10 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, June 13, 2005
Arb enhances retelling
of Shakespeare classic
By Imran Syed
Daily Arts Writer
F IN E A RTS R EV IE W
After "Much Ado About Nothing" and "As You
Like It" the past two years,
director Kate Mendeloff, her
team of Residential College Shakespeare
Players and other local actors in the Arb
are returning to where they Thursday, Friday,
started five years ago: to the Saturday and
most beloved and perhaps the Sunday at 6:30 p.m
most bizarre of Shakespeare's Tickets $15
comedies, "A Midsummer Students $10
Night's Dream." This fifth pro- At Nichols Arboretum
duction of Shakespeare in the
Arb, presented by the University's Matthaei Botani-
cal Gardens, Nichols Arboretum and the Residential
College, is as lively and enjoyable as ever, providing
the unusual and thoroughly laudable combination of
fine arts and the great outdoors.
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" is perhaps the per-
fect play for this setting. With the majority of its action
outdoors, the presentation is more realistic than most.
The rugged scenery of the Arb lends itself perfectly
to the adaptation and provides more of a feel for the
action than any theater, no matter how grand. Though
it may seem tedious at first, walking the winding for-
est trails to move from one set to another turns out to
be quite enjoyable and provides the audience with a
sense of involvement in the play's action.
While the actors should be commended for their
exceptional voice projection, it's nearly impossible to
perfectly comprehend Shakespearian dialogue at a
distance in the open air (especially with the ambient
noise of the Arb). For this reason, knowledge of the
play beforehand goes along way in understanding the
various conflicts and situational comedy.
Still, even the passing observer can get the gist of
the action relatively easily, thanks to the exuberant
gestures liberally employed by the actors. Indeed,
even for the daydreamer, little of the humor is lost,
which can be attributed to the skill of the production.
Stealing the show is the bumbling, overly confident
and downright hilarious Nick Bottom, the weaver
whose unfortunate gaffes yield many laughs.
It would be wise to remember that, no matter how
An audience gathers for a previous performance of "Shakespeare in the Arb" last spring.
nice the weather, much of this play is set in the woods.
Bug spray is a must, and folding chairs along with a
bottle of water couldn't hurt. Plenty of time is allowed
between the start of on-site ticket sales and the (figu-
rative) raising of the curtain for the audience to picnic
and get into the mood of the show. But even so, nearly
three hours in the forest - most of which is spent in
the blazing sun - can become rather fatiguing.
While strolling through various settings of the
Arb, with its the colorful peony garden and meander-
ing forest trails, the audience is left in amazement that '
so much nature could be present within a short walk
from the hustle and bustle of central campus. Com-
pliments to Residential College drama instructor and
director Kate Mendeloff for creating an experience
that is enriching in more ways than one.
THE SIGN SAYS IT ALL...
By Evan McGarvey
Daily Arts Editor
Music REVIEW i k n
With a waistline as imposing as his
street-rep for smashing liquor bottles
over clubbers who get in his way, Fat
Joe is clearly a man who is used to
being catered to. Fittingly, All or Noth-
ing, his latest release, is a silver platter
of dense, stylish and almost satisfying
rap melodies. Almost.
For all of the luxury production work
from young superstars Cool & Dre; the
grimmest white boy studio-master in the
game, Scott Storch; and future-hall-of-
famer Just Blaze, Fat Joe still can't let the
beats do the heavy lifting. You'd think
he'd learn from his
that all of his major Fat Joe
hits have come All or Nothing
from his ability to Atlantic
shut up and let the
melody and guest
verses drag him around like a 300-lb ter-
rier ("What's Luv?," "Lean Back").
But no, he does his best to scar "So
Much More" and its Church-organ
loops with Bad-Ass-Rap-101-level
verses. His best line: "Make ya hair
stand up like you 'Growing Up Gotti' "
gets lost in the shuffle of how much he
misses Big Pun and how fucking awe-
some his own street buzz is.
If you can tune out Joe for long
enough, All or Nothing does have
enough sprinting club-thumpers to
fill a Jamaican relay team. "Get It
Poppin' " seemingly ignores every
single rap trend of the past four years
(Crunk, Bollywood, etc.) and sticks
with a reliable ratio of snares/kicks/
handclaps/Nelly that make 2001 feel
like it was 20 years ago. Just Blaze
owns "Safe 2 Say (The Incredible)"
and drives the linebacker-thick sam-
ples around the beat harder than a
All this is fine and good, but damn
if it doesn't make you wish Jadakiss
got his hands on this product. Or T.I.
Hell, even Memphis "Coattails" Bleak
might squeeze more out of this orchard
of beats that Fat Joe.
Even the softball of the moment, wail-
ing on 50 Cent, evades Joe. In response to
50's fish grease-hot "Piggy Bank," Fat Joe
makes the following observation on "My
FoFo": "Is it me or does 'Candy Shop'
sound like 'Magic Stick' /In the video this
nigga's about to strip."
Wow, you know, I think it's pretty
much everyone who has listened to those
two songs. But still, good try Joey.
The instrumentals from All or Noth-
ing are ripe for mix-tape hijacking and
certainly boost the CV's of Storch and
Cool &Dre's already soaring stars. But
as it is right now, All or Nothing is best
heard from a few rooms away where
only the dirtiest of basslines and kinki-
est of melodies are audible. ,
Fat Joe can't nail A-list beats
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