Friday, May 29, 1987
The Michigan Daily
Author discusses 'Aliens and Scoundrels'
By Stephanie Brown Prosser started taking undergraduate classes at the
University in journalism, English, and Natural Resources
Ellen Prosser wants to make history fun... and, from the when she discovered her employers would pay the tuition. She
looks of things, she'll succeed. was encouraged to keep writing when she recevied a Hopwood
Prosser is the author of the play Aliens and Scoundrels, Award in Major Short Fiction in 1974.
which will be appearing at the Lydia Mendelsohn Theatre from After being advised by a favorite professor to become more
June 3-6. The comedy, which uses the Michigan Sesqui- goal-oriented, she entered the graduate program in theatre.
centenial as a theme, involves the action of real people who
lived in Ohio, Washington, and southeastern Michigan in the Prosser has written another play, titled She Brought Me
1830s and centers on the competition between three Violets. It is, she said, a "catharsis play" based on the death of
politicians. her daughter in a car accident ten years ago. She considers the
Prosser, who got her Master of Arts in theatre at the production, which was produced in cooperation with the
University, did three and a half years of research in order to University in 1982 and won a John Gassner Award, a success
come up with these characters and the plot that encompasses "because of the strong emotional response of the audience."
them. Her use of a political foreground was no accident. Over three years of research is more than most people can
Between the playwright's two years at the Cleveland stand, but this playwright turned it into an enjoyable
Institute of Music and her undergrad and graduate studies at the experience. She used to hate history, but "as I did the research,
University, she worked fo the State of Michigan in the I found myself a detective." Then, she said, she "dictated the
Department of Natural Resources. This experience helped her characters to myself and transcribed them." Part of the writing
obtain the idea for Aliens and Scoudrels. She said she used process was in discovereing "how the characters interacted and
politics "because I found a great deal of comedy there." Her what their thoughts were."
humor extends into the play's title, capturing the irony of the
label ("aliens") that the immigrants gave to the Native "Ultimately, history came to life for me and I began to like
Americans. Also, said Prosser, "I wanted to write something the people I was writng about, even though they were doing
that was universal, and I saw universal political actions." naughty things," Prosser said.
Prosser also thinks highly of the cast and director of this
production. Although the play has 40 characters, the cast
consists of a mere twelve actors. Therefore, the actors are
taking on three or four roles each. "I have the greatest respect
for the actors," said Prosser.
She also praises director Ala Faik, whom she chose for that
position."I was delighted to be able to choose such a great
director," she said, "I have the greatest respect for his artistic
The play utilizes an expressionistic set. All of the cities are
on the stage at one time, using various levels and placements.
The boundary lines are painted on thestage floor.
What does Ellen Prosser want to do next? She laughed,
"Rest! And settle my accounts. Even before we got the grant
from the Washtenaw County Historical Society I'd spent
$4500 on the play." And does she want to continue writing?
"I hope to. The outcome of the play will tell me if I should
keep writing or not." She paused and added with a laugh, "But
I don't think they can stop me."
Tickets go on sale June 1 at the Mendelsohn Box Office,
located in the Michigan League, and they're $7-$9. Call 663-
2379 for more information.
Serving up food for thought
By Linda Gardner continues once a month on Lounge, which previously provided
Saturday nights as a forum for local the "Open Mouth Series", an open
Though Ann Arbor is more open poets to read their poetry and other mike night for local poets. "I
than most communities, far too few original work. noticed that about one year ago the
oulets for live poetry performance "It's an important, self-fulfilling all night cafe's were going on at
exist for local authors. However, at opportunity for amateur authors to Sottini's. I thought it might be a
least once a month everybody has perform," says Sottini's employee good idea to ask John [Sottini's
the opportunity to give a public Paul Sposite. "Almost everybody manager] about it."
reading. that comes reads pretty "Anywhere from 15 to 35 or 40
Sottini's sub shop has been consistantly. If they don't read, people come, depending on the
open for about four years, and has they're often friends with someone night," Sposite said. Meyers, who
sponsored all night cafe's runnning that does." has been writing poetry for thirteen
from midnight till dawn for the past Michael Meyers organized the years, and often performs himself,
year and a half. The open stage open stage to fill the empty space describes the crowd as "kind of a
poetry began April 26, 1986, and left by the closing of Joe's Star mixture of people, not any one
.--_.._ .--.--...-....-.._...._... ..-.... group. Not only students or only
non-students show up. It ranges
$EARN CASH from teens and high schoolers to
middle-aged people. Most people
LYING DOWN read their own work; some read
other's published work."
The performances span a broad
o tIthe spectrum of poetry, ranging from
solitary poets to,-dramatic multiple
"People have done mixed media
YPSILANTI PLASMA CENTER poetry with acoustical music
backup," Meyers said. "Once a
performer read poetry while playing
with this ad: I a prerecorded cassette, and he had a
" earn $18 upon first visit I visual side show and a friend
U-M e earn up to $110 per month I playing synthesizer in the back.
W*o " open for new donors Mon., You can do whatever you want,
N w 6p n o e from political to musical."
sWed., and Fri. 9- 12:30, Tue., The next open mike night at
E Thurs. 1 - 5:45 Sotini's, 205 South Forth Ave.,
S +will be on May 30th starting at
Mih. Ave. vpc Please call for appointment' 9:00. For more information, call
Slocaed on bus ine-lake Bus 61to 18and more information 665-9540. Also, another creative
482-6793 k writing workshop is being started.
813 W. Michigan Ave. 482-6790 It s each Tuesday night at 917
South Forest at 7:00.
Classes for the GMAT, GRE,
LSAT and MCAT forming now.
Summertime is the perfect
time to prep for fall exams!
203 E. Hoover