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May 15, 2000 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2000-05-15

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Still Jammin'...
Former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey
*Hart brings his band to the Michigan
Theater this Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
michigandaily.com /Arts

uRtc~rSau

MONDAY
MAY 15, 2000 9

l

University 'New Works' festival showcases fresh talent

y Christian Hoard
Daily Arts Writer
The University's second annual
Festival of New Works offers audiences
a glimpse of eight previously-unpro-
duced dramatic works, including a
musical, three screenplays and an adap-
tation of Margaret
Atwood's novel
"The Edible
A Woman"
Festival of According to
New WorkS Artistic Director
Arena & Trueblood Frank Gagliano,
Theatres the Festival seeks
May 19- Jut 18 both to showcase
standout works of
contem po rary
dramatic writing
and to give writ-
ers the opportuni-
ty to revise their
pieces based upon
actual, if minimalist, productions and
audience feedback.
"The writers all have different needs,
and their works are all at a different
stage," said Gagliano. "It's an educative
thing, meant to let everybody in on the
creative process. The audience brings a
lot to it."
The Festival, however, is more than

Award for Dramatic Writing.
Carley won the award for his adapta-
tion of Atwood's "The Edible Wonan,"
which premieres at the Trueblood Friday
at 8:00 p.m.
"I read the book when I skas an under-
grad and hated it," Carley said. "A very
good part of it is Atwood satirizing the
culture of post-graduates, and under-
grads, too. When I first read it, part of it
was a little too close to home."
But Carley said that when he re-read
the novel, he was better attuned to its
feminist themes and "lovingly ironic"
treatment of the world of college gradu-
ates turned professionals. Carley's adap-
tation retains the book's strong feminist
message as well as its insights. into
"consutner culture and what it is doing
to us as humans. That issue is far more
important now than it was thirty years
ago."
"Rooms," which premieres at the
Trueblood on June 2, is a musical by
composer Paul Scott Goodman that
details the exploits of Monica and Ian,
two Scottish songwriters with disparate
personal backgrounds. Featuring
Kristen Lee Kelly, a member of the orig-
inal "Rent" cast, "Rooms" promises
both a series of dramatic vignettes and
plenty of musical interludes, including

I. - === = , - 5- .
Courtesy of Festval of New Works
Peter Rini and William Wise In a production of "Hearts" from last year's festival.

perhaps the first ever punk-rock song te
appear in a musical (the fictional 197-
hit "All I want is everything"). Saic
Gagliano, "[Goodman] is tryin' o fusc
theater with rock, and I think he may bc
on to something."
Gagliano is equally excited about
-Allison," a screenplay written by
University graduate Daniel Shere that
will see its stage debut at the Trueblood
on June 16.
"Ann Arbor has become such a centet
ofscreenwriting that I had access to a lot
of scripts, from both students that are
working as screenwriters here and
alums as well," said Gagliano.
Based loosely on Shere's experiences
in Ann Arbor, "Allison" chronicles the
whirlwind romance of a grag-'gte stu-
dent and his young lover, a freshman
student named Allison.
Besides two plays in repertory by
University students (June 2 and 3),
the Arena Theatre lineup is rounded
out by two staged screenplays -
Oliver Thorton's "Cold" (May 19)
and Erin Hill's "Getting There" (May
20) - and Gagliano's play "The
Total Immersion of Madeleine
Favorini" (June 16 and 17), winner
of last year's Ernest Hemingway
International Playwriting Award.

simply a writers' workshop. While the
productions are far from elaborate,
Festival organizers spared little expense
in recruiting actors and directors. Casts
are comprised of a combination of pro-
fessional actors, students and alumni, all
under the guidance of experienced
directors selected by Gagliano.
Gagliano claims that the diversity
among the works being offered is what
makes the Festival so interesting.
"There's no other festival I know of that

does a play, a screenplay and a musical,"
Gagliano said.
The Arena Theatre, located in the
Frieze Building, will host free readings
of works by relatively unknown writers,
two of whom are students enrolled in the
University's Dramatic Writing Program.
Works to be performed at the Trueblood
Theater were written by more estab-
lished authors like Dave Carley, one of
Canada's leading dramatists and the
winner of the Festival's Arthur Miller

.Witty, eclectic Ween rocks out

By John UhI
Daily Music Editor
Ween's performance last Thursday at
Mill Street Entry seemed like the usual
cheesy rock concert: fans were rowdy,
bearing handmade signs, occasionally
ugmping on stage to flash some quick tits
the audience before being removed by
security; crowd-
surfing was preva-
lent; the drummer
wasn't wearing a
shirt; large hoses
Mill Street Entry, exhaled clouds of
Pontiac smoke; the band
May 11, 2000 jarmmed hard and
loud.
But a closer
examination of
Ween reveals a
more complicated
scene: the bare-
chested drummer
plays ons ass open
kit with a single tom drum, like those used
by jazz drummers, instead of the standard
oversized set (asnyosse ever sects Rush");
she hoses spew out so mesebh fog tits is's
hardly possible to see the stage; though
* y kla the bnd pe ee o hamrs om al-
nk lbe baud,. doe n's jais, stait as an
excuse so pesisp Up shCte soluse.
Ott their 1994 albsssi 'C hocolate asnd
Ches,"sh layers of keyb,'oard effects
a disudgia on Este ae Free"

are supplanted by a funny electronic voice
singing nonsensical lyrics about pump-
kins. Live, Dean and Gene Ween fuel the
climax of "Roses are Free" with
Allmanesquc dueling guitars, and, as the
song ends, the five piece band turns and
bows in mock homage to the giant Ween
logo garnishing the back of the stage. This
tension between serious rock music craft
and foolishness is the essence of Ween,
which consists of brothers Gene and Dean
Ween. Of course their real names are
Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo,
respectively, and they're not really broth-
ers.
Gene Ween gives a shout-out to Detroit
and proceeds to sing "Freedom of '76."
Close your eyes and the song glides with
all the soul Motown deserves. Open them
and notice that Gene is the last character
one might expect performing it. Kind of
short with scraggly hair and a good sized
paunch, Gene walks the stage with mic in

hand like a stand-up comedian and gives
the inpression that his entire performance
is a big joke. As the smoke obscures the
band again, itsis unclear whether Ween is
mocking the music they imitate or them-
selves.
Yet Ween's albums contain an astonish-
ing variety of styles and enough digitally
warped singinag and electric noise to con-
stitute noble sonic exploration. And this
substance provides the band's jests with
etIoUtghi meaningful background for them
to be taken seriously. Thus, Ween's cre-
ation of a world of sexually frustrated
cowboys (check out the album "12
Goldecn Country Greats") with a bouncing
circus theme for AIDS (on "Chocolate
and Cheese") can be assusned to be a sort
of critique of our own. But mostly it's just
good fun: while most of their recordings
are attached with parental advisory stick-
ers, Ween has also written music for
Nickelodeon. And that's just silly.

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