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September 16, 2011 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2011-09-16

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T ggnFriday, September 16, 2011 - 7

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Roberto Alagna was booed off the stage in a La Scala performance of "Aida."
Applause isn't
for everybody
By JOE CADAGIN with an equally disappointing
Daily Fine Arts Editor night at the theater? While per-
formance-goers may not have
Imagine going to an elegant the option of going backstage and
restaurant for a gourmet meal. complaining to the house manag-
Instead of a lovely evening out, er about the quality of the perfor-
however, your experience turns mance, there is one way in which
out to be a disastrous affair com- they can stand up for themselves

A2 walks down'Avenue
Adults-only puppet
musical showing at
the Mendelssohn
Daily Arts Writer
Remember watching "Sesame
Street" as a kid? Of course you do.
Ever since its first episode aired in
1969, millions
of children Avenue Q
have tuned in
and grown up Tonightand
with this PBS Saturday at
favorite aimed 8p.m.,Sunday
to make learn- at2 pm.
ing fun while
teaching kids Lyda Mendelssohn
to share, care Theatre HALEY HOARD/Daily
and bshere iIt's complicated between puppets Princeton and Kate Monster in "Avenue Q"
and brush their Tickets from $9
teeth. lenging, but it's kind of enjoyable, process - even before she'd final- Sielaff knows the show's quirky
But for those who now find too, because I know I'm pushing ized her human cast. lyrics and outrageous characters
themselves confronting "big- the bar for community theater," "We had a puppet at our audi- build a surprisingly down-to-
people problems" not covered Sielaff said. "We haven't changed tions," Sielaff said. "Since this isn't earth story - students may even
in any of the show's 4,000-plus any ofthe lyrics or the dialogue, so a huge dance show, we had the end up seeing a little of themselves
episodes, the Ann Arbor Civic we'll see if the audience can make actors kind of manipulate them underneath the fur and polyester-
Theater's 2011-2012 season debut, it through Act One with all the just to see if they had hand-eye blend fluff of the puppet cast.
"Avenue Q," is here to help. Fea- puppet sex." coordination while they did some "Just look at our opening song,
turing a mixed puppet/human Along with tackling its lov- different techniques that the pup- 'What Do You Do with a BA in
cast, the show follows the lives of ably crude but demanding script, peteer we had wanted to see." English?'" Sielaff said. "That's the
some colorfully irreverent down- Sielaff had to account for the Since the rights to perform thread of the show, you know -
and-out New York City residents, logistical obstacles many of her "Avenue Q" have only recently what's Princeton's purpose? And
including a recent college grad actors faced as they carried their become available to the public, so I think the college kids will
named Princeton, a young (and puppet counterparts around the many parts of the musical's pro- absolutely relate to the show since
furry) professional, aptly named stage. duction have become an impro- they're pretty much Princeton
Kate Monster, and their apart- "The biggest difficulty by far vised learning process, even for and Kate Monster."
ment manager, Gary Coleman. was not only having to direct a 20-year theater veteran like So whether you're looking for
The Tony-winning show's human beings, but having to Sielaff. your own "Purpose," wondering
human characters and Muppet- direct puppets at the same time," "Much of the challenge came if "Everyone's a Little Bit Rac-
esque creatures thoroughly Sielaff said. "I've never tried to do from it being a brand new show ist" or just hoping that "You Can
delight in satirizing "mature" anything like this before." to community theater," she said. Be as Loud as the Hell You Want
issues like Internet pornogra- Because a seamless perfor- "We really wanted to do it well (When You're Makin' Love)," the
phy and racism. Veteran director mance between actor and puppet and keep the script pure. We Ann Arbor Civic Theater and
Wendy Sielaff was acutely aware is crucial to the show's success, didn't want to change anything or "Avenue Q" are sure to provide
of the demands that the show's Sielaff ensured that the felt-cov- try to put our own flavor on it. We you with all of life's answers that
content would present. ered characters were incorporat- just tried to keep it what 'Avenue Cookie Monster wasn't allowed
"For me, it's been a little chal- ed into every step of her creative Q' was meant to be." to say on television.

plete with long waits, rude serv-
ers and undercooked salmon.
Of course, like any wholesome,
' polite, moral-lovin' American,
you will take this all with a smile
and tip your waiter 15 percent -
maybe even 20. Right?
Of course you won't! You'll
complain and ask to see manag-
ers and take down names and
refuse to tip, damn it. If you're
paying premium prices for a
meal, you expect to get the best
possible service and the best
quality food.
Then why, pray tell, do the
same boisterous Americans who
stand up for themselves during
an unpleasant dining experience
suddenly wimp out when faced

What is the
sound of no
hands clapping?
and make some noise - or rath-
er, not make some noise. It goes
against everything civilized soci-
ety has ingrained into us: refus-
ing to clap.
It's that easy - don't clap. If the
ballerina tripped and you didn't
think she was particularly grace-
ful, then don't applaud for her. If


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