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February 14, 2008 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-02-14

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4B - Thursday, February 14, 2008
VALENTINE
From Page 1B
Keep your affection to
yourself:
By PAUL TASSI
DailyArts Writer
Public displays of affection are always
questionable, but there are some basic
rules. Today in particular is a good day to
heed them:
In class: No touching. There, I said it;
that's the rule. It is not OK to hold hands,
snuggle or - dear Lord - make out while
sitting in lecture. All right, maybe the
one acceptable form of touching is the
sleeping-head-on-the-shoulder during
an especially boring lecture about third-
century ceramic plates. But only one
head-tilt is allowed. None of this shoul-
der-head-head layeringshit.
Walking to class: Hand-holding is
iffy here. Most of the time it's lame and
only allowed when you're walking on a
date. So unless your idea of a fun night
out is stats lab, I suggest you refrain.
When parting ways en route to different
classes, a brief peck goodbye is appro-
priate, but I'm putting a three-second
time limit on the act before it crosses the
line.
Watching a movie with friends:
You can snuggle up a little bit here, but
we don't want to see any laying-on-top-
of-each-other garbage while awkward-
ly trying to pretend we're watching
"Zodiac." Oh, and no making out during
the movie - we can hear you. You're
not being sneaky just because you're
under a blanket. The proper procedure
is to excuse yourself from the movie
and say that you and your second half
are "going to go play darts upstairs."
At the club/bar: Pretty much any-
thing goes here that doesn't involve pub-
lic nudity. Throw alcohol and loud music
into the equation and all the rules go
right out the window. Just make sure the
person you're molesting is actually your
significant other.
And before you have to ask, the answer
is no, these rules do not change just
because it's Valentine's Day.
One is the loneliest number:
By BLAKE GOBLE
DailyArts Writer
Single on Valentine's Day?
Not a problem.
Instead of gorging yourself with a
heart-shaped box of chocolates and bot-
tles of pinot, there are far healthier, more
constructive ways to spend your V-Day.
Yeah, it sucks to watch your friends (and
everyone else you know) cuddle and give
each other cute grins and gifts, but that's
no reason to get wound up if you're alone
this year.
Watching decent movies, reality TV
marathons or reading sultry novels can
all fill the proverbial hole in your heart.

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4

Here are just a few remedies to help the
rest of us brave the loneliness yet again
this year.
For starters, you can embrace cin-
ematic romance. Rent sincere movies
like "Once," "Sweet Land" or even "Casa-
blanca." Or you can go the way of the
enlightened and humbled cynic and see
something more bittersweet like "Cruel
Intentions," "In the Company of Men"
or "The Temple of Doom" (featuring
heart ripping). If you're a tad angry, why
not immerse in the rapturous tripe like
"Love Story" or "Splendor in the Grass,"
and just laugh your ass off. Hell, bring in
a crowd of loners if you want company.
If movies aren't your thing, then try
one of the countless TV marathons. Bravo
has the best in reality TV, and there's no
shame in lazing around for a "Project
Runway" or "Top Chef" marathon to
make you feel emotionally centered. You
can also take a look at "Law & Order:
SVU" or "Oz" - nothing like the worst
forms of sexual deviancy to remind you
why you're single in the first place.
The iTunes store works, too. Cull
together your best love jams and give it
to friends or even that someone special
you've been too bashful to nod at. Mixes
containing The Beatles' "I Saw Her
Standing There" and The Rolling Stones'
"Let's Spend the Night Together" always
do nicely - they're not necessarily clich.
Even go the mean-spirited route and put
together some songs that mock the point-
less tradition.
If you're the reading type, try some
assorted light literature. Nick Hornby's
meditations on breaking up always make
singles feel a little better. (Nabokov's
"Lolita" can frighten you enough to actu-
ally want to be single). Add some cheap
harlequin romance novels - thrusting
manhood is always deserving of a few
giggles.
Musical therapy:
By CAITLIN COWAN
Daily Arts Writer
So, it's Valentine's Day and you hate
being single? At least you're in good
company with these guys (and girls):
"I Hate Myseffor Loving You"- Joan
Jett
The quintessential "you were a bad
idea to begin with" song.
"Idiot Lover" - Bratmobile
These ladies know what they want:
"Stop blaming me / Quit calling me /
Just say you're sorry." I
"Girlfriend in a Coma" - The Smiths
The ambiguous lyrics and biting tone
of this song imply that words like "I
would hate /Anything to happen to her"
mean exactly the opposite.
"Love WillTear Us Apart" -JoyDivi-
sion
A great song, but if you're in the mood
for something different, downloadthe Go
Home Productions' mashup titled "Love
Will Freak Us" featuring Missy Elliot,

