The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 7A
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 7A
MT&D relives 'Summer'
COURTESY OF Fox
Guys, it's Y-M-C-A - not Y-A-Y-Y..."
m - s te a
By LAURA KAYE
For the Daily
Don't expect to sit back and
relax duringthe School of Music,
Theatre & Dance's production of
Williams's Suddenly Last
denly Last Summer
IStmed, Through Oct.16
fasten your at various times
seatbelts and Walgreen Drama
get ready for Center
a rocky ride Tickets from $10
telling of a story that involves a
dramatic relationship between
a mother, her dead son and his
cousin. Williams's play explores
the tangled emotions of grief,
desire and madness. Like a car
accident people can't look away
from, audiences are drawn to
the depth of emotion, life-alter-
ing events and brutal violent
attitudes that only a family can
"Suddenly Last Summer"
is about the strange death of
a young man and the shock-
ing after-effects surrounding
his grieving mother. The play
becomes a struggle between two
family members that leads to a
suspenseful and horrifying con-
This year would have been
the 100th birthday of Ten-
nessee Williams, who died in
1983. "Suddenly Last Summer"
serves as an homage to this
great American playwright.
Though the actors, who are all
be a co
undergraduates, did not of a person and his victimization
ehearsals over the sum- by a savage society as well as the
hose months gave them instability caused by mental ill-
portunity to explore their ness. This production is infused
ters thoroughly to pro- with private anguish and a real
more realistic portrayal. dramatic fury to deal with the
rmore, they were able to situation at hand.
nto critical messages pre- More than anything else, the
in the script. play highlights the characters'
'ol of MT&D Prof. Philip relationships with one another
who directs the produc- and how their own individual
plained the process from emotions and dispositions inter-
-go. sect. Kerr said Williams uses his
a three-point triangle," characters to showcase the valor
aid. "You have to look of the human condition, and the
t's in the play, as well as needto plunge ahead.
ctor is playing the charac- The department of The-
d then the director has to atre & Drama is bringing more
'ordinator between these attention to this production
mewhat similar points of by arranging for the American
playwright Christopher Durang
to give an address and organiz-
ing other panels on themes and
ou t interpretations of Williams's
plays. Additionally, there will
relieve the be a screening of the 1959 Holly-
wood version of "Suddenly, Last
ending Summer," which stars Mont-
' - gomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor
and Katharine Hepburn.
As one of the greatest play-
as the director, tries to wrights of 20th-century Ameri-
e actor the space to meld ca, Williams created a work that
racter with his own per- will mesmerize the audience. He
dentity. Furthermore, the held nothing back in "Suddenly
have to take Williams's Last Summer," but rather pre-
d language and make it sented a heartfelt drama, reveal-
natural. This becomes a ing the intimate relations of its
e challenge, because the characters.
are in their early 20s, "I want them to be exalted by
menting with characters it," Kerr said of his intentions for
e middle-aged. the audience. "I want them to
irector, Kerr's production feel that they witnessed a part
cus on complex themes, of a piece of art that is worthy of
ng the misunderstanding their attention."
well's new FOX for its inaugural season. Created
by Simon Cowell and crafted for
nture no better maximum ratings impact, it fills
the void left before the 11th "Idol"
than Idol' season debut in January.
In tone and style, the shows
By JOE DIMUZIO hit the same sharp pitch. The
DailyArts Writer arrangement of "X Factor," how-
ever, is a little different. While
Carl Orff were alive today, it's still a "singing competition,"
ght be a little pissed off. His gone are the "Idol" age cap and
rtal (for better or worse) group limitations. Finalists go on
Fortuna" to something called "Boot Camp"
compani- and the judges apparently get
to any pretty hands-on later in the sea-
every The X Factor son. Auditions are made (after
ysmic preliminaries, where magic goes
trailer Pilot to die) in front of a studio audi-
sports ence. Pepsi's the soda of choice.
