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October 17, 2013 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-10-17

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 3B

From Page 1B
This sort of cohesion ofthe crew
could only come from practic-
ing the entrances and exits. After
moving into the Lydia Mendels-
sohn Theatrethe week before, tech
week officially began.
"We moved into the theater
on Wednesday, October 2nd, and
we had two spacing rehearsals,"
Cohen said, rehashing the busy
week. "We did Act 1 on Wednes-
day and Act 2 on Thursday, which
was for figuring out how to work
on stage, and then we begin tech,
which is slowly going through the
show and figuring out the lights
and the sequencing of stuff."
Before the show began, Cohen
and Director Mark Madama went
through notes he had for her, ask-
ingabout lighting, scene entrances
and timing.
"Everything that happens,
we're doing this all through the
rehearsal process, but this devel-
ops over the course of the show.
We make mistakes," DeLaduran-
taye said. "This isthe final version,
so by nowthere are pretty much no
mistakes. It's our job to help every-
thing happen. It's like people-
Cohen called the final min-
utes before lights on and a rush of
bodies filled the backstage. The
opening scene, consisting of five
"Liebeslieder Singers," or Sond-
heim's chorus, instantly allowed
the show to reflect the dedication
and hard work of the weeks of
rehearsal. Each actor went onstage
in character and after exiting,
stayed in character until they were
safely in the green room.
The crew mouthed the words
to each song and scene, having
memorized the performance. The
sets changed without a hitch, each
crew member working seamlessly
t|gether, knowing exactly where
fo stand so that the rolling set piec-
es wouldn't move under an actor's
a When a water bottle spilled,
damage was quickly controlled -
few realized what had happened
intil intermission when the small-
est of hiccups were discussed.
For Cohen, and many other
crew members, the dedication and

Allen and
beating death

The Liebeslieder Singers welcome the audience inthe first scene of the play.

planning that goes into a show
such as this reflects the passion
and love for theater: the desire to
be a part of an industry focused on
creating flawless performances.
"Ten minutes to the top of Act
2; this is 10 minutes to the top of
Act 2," Cohen reminds everyone to
take their places before the second
act can begin.
Everyone goes to their spot,
chatting excitedly and quietly with
their friends and co-performers.
Crew members whisper into their
headsets, making last-minute
adjustments. Two actorshug, obvi-
ously the best bro-friends. Every-
one waits for Cohen's cue.
And then, the curtain rises.
Front stage
"The show is supposed to be
quite good!" the usher told me
excitedly as she led me to my seat
in the sixth row. Ever the great
conversationalist, I replied dryly,
"Yeah, I hope so." She raised her
eyebrows and hurried away. In ret-
rospect, I could hardly blame her,
but in my defense, my sentiments
at the time could not have been
more honest. The night was a night
of many firsts: the first time I'd
taken advantage of an opportunity
to witness a theatrical production
and the first time I'd walked into
the Mendelssohn Theatre.

It was the first time I realized
what it means to stick out like
a sore thumb. Dressed in jeans,
slippers and an over-worn jacket
thrown over a T-shirt, I looked
every bit a college kid in a crowd of
(very) well-dressed, and probably
rich, old people. As I took my seat, I
was thankful for the cold, crisp fall
air thatprevented me from coming
along in shorts, as was my initial
With so many firsts comes the
inescapable feeling of hope, which
explains say rather succinct reply
to the excited usher. I hoped that
the University's production of "A
Little Night Music" would be con-
sistent with tonight's prevalent
theme and provide me with my
first enjoyable theatrical experi-
However, I couldn't help but be
offset by the interiors of the Men-
delssohn. Obviously I'm no expert
in the intricacies of theater decor,
but in my mind's eye, I had pic-
tured something more lively than
the current setting. I wasn't there
to appreciate the surroundings,
but how can one not notice the
dim lighting and bland interior?
The initially overwhelming sense
of hope that came hand-in-hand
with my first experience in front
of the stage had been canceled out
by the underwhelming aura of the
theater, and I sat in my seat - an
adequately whelmed scruffy col-
lege kid.
Soon, the curtains rose, piano
chords sounded, performers ...
began performing. Needless to say,
the sound of music and the accom-
panying voices injected new life
into the place, but it was hard for
me to understand any of the words
so melodiously belted out. As I
acclimated to the singing, I finally
began to realize there are two-
and-a-half more hours of "A Little
Night Music" left.
The play is about the complica-
tions of love and lust, told through
the story of an ensemble of curi-
ous characters. Fredrik Egerman
is a lawyer, who is married to an
18-year-old girl, Anne Egerman.
However, Anne is the subject of
Henrik Egerman's affections, the
lawyer's son. Fredrik desires the
famous actress Desiree Armfledt,
with whom he has a romantic his-
tory. Desiree is a flirtatiouswoman
seemingly adept at juggling the
romantic attentions of the lawyer
and a Count Carl-Magnus, who is
married to Countess Malcolm.
It's easy to see how such a
setup can make for an entertain-
ing comedy of errors filled with
interesting developments that are
bound to keep audiences attentive

