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December 07, 2007 - Image 8

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-12-07

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8 - Friday, December 7, 2007
J.B.
From page 5
A biblical tale may not strike you
as a particularly entertaining way
to spend a Saturday evening. But
Music, Theater and Dance Prof.
Philip Kerr assured us that "J.B." is
a piece of theatre students will not
want to miss. He explained that the
play "is an immensely accessible,
powerful piece of theater. It points
to our humanity and what we as a
people have in common."
Questions such as the idea of an
omnipotent God, why things hap-
pen and how we can possibly deal
with them are the backbone of the
story of Job.
Asked about the story's contem-
porary significance, Kerr suggested
contemplating some of the lovely
bumper stickers on highways. One
that comes quickly to mind is "Life's
a bitch, and then you die," or the
more concise, "Shit happens." The
late MacLeish lived through WWI,
WWII, the Holocaust, Hiroshima,
Vietnam - he saw a lot of shit hap-
pen. "J.B." was his way of exploring
how humans can cope with such
devastation while still maintaining
something akin to hope.
Lofty ideas abound, but dry is
something "J.B." is not. Kerr makes
that point clear. "We want (the
audience) to have a compelling and
thoughtful two hours of theater," he
said. "The show is entertaining: not

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

heavy, not sentimental, but palat-
able, accessible, enjoyable and just
plain fun." After all, this show is set
ins acircus.
nerr described MacLeish's work
as "a play that deals with big issues,
in a big way." "J.B." will be per-
formed in the Power Center, a for-
midable theater of more than 1,300
seats. The soaring proscenium
frames a dynamic and diverse cast
of young actors and the aforemen-
Shit happens?
This guy knows.
tioned football players.
Chad Henne, Jake Long, Jamar
Adams and Will Johnson will be on
stage, out of uniform and into cos-
tume. They are treadingthe boards,
gunning for a new experience and
some extra academic credits (all
actors receive credits for their work
in University productions). Quarter-
back Henne - cast rather appropri-
ately as the Ringmaster - advertised
the play in a recent interview for
EBuzz OnSite Blog.
"It's a serious play, but there's
a lot of laughs, there's a lot of good
times in it and I think everyone will
enjoy it," Henne said.
Complete with God, the Devil, a
circus and a few fabulous football
celebrities, "J.B." brings it all - or,
at least, most of it.

However you choose to define your
art, F.O.K.U.S. provides the forum

4

By MICHELE YANKSON
Daily Arts Writer
Just as no two iPods con-
tain the same playlists, it seems
that no two people's ideas of
entertainment follow the same
scheme. Saturday's 3rd annual
F.O.K.U.S. talent showcase "The
Remix" promises to provide
students with a diverse array of
musical and dance acts in hopes
of creating an
audience whose F.O.K.U.S.
members may
have otherwise The
never occupied Remix"
the same venue.
"'The Remix' Todayfrom 11
brings students p.m. to 2 a.m.
of different Atthe Michigan
backgrounds Union Ballroom
together to Free student
showcase their r'sd
art to their required
peers," said
Brett Thames, F.O.K.U.S. co-vice
president and a Business School
senior. "Everyone can experience
different types of performances."
Alma Davila-Toro, F.O.K.U.S.'s
president, co-founder and a Uni-
versity alum, the timing of the
showcase is imperative to ensur-
ing the show's success. The first
show, also in December, was
filled to capacity, while the sec-

and show suffered a November-
night-before-Ohio State-game
fate. And, Davila contends, the
fact that the showcase comes at
the end of year means it might be
an event that signals transition
for University students.
"It's right before finals and we
want to give (the students) some-
thing big before they leave," she
said. "We want people who are
graduating or people who are
going abroad to have it as one
of the last events on their mind
when they leave campus."
With this year's showcase,
F.O.K.U.S. will collaborate with
the University Unions Arts and
Programs Office to hold the event
as part of "UMix Late Night."
The event offers students a study
break that entertains and refresh-
es, one that provides stimulation
of the body and perhaps of the
senses as well. Besides perfor-
mances and UMix goodies, a DJ
will be spinning between shows,
and "commercials" will come in
the form of Current TV.
"The Remix," scheduled from
11 p.m. to 2 a.m., also gives stu-
dents the option to socialize
outside more common aspects of
socializing. "(We) want to bring
students together during the
social hours," Davila-Toro said.
"It's a way to meet new people

without the alcohol."
F.O.K.U.S. was created in 2003
by Davila-Toro and fellow Uni-
versity alumAtiba Edwards. Both
New York natives, they were pro-
voked by what they perceived as
the University's brand of diversi-
ty - that is, a theoretical one that
often isn't realized.
"When we came to the univer-
sity, we saw it was segregated,"
Davila-Toro said. "We got tired
of it. We decided to make a stu-
dent organization, and we knew
the one thing that could bring it
Bringing
together people
who normally
wouldn't meet.
together was the arts."
Given the likelihood of per-
formers havingvaryingfanbases,
meeting a new person - inebriat-
ed or not-shouldn't prove diffi-
cult at "The Remix." The student
music acts consist of two MCs, an
indie rock band, a gospel singer
with accompanying pianist and
Darren Criss, an LSA and School
of Music, Theatre and Dance
junior who Davila-Toro likens to
folk crooner John Mayer.
"I've worked with F.O.K.U.S.
in the past, and (its shows) are
always really eclectic," Criss said.
"My music has a pretty simplistic
folk sound, and it's always great
to be able to perform amongst

awesome MCs and amazing soul
singers."
The group Dance2XS adds to
the musical performances with
its high-energyhip-hop danceset.
Dance2Xs President Britta Wun-
derlich, an LSA senior, said the
choreography for the showcase
is focused on the idea of contrast.
It will infuse old-school dance
moves - such as the recently-
resurfaced, originally funk move
"locking" - with more contem-
porary steps.
Besides student acts, this year's
"The Remix" will bring a profes-
sional musician to the stage with
folk singer Matt Santos. Santos is
featured on "Superstar," a track
in the soon-to-be released Lupe
Fiasco album The Cool.
"We felt he was an up-and-
coming star," Thames said. "We
wanted to expose the campus
to an artist they might not have
heard of but should be on the
lookout for."
To Davila-Toro, it's this expos-
ing of the lesser-known to a
grander audience that is at the
core of the organization's appeal.
"However you define your art,
(F.O.K.U.S.) helps you express
yourself and show it to the cam-
pus," she said. "We want every-
one to know that we are the most
inspiring, original and most
unique group on campus."
It may be amatter of taste, but
with folk and soul singers, lock-
ing dancers, gospel pianists and
MCs and more, "The Remix"
might just prove Davila-Toro
right.

E
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