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January 13, 2012 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-01-13

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6 - Friday, January 13, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


Vusi Mahlasela to perform
South African music at UMMA

By JON ODDEN lot oft]
Daily Arts Writer those s

Hwang won a Tony Award for M. Saigon," which addresses similar cultural issues as those featured nCh igish.
Dvid nHenry Hng
to discuIs'Chinglish'

With his iconic voice and
lyrics of hope in an apartheid-
marred South
Africa, Vusi The Center
collaborat- for World
ed with the performance
likes of Gov'tS
Mule, Dave Studies
Mathews Presents Vusi
Band and Paul Mahiasela
Simon and
brought his Todayat
message to 7:30 p.m.
the world. His HelmutStern
solo career
ha vn Auditorium
has even
included the Free
honor of per-
forming for Nelson Mandela's
inauguration in 1994.
Tonight, the man who has
garnered the moniker "The
Voice of South Africa" brings his
soul and culture to the blustery
Midwestern winter. He will be
featured in a Center for World
Performance Studies "Signa-
ture Event" at the University of
Michigan Museum of Art.
"This show is going to bring
focus to Ubuntu," Mahlasela said.
"Ubuntu is humanity; it's explor-
ing what it means for us as a peo-
ple living today. It encompasses a


Ann A:

Tony Award-winner
to speak about
cultural issues
Daily FineArts Editor
Heralded by publications like
Time Magazine as one of 2011's
best plays, "Chinglish" has been
said to capti-
vate its audi-
ence with A discussion
witty lines with David
and comedic Henry Hwang
Written by Today at 4 p.m.
playwright Michigan League,
David Henry Vandenberg Room
Hwang, the
show contin- Free
ues its run on
the Broadway stage, and Hwang
has traveled to the University to
talk about his newest hit and the
life of a playwright.
"I saw ("Chinglish") last
October] and I was really very
impressed because the premise
of it is how things can get lost
in the process of translation,"
said Joseph Lam, director of the
Confucius Institute and profes-
sor of Musicology at the School
of Music, Theatre & Dance. "It
was a well-written and flowing
experience. I got to talk to David
Hwang, and I thought, 'Why not

invite him (to the University)?'"
Born in Los Angeles, Hwang
studied at Stanford University
where his first play, "F.O.B.,"
premiered while Hwang was
still an undergraduate. He later
went on to enroll into the Yale
School of Drama.
Hwang's previous works'have
garnered him recognition in the
form of multiple Obie awards,
Pulitzer nominations and a Tony
Award for his best-known play,
"M. Butterfly."
Hwang's presentation today,
hosted by the University's Con-
fucius Institute, will focus on
his road to writing "Chinglish,"
as well as a discussion of play-
"The opportunity to talk with
an award-winning playwright is
a great opportunity," Lam said.
"It is a chance students inter-
ested in writing should not miss.
"(Hwang) is comingto explain
what he has achieved and to give
us a bit of his producer-and-
writer perspective on China in
A recurringtheme in Hwang's
plays is the Chinese-American
identity and the clash of these
two cultures. Hwang's recent
play, "Chinglish," continues the
exploration of culture-crisis
by following a young Ameri-
can businessman on his trav-
els to China. Though the play's
comedic interludes stem from

misunderstandings and transla-
tional mishaps, much of the play
is spent underlining the less-
obvious issues with communica-
"The problem isn't always a
matter of translation - some-
times it's not just about finding
a different word or a different
context, it's about intonation
and a physical aspect of lan-
guage," Lam said.
Hwang's talent as a play-
wright aids viewers in under-
standing the play, which is
largely spoken in Mandarin.
"Those that don't know Chi-
nese can really grasp the nuanc-
es and the issues in part due to
the creative dramatist work,"
Lam said. "(Hwang) was able
to insert humor and drama and
create a piece that is accessible."
The cultural variation in the
play reflects the differences
in upbringing in Western and
Eastern society - things that
are, at their core, fundamentally
"other." But in these seemingly
separate beliefs,.Hwang found a
way to connect the two areas of
the world.
"He really gets at the issues,"
Lam said. "Beside the language,
tradition and challenges of Chi-
nese values, the play discusses
questions of morality and love
and betrayal - all these really
deep human issues that are uni-

