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February 10, 2012 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-02-10

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, February 10, 2012 - 5

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom friday, February 10, 2012 -5

Waxing poetic on the
complexity of form

Because of the show's mature themes; the musical was banned)n Germany at the end of the 19th century.
Timeless ise e
to sni'Sprig

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pular musical to lives. When parents ignore their
children and fail to address
e performed by the issues they face, problems
ensue. Temptation lies at the
chool of MT&D core of the play, and over its
course, the characters reveal
By LAURA KAYE how they handle those trials.
DailyArts Writer Malcolm Tulip, "Spring
Awakening" director and asso-
wind and return to the days ciate professor of theatre, dis-
h school and drama - how cussed the messages that the
you forget them? "Spring play conveys.
ening" is "We should listen to children
sical that as they grow up, remember our
ights the ,"n own experiences and then act in
sity, anxi- Awakening a way that doesn't injure them,"
nd anger Tonight at8 Tulip said.
sat stage p.m.through Tulip emphasized how the
fe. When Feb19 songs create a three-way dia-
'n' rollFeb.1', logue with the characters, their
dra- various imes inner selves and the audience. In
teenage Arthur Miller a traditional musical, the songs
excel- Theatre are a continuation of the narra-
theatrical From $10 tive and underscore a particular
ainment' aspect of the character or their
s. circumstances. However, in
e School of Music, The- "Spring Awakening," the songs
& Dance is presenting more directly address the situa-
how at the Arthur Miller tionsthatcoccur by being framed
ng tonight. This musical, in the mind of a character, so
music by Duncan Sheik they reveal a different perspec-
'rics by Steven Sater, is an tive to what the audience just
ation of Frank Wedekind's witnessed. Furthermore, the
an play that delves into the songs are very contemporary
of teenagers as they grap- and speak to the everyday audi-
ith puberty, the mysteries ence.
, abusive relationships and This adaptation is stripped
e. With a fusion of folk down to the bare essentials.

The scenery is minimal, with'
only black, acting-class blocks
populating the space, emphasiz-
ing the experiences of the char-
acters and how they deal with
their problems.
Critics have rebuked past
productions of the play for
exposing youth to nudity and
sexuality. Some have even tried
to censor the show, claiming it
presents an immoral message
that should not be brought to
the stage. Tulip explained how
Wedekind's play was banned in
Germany at the end of the 19th
century, and today we are still
debating the same issues - little
has changed.
"We still have discussions in
the media (about) whether teen-
agers should have access to con-
traception or birth control, and
that discussion is still going on
*and some adults are still' upset
and don't want it in the schools,"
Tulip said. "And sometimes,
education is compromised by
people's belief systems."
From this perspective, when a
topic is controversial, it becomes
even more important to bring it
to people's attention. "Spring
Awakening" will attempt to
awaken audience members' to
the problems of teens and it will
flower a perspective on how to
address those issues.

By JONATHAN ODDEN
DailyArts Writer
In the study of language, the
idea that form encases content
like a vessel had been a last-
ing supposition, unchallenged
until Viktor Shklovsky and the
Russian Formalists put forth
the radical notion that such a
relationship need not exist. The
revision of that Hermeneutic
standard was, in many ways, the
biggest contribution of Russian
Formalism and is still widely
supported today by a range of
literary theories. I suggest, how-
ever, that their argument was
wrong since it splits form from
a binary that never existed, and
more importantly, isolates form
from language. To make sense of
that, we might first re-evaluate
our working definitions of con-
tent and form.
It's unfortunate how often
the term "form" is thrown about
and how widely literary theo-
rists define it. Nothing is more
telling of this tendency than
the fact that Shklovsky's essay
- the very piece from which
form in the Formalist argument
really became defined - has
been translated as both "Art as
Form" and "Art as Technique."
This looseness of term is frus-
trating, but mistakes between
matters of form and format are
actually detrimental to critical
theory. Form is the technique,
the literary device, the rhythmic
pattern, etc. that exist in a work.
Together, these forms are codi-
fied into a static format, which,
to avoid confusion, we might
substitute with a synonym:
style. We might think of atoms
as form and molecules as style,
especially since this explanation
demonstrates that combinations
of the same forms in different
ways can create different styles.
To use a concrete example: Iam-
bic Pentameter is the form of the
Shakespearian sonnet and the
Spenserian sonnet - they use
the same rhythmic form but a
different form of rhyme-pattern.
With form defined as such,
we find a slight issue facing us

