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November 04, 2011 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-11-04

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T-Friday, November 4, 2011 - 5

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

TV REVIEW
'Boss' loses touch with reality
By KAYLA UPADHYAYA
Daily Arts Writer

COURTESY OF CHRIs DZOMBA
This weekend, '60s-style suits will be the norm in the Rude Mechanicals' production of "Hamlet."
A 1960s 'Hamlet'

Rude Mechanicals
go mod with classic
Shakespeare play
By ANNA SADOVSKAYA
Daily Arts Writer
Imagine a time when type-
writers and ashtrays crowded
together on office desks. Imag-
ine girls in v
minidresses Hamlet
with beehive
hairdos loung- Tonight and
ing around tomorrow at 8
Manhattan p.m., Sunday
apartments at 2 p.m.
while men in Lydia Mendelssohn
tailored blaz- Theatre
ers listen to Tickets from $3
John Coltrane.
Then picture
one of these finely dressed gen-
tlemen standing up to exclaim:
"To be, or not to be: That is the
question."
Today, tomorrow and Sunday,
the Rude Mechanicals will set
a similar scene in their produc-
tion of Shakespeare's "Hamlet."
Director Emily Lyon, a junior in
the School of Music, Theatre &
Dance, set out to answer Ham-
let's famous question as she took
on the daunting task of stag-
ing one of literature's most well
known and difficult plays.
" 'Hamlet' is a huge under-
taking," Lyon said. "I started
off with saying, 'Hey, I know it's

"Hamlet" and people are going
to have expectations, but we're
going to do our own thing.' Our
play is what we decide to do with
it."
Lyon's decision was to set the
classic Shakespeare story in the
1960s - creating a "Mad Men"-
inspired show, complete with
men in suits and women in cock-
tail dresses.
"I feel like doublets and hose
and men in tights, it makes
people either confused or put
off," Lyon said. "But to me it's
such a living document, such an
alive play. Why not make it more
interesting and have the audi-
ence excited?"
Kris Reilly, a School of MT&D
senior, stars as the foreboding
and sulky Hamlet. Reilly said
the process of fitting Hamlet
into the life and style of the '60s
was easier than expected.
"You'll notice throughout the
show that the '60s are an era that
men were expected to be hyper-
masculine," Reilly said.,"You're
coming out of a period where the
U.S. wasvery-dominant, so the
men had to be very dominant.
And in 'Hamlet,' there are a lot
of lines and other little things
that hinge on masculinity, and it
fits very well."
Also suited to the "Mad Men"
era is the idea of silence and
secrecy - a general sense of the
clandestine that translates well
to a '60s-era production. As in
"Mad Men," "Hamlet" is full of

covert expeditions, sneaky con-
versations and undisclosed plot-
ting, with each character having
a distinct public face shown to
the world and a darker, deeper
private life rarely on display.
Along with well-dressed men
dragging swords through their
apartments while contemplat-
ing their lives, Reilly said the
excitement of the play is found
in the act of telling the tale. No
matter the setting, the plot or
who's speaking, sharing the
story is what entices and invites
people to sit through a long per-
formance.
"Theater is about sittingdown
and experiencing something
that's unstructured," Reilly said.
"It's open time, and that's the
mentality you need."
Though "Hamlet" is not a
short, comedic or light play, the
script, cast and plot are all richly
devised to provide the audience
with the mission of any theater
performance: entertainment.
"Everyone is so rushed today
- it's all 30-second news clips
and truncated articles online,"
Reilly said. "We're so info-sat-
urated that we often lose the
indulgence of imagination, or
the meaning of the informa-
tion we're consuming. The play
is longer, but I think if you can
convince yourself to forget about
the length, there's something
important, human and funda-
mentally beautiful about the
story."

In the first few seconds of
Starz's new political drama
"Boss," Mayor Tom Kane (Kelsey
Grammer,
"Cheers") of
Chicago is diag-
nosed with a os
degenerative
neurological Pilot
disorder. In an
abandoned Chi- Fridaysat10 p.m.
cago slaughter- Starz
house - chosen
for its discretion - a physician
meets with the mayor and ram-
bles off a long list of symptoms,
sounding much like a commercial Like a boss.
for a drug with endless devastat-
ing side effects. She gives Kane Yes, it's ea
three to five years to live. believe th.
To kill off the show's lead char- ing, blackr
acter in that first few minutes of ing happe
a pilot is bold. To have that lead politics, at
character quote Upton Sinclair ing this o
in the pilot's first scene is nothing done befo
short of lofty. "Boss" tries hard effectively
to impress the audience with its plexity an
grisly portrayal of municipal poli- governmei
tics, but it's unsuccessful, instead immoralit
weaving a muddled storyline
filled with implausible characters
who can go on for long, eloquent -p
monologues that never really say EV
anything.
The few successes of "Boss" Gra
restinthetalentsofGrammer and sav
the pilot's director, Gus Van Sant
("Milk"). Grammer proves he can -
do drama just as well as comedy,
committing fully to this complex ably for ti
and disturbing character. Van and shock
Sant manages to make the best of paralyz
of a disorganized and strained esque ear
script, infusing the show with the mayor
his trademark style of close-ups more start
and slow-motion sequences. But ringwitho
when the camerawork is the most Likewis
exciting part of a political thriller, "Boss" see
there is definitelya problem. tic. The w
The main failure of "Bosses" quite heav
is its exaggeration of the extent idea that
of debauchery in local politics. heroes an

