The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 5A
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 5A
Play to explore 'Manic
Pixie Dream Girl'
By ANNA SADOVSKAYA
"I love the Smiths," says Sum-
mer Finn as she looks at Tom
s Hansen's iPod. That's all it took
for Tom to fall
in love, and so . .
began the real Manic Pixie
action of "500 Dream Girl
Days of Sum-
mer," a story Tomorrow,
about a brood- Friday and
ing young man Saturday at
(Joseph Gor- 7 p.m. and
don-Levitt as Sunday at
Tom), the spar- 2 p.m.
kling, enigmatic Walgreen Drama
Summer (Zooey Center, Studio One
and the pursuit
of their inter-
twined happiness. Summer is
aloof and free, a new and exciting
adventure for Tom, and his ideal-
ization of her allows for Summer
to become his Manic Pixie Dream
Girl - a term coined by film
critic Nathan Rabin to describe
the unattainable and unattached
female characters that exist solely
for the purpose of helping the
male protagonists seize the day
and embrace their lives.
Tomorrow, a new play disen-
tangling this constructed per-
sona will take the stage as School
of Music, Theatre & Dance senior
Emma Jeszke unveils her Plays-
in-Process production of "Manic
Pixie Dream Girl," which she
"I was introduced to the
idea of the Manic Pixie Dream
Girl through ... Zooey Descha-
nel's character," Jeszke said.
"They are female characters
that are only present in movies
to enhance or inform the emo-
tional arc of the male protago-
nist. They're cute, they're quirky.
The male protagonist falls in love City with her boyfriend Pete. As
with them, she breaks his heart, Pete's friends Danny and Patrick
he has revelations about life, and come to visit the couple, the story
as she disappears, we get to see begins to unfold and Shea's pixie
him becoming a better person." girl persona starts to unravel.
Unlike the archetypal sub- "As (Shea) meets and gets to
character in movies, the dream know the two friends, who she
girl in Jeszke's play is a protago- feels much more understood by,
nist. Jeszke, a former Arts edi- she realizes she doesn't have to
tor for The Michigan Daily, said be the Manic Pixie Dream Girl,
that this allowed the play to she is understood in the way she
transform from a typical roman- wants to be," Jeszke said.
tic comedy, in which the Manic Throughout the play, charac-
Pixie Dream Girl is a supporting ters pass Danny's journal back
character with little background, and forth. Jeszke said this was
to a lead character the audience a way for the characters to bond
can better understand. while allowing the audience
members to get a better look into
the minds of the leads.
Student w riter "We realize that Shea has all
these passions and drives and
gives M PDG interests in the world that she
can't necessarily share with (the
life of her ow n. others) because they don't under-
stand," Jeszke said.
"Her writing these things in
the journal are happening simul-
"I incorporated aspects of the taneously in the plot as Pete pro-
Manic Pixie Dream Girl: She's poses to Shea and she reluctantly
into art, she wants to be a writ- agrees," Jeszke added. "We get
er, she's trendy - all of these this contrast of Pete tryingto nail
things that are surface Manic her down into this life she doesn't
Pixie Dream Girl properties, but want and her feeling almost com-
through the language and the fortably unhappy and unsure of
structure of the play, we discover how to get what she wants."
a lot more about her and what she The characters, storylines and
wants," Jeszke said. motives line up to tell the com-
Jeszke noted that she inte- ing-of-age story of a Manic Pixie
grated the idea of "20-some- Dream Girl and what it means to
thing syndrome": the reluctance detract from stereotypes.
of recent college grads to settle "The play takes you back and
down, thus staving off adult- forth between very high, alive
hood and responsibility. The young people who are discov-
four characters in "Manic Pixie ering themselves and then it
Dream Girl" all live in the middle pulls you back into these tragic
ground between teendom and moments of rejection and feel-
adulthood, and this is where ing misunderstood," Jeszke said.
the show takes place. The play "It's representative of life for
centers on Shea, the "Dream" people who will soon be going
girl in question: She's a recent through big changes, such as
college grad living in New York graduation and life afterwards."
The School of MT&D's adaptation of "Chicago" will feature choreography inspired by Fosse.
Fame, allI that jazz
.hool of MT&D an adaptation of Chicago, hoping
to "razzle dazzle" the Ann Arbor
o bring sleazy community.