throughout. I did a bit of reading
before attending the production
and found out that this show was
Broadway's first play centered on
adult humor. The idea was intrigu-
ing, and I was eager to see how it
would play out on stage. Suffice
it to say, I wasn't disappointed.
The brand of humor prevalent
throughout the show was won-
derfully subtle and low-key, never
once indulging and falling into the
dangerous realms of crass comedy.
The performers did justice to the
wonderfully written script, excel-
lently delivering the many puns
and punch lines, making the play
very enjoyable. Though the show
had its fair share of musical num-
bers, they didn't offset the pacing
and effortlessly merged with the
narrative. The quality of singing
was brilliant, nothing less than I
had expected.
Yes, the show was longer than
I had anticipated, and unfor-
tunately my attention began
to wane as it went on. But that
doesn't take anything away
from the quality of the produc-
tion - it just so happened that I
was slightly under the weather. I
would liketotakethis opportuni-
ty to apologize to my fellow view-
ers sitting next to me; I doubt my
intermittent coughing and sneez-
ing at surprisingly well-timed (or
rather, ill-timed) moments was
appreciated. Initially I thought
they were clearing their throats
because of similar health prob-
lems, but when long, focused
glares in my direction accompa-
nied each of their ahems, I began
to have differing thoughts. How-
ever, no major damage was done,
since the show is full of moments
that keep the audiences smiling
and laughingthroughout.
As the curtains closed and
the cast took their bows, I real-
ized that my blocked nose need-
ed some immediate attention.
I made a beeline for the nearest
restroom, but not before I navi-
gated my way through a crowd
of very pleased theatergoers.
Yes, I agree - the play was won-
derful, but I wasn't really con-
cerned with that right now. A
couple of minutes later, I walked
out, temporarily free of my nasal
problems and in a much better
state to savor my first theatri-
cal experience. I felt content at
having experienced my first play
and left the formerly dim theater
with a bright smile. I did happen
to meet the usher on the way out,
and conveyed my ample satisfac-
tion and gratefulness. Indeed,
the show was quite good.

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oody Allen, you continually praise Berg-
Holding no pre- man in interviews and "Man-
conception but your hattan," I. needed to see the
ag praise for its creator, I origin of your inspiration.
into "The Seventh Seal" Watching "The Seventh
eary Seal" for the first time, I
night became a young Woody Allen,
tempt- nearly salivating over the fact
Hatch that an important film about
ugh the Crusades and the Black
yes. Plague could be carried out
film's as a dark comedy - where
I Death cuts down a tree to
ed the JOHN getcto a man hiding from him
medi- LYNCH in branches and plays chess
sarac- with a Knight for his soul, and
ince where every line of dialogue
eath across a hilltop, I is delivered with theater-like
nderstood your admira- directness, coated in irony and
r Ingmar Bergman and defining the words "gallows
evelation about life and humor."
it has fueled my creative In that moment, I realized
ons ever since. - as I imagine you realized -
suld argue that no path that powerful art should blend
-actualization is as light and dark. That address-
e as yours. Inspired by ing death without humor gives
olificacy of Bergman, death too much weight. That
written and directed there's a reason even Shake-
s in 48 years. In a speare believed in comic relief.
tuous, life-long search Several Bergman films and
'e, you finally found it, Vonnegut novels later, I'm
e all odds, in the arms convinced that life is beautiful
r adopted daughter- because there's light in dark-
I-wife - further proving ness - that each moment of
ou could not possibly sadness or hardship is just a
fuck about conventional small scene in a fulfilling com-
ing. edy that spans a lifetime.
ButI know that's not some-
thing I need to convince you
ife is full Of f Reflecting on your and
IBergman's expansive careers,
I'm reminded that the only
comedy way to avoid death is to con-
tinually strive to create some-
thing that will live forever.
And at the moment, I'm both
ugh I hope to someday terrified and thrilled that I'm
ve from a less incestous nowhere near where I hope
our all-encompassing to someday be - satisfied and
sity motivates me'every laughing heartilyas I groove
fter watching a docu- across the hilltop and into
ry on your career, where another realm, teaching Death
ve the camera a look how to two-step along the
our endless pile of legal way.
filled with concepts Best,
ms, I began to believe An Unrealized 20-something

eeping track of all my
aked ideas was less a
tious act and more of a
ity. And after hearing

Lynch is watching 'The
Seventh Seal.' To oin, e-mail


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