them ti
an arti
they c
from n
share a
ture, in
a conv(
and th
each ot
only in
a Frida

hings in society and binds Mahlasela said. "Then it is hard
ocieties together." to get energy back and no one
ging the philosophy of becomes closer. But in those
u from South Africa to concerts where the subject mat-
rbor, Mahlasela has envi- ter reaches the audience, we are
a concert experience of united by the music."
edented intimacy. In the show, Mahlasela hopes
to blend his traditional folk with
the more progressive genres
M ahlasela developing in South Africa. Even
still, his message is the same.
)erformed "My music is often about for-
giveness and love, and you can-
] lMandela's not have one without the other,"
Mahlasela said. "It's about the
auguration. painful experiences we went
through in South Africa, and
from there up to where we are
ple really want to hear Mahlasela said his music is
zing ... that will make always in flux because it's so
hink," Mahlasela said. "As interwoven with the fabric of
ist, I encourage them to South African culture. Those
these thoughts, because who attend the performance
some from many people will have a night with a musi-
nany places. It's a way to cian who embodies the quintes-
and a way to grow in cul- sential folk tradition of Africa
humanity." and the new Africa: one cogni-
this way, Mahlasela zant of its past, but looking to
ned that his concert is like the future.
ersation, during which he "It's great to have people
e crowd exchange emo- share in my memories and my
energy and respond to music, but it is tremendous for
her. me too," Mahlasela said. "It's
netimes it's difficult to go really all about 'we:' We need to
-here where people are listen to each other, we need to
rterested in going out on share with each other, we need
ay evening to some club," to honor each other."

Array of talent in

Daily Arts Writer
Pablo Picasso coined the
term "collage" from the French
word colle, meaning glue. In the
visual arts, a
collage typi- Collage
cally describes Concert
a collection of
different parts Tomorrow
into a cohesive at8 p.m.
whole. Tomor- Hill Auditorium
row, the School
of Music, The- From $10
atre & Dance
will make its annual attempt to
have people rethink their idea of
a collage by presenting a variety

of their best performers in the
35th annual "Collage Concert."
"Collage" was the brain-child
of now-emeritus Gustav Meier,
director of the University Sym-
phony Orchestra, who, upon
viewing a show in Belgium,
brought the idea back to Ann
The show consists of two sec-
tions, during which the perfor-
mance moves quickly, and these
quick switches between the dif-
ferent moods and themes are the
reason for the concert's title.
"Collage takes the audience
through an artistic journey of
world music, theater and dance,
spanning from the Renaissance

RELEASE DATE- Friday, January 13, 2012
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through present day," said con-
cert director John Pasquale.
"All without interruption of
In addition to an orchestra
and a 100-person choir, "Col-
lage" features performance
excerpts in vocal opera, jazz and
MT&D senior Emily Berman
describes the show as perfect
for "commito-phobes," or audi-
ence members without a decid-
ed music flavor, since the rapid
switches between different
genres and musical types mean
that the show usually caters to
every taste.
"It's a cross-section of all
of the amazing and different
things that are going on in the-
music school at once," Berman
said, who is performing for the
third time in this concert. "It
allows you to see very differ-
ent performances for very short
amounts of time."
Portions of
the School of
MT&D in one
The concert blends perfor-
mances from every department
of MT&D, using the large stage
at Hill Auditorium to accom-
plish this technical behemoth.
It's meant to be as much a
visual spectacle as an auditory
"'Collage' is always challeng-
ing from the technical end,"
said Emily Avers, director of
ensemble operations in MT&D.
"(It) presents a different puzzle
every year to produce ... this
requires an incredible amount
of preparation, organization
and patience, but the moment
that the pieces fall into place is
Along with the pieces from
the various departments, which
will include a scene from the
play "The Beaux Stratagem"
and two musical theater pieces,
the concert will be interspersed
with original works by MT&D
students that have been select-
ed by the faculty.
"Many times, 'Collage' is a
patron's first experience with
the School of Music, Theatre
& Dance," Avers said. "So our
goal is for the audience to have
a good time, perhaps be a bit out
of breath at the end, and leave
Hill wanting to come back and
see more from our students and

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