After discovering her lover
hicago' to stage never intended to make her a star
on the stage, Roxie Hart kills him
By LAURA KAYE in cold blood. She is then sent to
Daily Arts Writer prison and encounters the cel-
ebrated Velma Kelly, who killed
the world's a stage, and her husband and sister after
men and women merely learning of their affair. Lawyer
s" - Shakespeare's famous Billy Flynn plays a central role,
from "As altering the true accounts of the
Like It" Chicago women, exploiting sympathy
ing true from the media and increasing
Fame Tomorrow their notoriety in the process. As
e of the at 7:30 p.m., the plot unfolds and the tension
attrac- Friday and rises, the musical explores their
little dif- Saturday at battle for the limelight and the
from sex 8 p.m. and depths to which one will fall to
honey. It Sunday at capture that glory.
t mat- 2 p.m. "Nothing has changed since
ho wields the 1920s," said show director
how they Power Center Linda Goodrich-Weng, an asso-
whether From $10 ciate professor of musical the-
celebrity ater. "We have the trial of Casey
TV or a professor at a Uni- Anthony and Amanda Knox this
. In fact, for many people, year, which had all the hype in
y holds the same appeal as the media. People grab on until
The central focus of the something else comes along. If
al "Chicago" is fame: Who anything, it is getting worse."
who wants it, and how can Bob Fosse was a master cho-
t it? reographer who directed the
icago" is based on the original musical. He developed
nts of reporter Maurine a highly sexualized and stylized
Watkins, who wrote sensa- technique, providing a smooth-
columns about two women ness and nonchalant air to his
d of murder in 1924. These work. Goodrich-Weng empha-
alous stories became sized that the choreography in
nely popular, which caused this production is her own, but
write a play about the two was heavily influenced by the
ters. Bob Fosse and Fred Fosse style. As a performer who
ter adapted her play into worked with Fosse and Gwen
usical, which has won mul- Verdon, a famed actress and
sony awards and is one of dancer, Goodrich-Weng is using
ngest-running musicals on a combination of tap, ballet and
way. The School of Music, jazz styles, honing in on the
re & Dance is presenting strength and isolation apparent
in Fosse's technique.
Goodrich-Weng makes note
of the emphasis on the environ-
ment in this production and how
scenes switch from those of real-
ity to vaudeville caricature. This
vaudeville atmosphere harkens
back to the original production
rather than the revival. The cos-
tumes reflect the styles of the
1920s, creating an authentic dis-
play of the times.
MT&D sophomore Conor
McGiffin, who plays Billy Flynn,
said that the characters' true
natures come forth in the songs.
"These are despicable people,
and you can hear it in the songs,"
McGiffin said. "There is back-
phrasing in the songs that would
not be in the revival. With back-
phrasing, you sing a little behind
the beat. This shows how there's
something a little off (with the
characters) and we don't know
what it is."
He added, "You want to think
that the bad guys will be put away
and the good guys will save the
world, but the good guys, the Billy
Flynns of the world, are creeps."
Even though the produc-
tion centers around the lives of
criminals and their ambition for
power and stardom, McGiffin
mentions that there is a lesson
that can be taken away from a
show like this.
"Not to steal anything from
'Transformers,' " McGiffin said.
"But there's more than meets the
eye to the beautiful people who
are put on trial, or who are in
trouble or who are public figures.
There is a lot more going on. We
should take what they have to say
or what they believe they stand
for with a grain of salt."
'Salt' finds humor in the
life of a hopeless romantic
Choking to death on "Breaking Bad" didn't teach you a lesson.
By KELLY ETZ
Daily TV/New Media Editor
There's always that one actor:
The one stuck playing the best
friend or the obnoxious bitch,
who never quite
manages to pull
to protagonist Don't Trust
status. The one
who, every time the B--- In
you see them Apartment
on screen, you 23
"Give that girl Pilot
her own show Wednesdays
Krysten Rit- a19:30 p.m.
ter is that actor. ABC
stints on "Veronica Mars," "Gos-
sip Girl" and "Breaking Bad." You
probably saw her in the back-
ground of a myriad of B-movie
romantic comedies - "Confes-
sions of a Shopaholic," "What
Happens in Vegas." She's the one
who will pop up as a minor char-
acter and have you going "Oh, it's
Well, here's her moment.
"Don't Trust the B---- in Apart-
ment 23" is all about Ritter, or
should we say Chloe, the room-
mate from hell. The one who
sleeps with your fiance on your
birthday cake. Who stashes illicit
- or ju
in her dead nana's otto- flannel-wearing 15-year-old
You can love grandma's from Capeside, of course. Van
n and still want to make Der Beek has made an art out of
on pills"). Who sets you monopolizing on the past - both
her (still married) father. in the show and in real life - and
somehow best friends we love him all the more for it.
mes Van Der Beek - wait, June (Dreama Walker, "Gran
rt is actually pretty stellar. Torino") pales in comparison
e you, Dawson! to the other stars, though it's
through no fault of her own. She
plays the innocuous, peppy inno-
he Bek i cent with no reason for complaint,
but there've been way too many
ck in action. "girl from the Midwest trying to
make it in the big city" storylines
for June to merit much praise.