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asy for the audience to would be completely unlovable
at bribery, strong-arm- in the real world. This movement
mailing and philander- began with Tony Soprano but has
n at the city level of been perpetuated by recent dra-
nd successfully express- matic characters like Don Draper,
on television has been Walter White and Dexter Mor-
re. HBO's "The Wire" gan, who capture the hearts of
captured the com- television viewers despite ques-
id corruption in local tionable morals and motives. But
mt. But "Boss" takes the again, the writers of "Boss" outdo
y to an extreme, prob- themselves. Kane is painted as
a horrible, erratic tornado of a
man. His only real emotional
nK- sy attachment appears to be to his
en IKelsey daughter Emma (Hannah Ware,
r c "Shame"), but even his attempts
mmner can t to contact her are not enough to
this show. convince anyone Kane is worth
rooting for.
The other characters of "Boss"
have, the potential to become
he sake of dark drama interesting and dynamic, but they
value. Forced injection feel contrived in the pilot. Kane's
ers, "Reservoir Dogs"- wife Meredith (Connie Nielsen,
-chopping, violence in "Gladiator"), with her frosty tone
's office - none of the and manipulative behavior, makes
tling moments of "Boss" Betty Draper look like a ray of
any sense of validity. sunshine. Emma is the only char-
se, the characters of acter who piques any sort of curi-
em forced and unrealis- osity. She appears to be estranged
riters of the show lean from both of her parents and
ily on the ever-growing works as a nurse at a free clinic.
audiences love anti- Oh yeah, and she might be a drug
d lead characters who See BOSS, Page 6

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Star of screen and stage
McDonald to sing at'U'

By LAUREN CASERTA
DailyArts Writer
Most artists see the relation-
ship between the quality and
quantity of their
performance Audra
abilities as alop- McDonald
sided balanc-
ing act. While Tonight at
some choose 8 p.m.
to specialize in
a single genre Hill Auditorium
or style, others Tickets from $10
only lightly dip
their toes into a bit of everything.
But for singing and acting
veteran Audra McDonald, qual-
ity and quantity aren't oppos-
ing forces - instead, they're two
equally important factors that,
when fused together, allow her
to effortlessly glide among the
microphone, the stage and televi-
sion screens. Tonight, McDonald
will perform a wide and vibrant
selection of songs at Hill Audito-
rium.
McDonald, whose credits
include Tony-winning perfor-
mances in Broadway musicals
like "Ragtime" and "Carousel,"
countless classical and operatic
concert appearances, four solo
albums with Nonesuch Records
and a starring role as Dr. Naomi
Bennett in ABC's "Private Prac-
tice," has made a name for herself
in nearly every corner of the per-
forming arts world.
"It's somewhat rare for an artist
to have such impeccable musical
gifts, and yet be such a fine actress

on so n
Theatre
Wagne
perforr
"Certai
commu
vision,
McD
came a;
she ha
by thet
Wagne
live per
1994 r'
in "Car
abilityt
nearly
the ori
intact.
B
Mc
T(
"You
ization
meet t
yet it v
time at
otherv
old-fast
it fit in
doing a
McD
listic g
her par

nany levels," said Musical er and actress has also proven
e Department Chair Brent her worth as a member of more
r, who will give a pre- recent productions, like her 1999
nance talk on McDonald. starring role in the opening run
nly in the musical theater of "Marie Christine," and as an
rnity and in music and tele- accomplished performer of clas-
she's widely respected." sical and operatic music.
)onald's first successes "She's been able to bridge the
s a Broadway actress, and gap . between traditional musi-
d won three Tony Awards cal theater, contemporary musi-
time she was 28 years old. cal theater and an operatic or
r, who saw many of her classical approach to the field,"
rformances, including her Wagner said. "Most new works
Ole as Carrie Pipperidge for (the musical theater) field
ousel," was moved by her are written for a different kind
to bring new life to a show of female voice, but she's proven
50 years old while keeping that you can bring highly skilled
ginal spirit of the musical musical expertise to a wide, wide
repertoire, and that's unusual."
McDonald's highly anticipated
visit will mark her fourth per-
formance in Ann Arbor and her
y 28, A second at HillAuditorium. While
-Donald had many of McDonald's concerts
and vocal performances have
Won three been broadcast on PBS, and a few
grainy videos of her Broadway
)ny Aw ards. performances have found their
way onto the Internet, Wagner
encourages everyone to seize the
rare opportunity to see a master
felt like her character- up close and personal.
was someone you would "Film and television appear-
oday," Wagner said. "And ances can never really com-
was still authentic to the pare with the experience of
nd place of 'Carousel.' In seeing someone in person," Wag-
words, there was nothing ner said. "Even if we aren't talk-
hioned about her work, yet ing to her as she's performing,
to what the writers were we're not passive. We're sharing
nd saying perfectly." something as she's creating it and
onald's ability to span sty- we exist in that moment in time,
enres extends far beyond which only happens in live per-
t in "Carousel." The sing- formance."

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