ght reel Wednesdaysand The show's an "Idol" palette
he last Thursdaysat8p.m. swap with the contrast driven
decades FOX way up. Over the course of two
seems physically and emotionally
ed to its own seat in a demanding hours we're treated
nctory hell. Shorn of its to all the standard tropes: the guy
nics and forced to create who works at a burrito joint with
a that doesn't exist other- a voice of gold, old lady stuns
Orff's 1936 cantata remains everyone with a flat belt, aimless
nwilling participant in this riffage from a tweenage white
tutqdard mechanical trans- girl rewarded with ov tihns ad
. And here, in the opening kneeling prayers. The American
age of the American debut Dream, still boundless and reces-
he X Factor," is "Fortuna," sion-proof, flies and dies in eight
in for the heavy lifting, so minute vignettes. "The X Factor"
ifully calculated and hol- is a master-class in the artifice of
su can't help butsmirk. Carl the edit. It's all relentless fortis-
've vomited. simo and glitter - spray-on tears
w, nine years after "Ameri- and strobe montage of titanic
dol" translated the success proportions.
UK's "Pop Idol" into Coca- While the sugar high feels nice
Ford Focus and Kelly Clark- in little doses, "X Factor" aches of
:he U.S. has its nauseous a nation unwilling to look itself in
ssor. "The X Factor," now the mirror and deliver any blunt
years old in Britain, has honesty as to the state of things.
its way to FOX's primetime Criticisms are fluff and ovations
are party favors. A monumental
hollowness pervades the entire
program. The criticism never
gets past "good," "bad" and "nice
outfit." Parents weep as their
child gets a solitary affirmative
vote. Nothing of the rampant
pitchiness, flimsy breath support
nor any indication of a nascent
representation of vocal phras-
ings. But hey, it's never really
been about singing, right? It's all
You've got to imagine the
actual drama of putting on the
entire "X Factor" production is
very interesting - all the manip-
ulation and fake cues. Interns
scrawling fake signs for fake fans
inthe crowd. Custodians slipping
some carisoprodol into Paula
Abdul's 40-ounce Diet Pepsi dur-
ing breaks. The people turned
away for having too good a voice
And perhaps the original
promise of "Idol" was a novel
one: that in this lightning-quick
technology age we can craft a
wholly transparent interactive,
television production ... that
the American monoculture can
still clutch upon some notion of
For now, the promise remains
Orff's "Fortuna" is an adap-
tation of a 13th-century poetic
satire on fate and luck. "Sors
immanis / et inanis" goes it's
second stanza - "Fate, mon-
strous and empty." Maybe Orff
would be fine with it. For "The X
Factor," the tune feels curiously
Egyptian city unveiled
"My doctor said I have to wear pink on Wednesdays"
Can't escape from'Suburgatory'
Where the majority of ancient
Egyptian exhibits evoke the
wealth and prosperity of pha-
gold and intri- Karanis
cate jewelry, Reveaed
opened exhibit Through
in the Kelsey Dec. 18th
Archaeology Kelsey Museum
brings some- of Archaeology
thing new to Free
highlight ancient civilizations.
"Karanis Revealed: Discover-
ing the Past and Present of a
Michigan Excavation in Egypt"
reveals to its visitors the possi-
bility of connecting on a person-
al level with a society that lived
thousands of centuries before.
"It's all about getting people
to connect with what's on dis-
play and being able to estab-
lish a connection on something
familiar," said associate profes-
sor of Egyptology and curator
Terry Wilfong. "The formality
of high art from ancient Egypt is
somewhat off-putting, but this is
about seeing things people used
every day and were a part of
their daily lives."
Wilfong also acknowledged
that the strong point of the
exhibit lies in the sincerity and
simplicity of its objects.
"The idea was toget what peo-
ple's everyday lives were like,"
Wilfong said. "Our strength is
that we have so much material
from the daily lives of ordinary
people, and we made a point of Among the various artifacts
making some of that available to is a selection of painted animal
tell stories of what lives would. bones thought to have been used
have been like in that time." in magic rituals and ceremonies,
This archaeological story- wooden locks and keys that were
telling can be seen in the riv- at the height of the society's
eting images and videos from ingenuity at the time, broken
the excavation at the site of the coins and a statue of a priest,
small Egyptian village of Kara- which has become the icon of
nis, led by a group of University the Karanis exhibit.
archaeologists and researchers "The piece that welcomes you,
in the 1920s and 1930s. the statue of the seated priest, it's
Ahead of its time, the travel- a really unusual piece," Wilfong
ing group brought video equip- said. "It shows us something
ment to the northeastern village about the Egyptian culture, even
to capture valuable footage, in the Greek and Roman times."
which can be viewed on the This "Seated Dignitary" stat-
interactive display in the center uette, carved from black basalt
of the exhibit. and dated between A.D. 50 and
100, is just one of thousands of
objects found during the Michi-
gan archaeological dig.