However, June's a necessary foil
'r was made for this role. for Chloe, and thankfully she's
outs her mouth off with left much of the "aw, shucks" atti-
charisma, delivering one- tude back home in Indiana, man-
ms as easily as she downs a aging to convey the character as
shot. Each line of the quip- more quirky than tired.
ogue has Ritter flashing a With smile-inducing lines at
reak and a sparkling smile every turn, "Don't Trust the B----
st plain flashing the audi- in Apartment 23" is the freshest
hile eating her yogurt and spark in the midseason lineup.
g with the pervert next ABC picked up the sitcom for
he pulls off Chloe more 12 episodes so far, two of which
han James Van Der Beek have already debuted on Hulu. It
vell, James Van Der Beek. may be slow going at first for the
at's saying something. breezy comedy, with an awkward
Der Beek is the second mid-April start and the likeli-
ag highlight of the show, hood of an abbreviated first sea-
neously laughing at him- son. But "Don't Trust the B----"
I giving what might prove has all the elements of a comedic
he most prolific perfor- success, and with Ritter at the
of his career, exclud- helm (finally!), the series can do
at awkwardly gorgeous, little wrong.
By AKSHAY SETH
Gianni is invisible. Not in the
literal sense - though it would
be pretty cool to watch a movie
about a mis-
chievous and ****
ian man. No, The Salt
"The Salt of of
Life" takes a
more realis- At the
tic approach. Michigan
Gianni is a guy
so lost in the Zeitgeist
of existence that he no longer
remembers what it's like to hold
someone's attention. He feels
like a drifter, a sad little footnote
posted on the margin of every-
body else's life.
It can be a sad, boring story
to squeeze into 90 minutes, but
thankfully director Gianni Di
Gregorio ("Mid-August Lunch"),
who also plays the lead, sees the
lighter side of things. Rather than
those depressing faux-introspec-
tive shots of Gianni looking in
a mirror while thinking about
the real meaning of life, we get a
slightly more interesting plotline
about the man's never-ending
search for true love. In other
words, it's an hour-and-a-half
of Gianni trying to woo pretty,
young Italian women..
At first, he's tentative, vicari-
ously observing as his older com-
panions take their mistresses to
elaborate luncheons and "after-
if I en.
to hit c
like a g
." But for some reason, the unhappy, dejected context
that he has been retired behind every plot development,
years and doesn't even "The Salt of Life" turns out to
the same bed as his wife be a surprisingly funny movie.
re, Gianni can't muster the There's no doubt that anyone
e to make a move. There's who watches this film will be
an inkling of self-doubt feeling sorry about Gianni's sad
nding everything Gianni life just minutes into the first
ts: What if they make me scene. Di Gregorio uses this pity
be some sort of buffoon? to inspire a sense of vulnerability
f my wife finds out? What that makes us laugh uneasily at
d up being that deserted Gianni's expense. It's never the
o one cares about? kind of smack-you-across-the-
face comedy you'd expect walk-
ing into a movie like "Superbad"
lidlife crisis or "The Hangover." Rather, Di
Gregorio seems content with
vithout the those thoughtful, pensive laughs
like the kind you'd find watching
lelodram a. a Woody Allen movie.
To a certain degree, the movie
succeeds in delivering a poignant
and cleverly constructed por-
illy, when it dawns on trait of middle age. The idea that
that he is the loneliest guy nostalgia can be and usually is-a
ver know, his lawyer and mirror image of expectation is
friend Alfonso (Alfonso clearly visible in Di Gregorio's
ata, "Mid-August Lunch") jokes about "finding the one true
es a double date with iden- love." But the writers don't try
wns. As expected, things to back it up with all of those
o as planned. And it only long, winding monologues about
'orse when Gianni tries how a man's identity gradually
in his senile mother's hot dissolves with age. By doing so,
caretaker. In every way, Gianni becomes more relatable.
men in Gianni's life - no And "The Salt of Life" is a better
how pretty or ugly - are movie for realizing it.
iant wall blocking his way By the time the end credits roll,
piness. No matter how you're not really sure whether t
times our middle-aged not you want Gianni to ever find
friend runs at the wall, true love. But one thing is dead
s up walking away with a clear: Everyone in the audience
nose. will hope that the poor guy even-
somehow, in spite of tually gets laid.