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April 06, 2007 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-06

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Friday, April 6, 2007 - 5

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

On- of several performances in the lobby of the Arthur Miller Theatre.

An experimental 'Edge' of theater

Daily Arts Writer
While waiting in line at a con-
cert, have you ever encountered
a pair of students performing a
scene from "Hamlet"? On the way
into a UMS per-
formance, when The Edge
was the last time
you watched an of a Word
interview with
the director pro- Saturdayand
jected on the side Sunday at
ofthebuilding? If 7:15 p.m.
you arrive early at Free
the Arthur Miller
Theatre to claim In the lobby
front-row gen- of the Arthur
eral admission MillerTheatre
seats for "Playing
for Time," you're
guaranteed to receive a bonus per-
formance called "The Edge of a
Word," a collection of both physi-
cal and symbolic dramas indirect-
ly related to Miller's play.
"Edge's" six dramas and two
audio/visual pieces take place
in and around the Arthur Miller
Theatre lobby, entertaining (and
baffling) incoming audience mem-
"People have been startled,
asked questions of the actors while
they're acting, stopped dead in
their tracks to watch or just com-
pletely ignored what was going
on," Music School junior and
director Hailey Agnew said in an
e-mail interview.
The idea for "Edge of a Word"

came from Music School costume
designer and producer Christi-
anne Myers, who wanted to "cel-
ebrate the opening of the space
itself." The Arthur Miller Theatre
stands as a tribute to one of Amer-
ica's greatest playwrights and one
of the University's most famous
alums, but the theater's opening
commemorates the new build-
ing itself as well. Myers's idea for
"Edge of a Word" riffs on the heart
of the events.
"This show didn't start with
a page. It started with a space
instead of a script," Myers said.
Within this space, student the-
atre complements professional
theater in a nontraditional way.
Agnew's piece, Abigail's Over-
ture," areworkingofa speech from
Miller's"TheCrucible," takesplace
beneath the lobby staircase. Out-
side, Music School senior Stephen
Sposito's video interview with the
production crew of "Playing for
Time" is projected on a wall to
the left of the main doors. Though
the late sunlight hours made it too
bright to see the video, the audio
could be heard perfectly.
In the Walgreen Drama Cen-
ter elevator, there's Music School
senior Beth Chrobak's audio clip
playing. Chrobak's idea to merge
several Miller texts and combine
student voiceover with music sup-
ports what Miller himself always
wanted: to create "A Few Good
Parts for Actors" (also the name of
the piece).
On the front patio and through-

out the lobby, eight actors per-
form five brief selections from
Caryl Churchill's "This is a Chair,"
directed by Music School junior
Gina Rattan. The piece expresses
the feeling of wartime persever-
ance, similar to the theme of"Play-
ing for Time" itself. The "Chair"
selections involve only one or two
actors each and are performed
uncomfortably close to the incom-
ing audience. "There's a real audi-
ence-performer proximity that
makes this show different," Rat-
An appetizer
before 'Playing
for Time.'
tan said. "You don't know what to
expect from the audience."
Audience members aren't so
sure how to react either, but their
experience is sure to be a unique
"The opening of the Arthur
Miller Theater is the celebration of
the space," Myers said. "'Edge of a
Word' is a chance to do something
theatrical that's not in a theater."
There are a limited number
of seats available for the Friday
and Saturday performances of
"Playing for Time." Call 734-764-
2538 for more information.

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