- ther
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an exi
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For pr
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20th c
puter
existed
compu
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plish tI

e exists form but nothing the equivalent of forms. The
ormed. Imagine if we had creation of distinct computer
tc. without numbers. The languages has one significant
rn is obvious: We lack a drawback: They cannot commu-
. Such a necessitated sys- nicate among themselves. It was
vhich I will import with not until the older languages,
riation from Saussurian such as FORTRAN, LISP, and
ics, is defined by its lim- COBOL, were replaced with the
t and the rules that govern first independent languages that
t If we combine the set of the complexity took off. Like
with this system of Ian- computers, if every artist cre-
it creates a binary that I ated his or her own language,
is central to a discussion we would have less a canon of
guage, since with that is literature and more a set of lan-
ssibility of creativity for guages, a collection of works
iter. like Samuel Pepy's diary, which
problem is especially would have different codes for
It for the Structuralists the same ideas. Nobody could
wer and this is directly a communicate. Here lies the
of language as they con- necesseity of a static, structured
t. If language is a struc- language: universal understand-
which I wholly agree it ing for those that speak it. If not
n it's bounded at every capable of achieving anything
onic moment. The unit "real," it does afford commu-
guage, the word, has no nication and communication is
o change. Only in the dia- powerful. Therefore, we could
c "history" of a language argue that language is not the
he language itself change; creative element of literature;
is an issue for the artist though I should mention that
ig on a fixed point of that creativity is not the same as say-
nce they are unavoidably ing that the author has no choice
language. Simply put, we with language. Following this,
create language. the author may not be able to
create language but he can script
it. Such an argument inevitably
language, the leads to Roland Barthes's sug-
gestion that the artist is dead
tist has died and only a.literary "scriptor"
remains.
I the scriptor To see that we need not reach
this conclusion, we need to shift
is prevailed. our focus from language back to
form. Language is a structure
and form is a set. Rather, each
form is part of a set, which can
might take the interesting be arbitrarily and repeatedly
nd wonder what, if any- classified into styles. Therefore,
would be accomplished form shares no rule and is not
ould actually create lan- bound by anything more than
We would expect to see convention and the artist. What
pansion not of ideas or form is and what itis not inevita-
but of -coding for form. bly becomes subjective. This is a
oof of this, let's look at disturbing thought for those like
plosion of computer lan- the Structuralist or Formalist,
that took place in the who attempt to turn literature
rentury. Since no "coin- into a science. However, from
language-based society" the perspective of the artist,
i in the beginning of the such subjectivity provides not
ter era, separate comput- only the potential for creativity
'uages emerged to accom- but also an openness of interpre-
he same tasks. These are Cation.

and rock music, the actors face
the traditional subjects of grow-
ingup.
MT&D sophomore Ryan
Vasquez, who plays the pro-
tagonist's best friend Moritz,
explained his own interpreta-
tion of the musical.
"It is a coming-of-age tale
about teenagers dealing with
real, dark issues," Vasquez said.
"It's about relationships and
friendships, how they develop
and grow apart and how out-
side factors influence them.
It is appealing to college-age
students who are just getting
through that process and get-
ting (their) bearings about
issues (they) have all dealt with
in the past."
The play focuses on discov-
ering sexuality in all its forms,
including rape, intercourse and
homosexuality, and depicts the
role of parents in children's

ARE YOU SAD BECAUSE 'SPRING
AWAKENING' IS SOLD OUT?
YOU MAY BE PERFECT TO WRITE FOR THE FINE ARTS
SECTION OF DAILY ARTS.
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO COVER CAMPUS THEATER,
EXHIBITIONS AND SO MUCH MORE!
SOUND APPEALING?
Request an application by e-mailing arts@michigandaily.com.

School of MT&D's interpretation of the show will be minimalistic

BENEFITS INCLUDE:
- 50% reduction of MGSM tuition
- Stipend of $500 per month while enrolled
- Available Graduate Assistant positions:
* Mathematics Laboratory
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+ TeachingnAssistant
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email: mgsm@robertmorrts.edu I masters.robertmorris.edu

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL 800.225.1520
CHICAGO CAMPUS: 401 South State Street, Chicago, IL

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or scan the QR code with your
smart phone.

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-nsv' Graduate School of Management

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