Burial at Thebes," a modern-day adaptation
of the classical Greek play "Antigone" written
by famed tragedian Sophocles, will be the last
play peformed at the Trueblood and will run from
tomorrow until April 9.
"This play, full of passion, conflict, retribu-
tion and dignity, seemed a fitting goodbye to the
Trueblood Theater," said Theater Prof. Malcolm
Tulip, who will direct the performance.
Tulip is no stranger to the stage, having worked
both on the creative process behind the scenes
and as a stage actor. His many theatrical accom-
plishments include the play "Down the Plughole,"
which he wrote, directed and starred in, and
which earned him distinction as best director of
a drama and best actor in a drama from the Ann
Arbor News in 1997.
In the original Greek tragedy, Antigone is
forced to choose between life and death, hypocri-
sy and honor as she faces a moral dilemma. In her
quest to bury her brother, who died in disgrace,
she faces opposition from her uncle, King Creon,
and her sister Ismene.
Through the compelling quandary of morality
versus legality, the play forces the viewer to ques-
tion duty, reexamine the essence of honor and
meditate on the wisdom of obeying "unwritten,
original, God-given laws."
The importance of acknowledging the rights
of every human being, whether dead or alive,
is communicated in the emotional power of
Heaney's readapted script. "Heaney's version
of Antigone uses poetry in an immediate and
vibrant way without losing the classical form,"
The 17-member cast will portray these clas-
sic characters in a contemporary manner, giving
them a unique voice, yet remaining true to the
spirit of Sophocles's dynamic characters.
Feeding off of Heaney's modern vision, Tulip
has changed the chorus of the play, which typi-
cally provides narration and background, from a
group of Theban elders to a group of young blue-
and white-collar workers.
"I believe in this day and age (that) often the
old are not the only ones willing to speak truth to
power," Tulip said.
Stephen Rush, a School of Music Prof., has also
worked with Tulip to provide a contemporary
score for the production. His compositions are
original and modern while still keeping to tradi-
tional Irish musical elements found in Heaney's
The themes present in the play are timeless;
the portrayal of the vitality and weaknesses of a
generation is always relevant - now, Tulip said,
more than ever.
"Three years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq,
with the renewal of the Patriot Act and the con-
tinuation of the administrator's public relations
campaign in support of its actions, this is a ripe
time to consider the questions posed by 'Anti-
gone,' " he said.
By using the universality of Sophocles's mes-
sages, Tulip said Heaney evokes the U.S. actions
in Iraq, skillfully incorporating the timeless
trope of unjust government and civic responsibil-
ity of citizens.
"This version by Heaney, indeed, would not
have been written without the stimuli of the words
and actions of the current president," he said.
By Andrew Klein
Daily Fine Arts Editor
"We're all the same people. We
believe in the
munication of the GenAPA
fine arts," LSA Saturday at
sophomore Ben 7:30 p.m.
Hwang said of the $7 in advance
significance of $10 at the door
tomorrow night's At the Power Center
GenAPA bills itself as the coun-
try's largest pan-Asian cultural
show, featuring everything from tra-
ditional Korean drumming to more
contemporary hip-hop dancing. The
performances begin at 7:30 p.m.
GenAPA, which stands for Gen-
eration Asian-Pacific American, is
one of the most important Asian
American cultural shows at the
University. The event reflects the
immense cultural diversity within
the Asian-Pacific communities
through varied artistic media.
GenAPA's goal includes the need
to "overcome the walls that divide
us," said Hwang, who serves as
ourselves, and strengthen our own
identity," Hwang said.
There's no doubt that Satur-
day's performance will reflect a
strong sense of diversity creatively
expressed. The show is traditionally
a high-energy production, and audi-
ence members should expect a spar-
kling combination of modern and
traditional dance and music, along
with as a surprise music video,
Some of the performing groups
include Influx, a Taiwanese Ameri-
can Student Association dance group;
Raas, a traditional Indian dance
troupe; and the Korean Drum Club.
Hip-hop dance group FunKtion will
also be present, adding a modern spin
to the event's artistic bounty.
The Multi-Cultural Greek Coun-
cil is also involved in the produc-
tion. Expect a solid performance
from the brothers of Lambda Phi
"We hope to highlight our differ-
ences and similarities," Hwang said.
Students who frequent Mason
Hall late at night have probably seen
several of the groups practicing in
the ground-floor walkway. There's
a palpably festive spirit among
Anniversary concert marks milestone for Pops
By Meryl Schwartz
For the Daily
FINE EAiu-s P vumw
Most students struggle to find that
one thing that
defines their col-
topher Lees, a
in the School of
ment of Conduct-
ing, that passion
Sunday at 7 p.m.
At the Michigan
Themes of past, present and future
permeate the show. Consider Steve
Bizub, the MPO's first conductor, who
will fly in from Tokyo to repeat his role
conducting Aaron Copland's "Varia-
tions on a Shaker Melody," the same
piece of music he conducted at Pops's
debut concert in 1996. John Zastoupil,
conductor for next year, will make his
MPO conducting debut, signaling a
preview of things to come.
But the show's sentimentalism is
nicely balanced by its sense of humor.
Costumes, lighting effects and media
presentations generally characterize a
Pops concert, and the "Best of Pops"
will be no exception. Video clips of
former conductors wishing Pops a
happy birthday will be sporadically
interjected throughout the show - a
is the Michigan Pops Orchestra, the
University's only student-run and
"I love Pops without any reserva-
tion or hesitation," Lees said. His
The Michigan Pops Orchestra will perform its 10th anniversary concert Sunday.
of the music disguise the mastery
dents with concentrations in musical