Solomon
in 1940s
Russia
By WHITNEY POW
Daily Fine Arts Editor
The stage is empty, save for a mess of
heavy wooden trunks, folding chairs, over-
turned wash basins and crates arranged in
a wide, sweeping circle.
There are signs of recent The
occupation - a pewter
pitcher, several mugs sit- Caucasian
ting on a crate as if await- Chalk Circle
ing their users' return.
One by one, the 21 Today through
actors walk on the small Sundayat
stage space, sitting down 8 p.m.
and filling up all of the Atithe Arthur
empty wooden surfaces. Miller Theatre
They look cold and pro- $9 with student ID
vincial, wearing heavy
woolen skirts and sweat-
ers. There's lively bustle; the circle hums
with energy. It seems the people fill the
stage as much as the stage fills the stage.
This is a dress rehearsal for the Musical
Theatre Department's production of Ber-
tolt Brecht's play, "The Caucasian Chalk
Circle," which will be performed from
tonight to Sunday night at 8 p.m. in the
Arthur Miller Theatre.
"The Caucasian Chalk Circle" is techni-
cally a play within a play, where a group of
Russian peasants put on a production that
reflects their situation in post-World War
II Russia. The play is modeled after the
parable in the Song of Solomon in the Bible,
where two women are fighting over owner-
ship of a child.
"The chalk circle is the way they decide
who is the real mother of the child - is it
the real mother, or is it the woman who's
taking care of it?" said Etai Benshlomo,
who plays the Corporal. "They put the
child in the center of a circle made of chalk,
and each mother holds onto him. They say,
'Whoever can pullhim out ofthe circle first
is the winner.'"
The kitchen maid, who has been keep-
ing the child safe, ultimately lets go of the
child. "She says 'I can't tear this child to
pieces,' and that is howthey decide that she
is the real mother," he said.
But this is not all - as with many Brecht
plays, there are multiple layers of the onion
to be peeled. Not only isthe story a modeling
of the Song of Solomon, but a direct social
and political examination of the post-World
War II situation. The twist is that Brecht
wrote the play before the war ended.
"Brecht wrote (the play) when he was in
exile in the United States, so he was writing
it looking in on Nazi Germany," said School
of Music & Theatre sophomore Yael Kiken.

"The Caucasian Chalk Circle" is playing through Sunday at the Arthur Miller Theatre.

"In the prologue, the premise is this
Soviet collective deciding what to do with
the land after the Nazis have been kicked
out," she said. "It's Brecht's response to
what was going on and whathe thought the
aftermath of the war might be like."
Inorderto accentuate the play's extreme-
ly political and analytical message, Brecht
made it disconnected and jarring, produc-
ing a realist-style effect where the audience
is always aware that it is watching a play.
Brecht -called it 'Epic Theater.' We're
basically alienating the audience from the
play," Benshlomo said. "We're reminding
Alienating the crowd
at the Arthur
Miller Theatre
the audience the entire time that this is not
real. Brecht wrote plays not to make people
feel, but to make them think. His theater
was very social."
The production uses a variety of differ-
ent methods to create this Brecht's style
of alienation and audience awareness, one
being the cast's continual presence on
stage. "The way the play is set up, none of
us leave the stage, ever," Benshlomo said.
"We have this playing area, the inner circle
on the stage, and once we leave it we just
sit down on the stage and watch the play as
ourselves, as actors."
Another means of distancing the audi-

ence fromthe story is the actors actingwith
the awareness of archetypes - the charac-
ters in the play often have no names, and
are referred in the script only as "Cook" or
"Corporal" or "Singer."
"Brecht's (term for it is) the 'alienation
effect' - for me, what it boils downto is the
fact that the actors must never forget they
are acting," said Director Malcolm Tulip,
an assistant professor in the Department
of Theatre & Drama. "The goal is for the
actor not to be the character. So rather than
the audience saying, 'Oh, we feel sorry for
her,' because she has no money and is being
threatened by the soldiers, Brecht's aim
would be to make us think,'Why do people
end up in poverty and have tobe subjected
to this by the military?'"
The purpose of Brecht's "The Caucasian
Chalk Circle" is not merely to entertain,
but to create social awareness.
"I think (the play is) incredibly relevant
to our situation. It's important for us not to
forget that even though we're in this bub-
ble of the University of Michigan, there are
politics and government forces out there
that are controlling things," Kiken said.
This awareness brings a heavier weight
to the meaning of the play, and staying close
to the significance of Brecht's storytelling.
"We will have failed if the audience just
comes away and says,'Well, that was a nice
story,' "Tulip said.
The point of the play is taking the mes-
sage and applying it to our own lives. "The
play is about really seeing the weight of
having war affect all parts of your life,"
Kiken said. "We tryto remember that we're
telling a story and finding our truth."

4

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