Kee ngu With so much material and
with Karanis so many objects that have yet
to be put on display, "Karanis
after two Revealed" has been split into
two parts - the current part
nillenia. covers Karanis in its early stages
and has objects in the exhibit
that date to A.D. 1 and before.
The second part, opening Jan.
"The idea was to include asso- 27, will explore the changes
ciated archival photos, or plans brought to Karanis with the
or maps from the dig," Wilfong Roman occupation of Egypt in
said. "But it expanded more 31 B.C.
about the objects and the people "Karanis Revealed," though
that lived in the town." covering a wide span of time
The exhibit is filled with and information, allows visitors
simple yet remarkable pieces to form a personal connection
from the early centuries of the by the simple act of present-
village under Greek rule during ing something relatable to their
the Ptolemaic dynasty. Visitors lives - whether it's a wooden
will get a feel for the quality and doll, a piece of cloth or a long-
circumstance of life in Karanis, forgotten bracelet, a village as
exploring the homes and posses- ancient and remote as Karanis
sions of villagers. becomes familiar.
By TEDDY PAPES
Daily Arts Writer
stumbles with its premise. The
dad, (Jeremy Sisto, "Law and
condoms in h
old daughter's Suburgatory
room, so he
pulls her out Pilot
of school and Wednesdays
moves the at 8:30 p.m.
family from ABC
New York City
to the Connecticut suburbs. It
makes no logical sense - the
suburbs are famous for the rich
kids who live there and the
drugs and sex they use to allevi-
ate their boredom. Why did he
think this would be a good idea?
Immediately the dad is an idiot,
but beyond the absence of any
intelligence, what kind of hor-
rible parent responds to finding
condoms by uprooting his fam-
ily and moving them out of the
state? It's more than callous -
it's psychotic. So within the first
minute of the backstory, you
hate one of the main characters
you are supposed to empathize
with. Not good so far.
When the show finally starts,
it seems that absolutely no cre-
ative or original concept went
into creating the setting. Take
"The Stepford Wives," and then
of the five moststypical intonation and plays into allthe
yes about the suburbs. suburban cliches. She has a rich
em together and you have mom, played by (Cheryl Hines,
gatory." The daughter, "Curb Your Enthusiasm") who
(Jane Levy, "Shameless"), insists her daughters' short
udgingly given a guided skirts are too long - think Amy
f her school on her first Poehler in "Mean Girls." Dalia is
se escort is another class- bleached blonde, she bullies the
amed Dalia (Carly Chai- nerds - you canguess the rest, it
'he Last Song"), a popular has all been done before.
ho is only participating So for any promising material,
act of charity for extra all that is left is the relationship
Of course Dalia won't between Tessa and her dad. They
nds with Tessa because are the only characters who seem
pularity is at stake, com- to have any layers, but if the writ-
ed by the fact that Tessa ing proves to be as boring and
s strangely and has big uninspiring as the premise, "Sub-
boots, which to Dalia urgatory" is headed nowhere
only mean one thing - fast. There are a few laugh-out-
is a lesbian. And yes, loud moments, but for the most
part the writing is so mediocre
that the actors deliver their lines
W ait the in a tone that seems more desper-
ate than funny. There are glimps-
burbssck? es of situational humor and good
writing, but they could have just
been accidents.It feelslike every-
one in the show is just trying too
Girls" already did this. hard. The funniest part of this
he new girl is an angsty half-hour viewing experience
rculturalist, and tine pop- was an Aflac advertisement dur-
rl is a robotic stereotype ing a commercial break, which
urban excess. Not fording about sums up "Suburgatory" in
new ground here. Dalia its entirety.
great job of encapsulat- If you couldn't guess, "Sub-
e problems of the show. urgatory" is a portmanteau of
a monotone banality and suburbs and purgatory. The best
as one of the many unc- word to describe the viewing
tereotypes - in fact, she's experience would simply be hell.
ction of them. She has no Enjoy at your own risk.
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