100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

February 06, 1991 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-02-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ARTS

The Michigan Daily
Theater Review

Wednesday, February 6, 1991

Page 5

Should the yanke

by Justine Unatin
Thursday evening, before the
opening night of Brigadista at the
Performance Network, the news
broadcast of the war brought the
reality of death home to America.
For some, war represents personal
anguish, while others struggle with
the many rationalizations of the
conflict. Both situations, however,
are realities of war, whether
relating to today's crisis in the
Gulf or to the former conflict
between the Sandinistas and the
Contras in Nicaragua, which is
dealt with in Brigadista.
The angry, heart-wrenching
speeches by the Nicaraguan
characters in Brigadista depict
favor for Nicaraguan auto-
determination and disgust with
U.S. intervention. But more
important to the theme are the
many heated conflicts among indi-
viduals of differing political opin-
ions or national viewpoints.
I The scenes of Brigadista move
smoothly, incorporating real-life
and dream-like situations to por-
tray the personal development of
Debbie (Annie Wagner), an
American activist who travels to
Nicaragua to pick coffee and assist

in the elections. In the beginning,
activists are represented in an
ironically humorous commercial,
singing "come to Camp
Nicaragua," where you can reach
the ideal weight on the rice-and-
beans diet. Unlike the other ac-
tivists, though, Debbie is serious
about helping with the elections.
However, her ultra-enthusiasm
instigates laughter, while her
disgustingly headstrong image of
herself as a crusader for all types
of social justice sweeps over the
audience and causes a shiver of
embarrassment.
Each character in Brigadista
clearly emotes their unique
personality in an endearing,
natural fashion. The touching
interludes and the tense conflictual
moments between Debbie and
these characters represent the
rocky path to her self-development.
Francisco (Tony Alvarez) and
Jorge (David Grillo) complement
each other especially well as they
build a wall between themselves
and Debbie. Francisco's treatment
of his wife and his heavy drinking
confuse and irritate Debbie,
marring her self-image as the
heroine with a noble cause. Jorge
then deflates her ego by eloquently

es just g
and passionately revealing her
disregard for the essential differ-
ences in an American and a
Nicaraguan point of view.
Both actors capture the hearts
of the audience with the emotional
energy and the natural sincerity of
their performances. Wagner
changes from a haughty, ugly
American into a humble volunteer,
powerfully and realistically
expressing her anger, frustration,
and confusion in the process.
Finally, she is aware of the
Nicaraguans' preoccupation with
basic needs and desires over their
dedication to an unstable political
cause.
While the intensity and be-
lievability of the performances aid
in evoking a sense of setting, Bri-
gadista is further brought to life
through the pleasing rhythms of
live Latin-American music with
English and Spanish lyrics. A
myriad of slides contributes in_
effectively portraying both the joy
and grief, the exceptional and the
mundane of Nicaraguan life. From
all possible angles, the senses are
immersed with Nicaraguan culture.
One of the most powerful
scenes of the play includes two ac-
tors, one in English and the other

home?
in Spanish, describing the
destruction resulting from the
violent conflict. The words of the
two languages seem to melt
together by virtue of their
monotonous drone, insisting as one
human voice to "think of those
who have died."
While the many presentations
of human relationships and
individual conflict cannot help but
hit home for almost any audience,
the universal reality of death
firmly unites the story and all its
characters with the events and the
audience of today. However,
despite its seriousness, Brigadista
maintains a light sense of humor
and a certain simplicity which
endears one to the characters and
allows an enjoyable experience
regardless of how much is known
of Nicaraguan politics.

BRIGADISTA is being performed
again this Thursday through Sunday
at the Performance Network, 408
W. Washington. Shows on Thursday
through Saturday are at 8 p.m.,
while Sunday's performance is at
6:30 p.m. Tickets are $9, $7 for stu-
dents and seniors.

*Orville R. wouldn't touch these kernels

Popcorn
dir. Mark Herrier
by Jon Rosenthal
C ertain films don't deserve to be
in a theater, or for that matter, on
video, but should have gone
straight from production to late-
night television. Popcorn is such a
film. An obvious attempt to garner
a cult following, Popcorn is
actually a collection of horror-
movie elements and ideas which
just don't make it. The story
centers on a group of California
film students who get together to
produce a horror-film festival in
order to save their department.
During the festival - surprise! -
the students start getting murdered
one by one. Is it the Phantom of
the Opera? Does the audience
care? No, no, no.
There is not one original idea in
the entire movie. The films that
make up the student's horror-fest
come closest to being palatable,
and are fairly funny spoofs of
original horror films. One is
Mosquito, the story of an irradiated
0-foot-long bullet-proof mozzie. A
take-off on '50s mutant films such
as Them, Mosquito shows an
understanding of the material that
is absent in the rest of the film.
Another student film, The Attack of
the Electrified Man, is undoubtedly
the best part of the entire movie. In

Oriental Brothers
Heavy on the Highlife
Original Music
Had I picked up this stunning
collection of Ibo high life from
Nigeria one day earlier, it would
have been my number one album of
the year. After only two listens,
Heavy on the Highlife has joined my
Holy Trinity of African records. But
where The Indestructible Beat of
Soweto was an absolute revelation
and Remmy Ongala's Song for the
Poor Man was the most profoundly
beautiful record since Astral Weeks,
Heavy on the Highlife is simply a
thrilling joyride.
During the '60s, high life domi-
nated the music scene of West
Africa, particularly Ghana and Nige-
ria. But when the Ibos of the eastern
part of Nigeria tried to secede from
Yoruba-dominated Nigeria by form-
ing Biafra and engaging in a bloody
civil war, Yoruban juju music took
over as a nationalistic cultural back-
lash. But high life only lost its
hegemony, not its edge, as it was in-
fused with elements of Cameroonian
makossa, Zairean soukous, and the
bitter lessons of losing a civil war.
The Oriental Brothers (from the east,
get it?) and the splinter groups
caused by their break-up are perhaps
the best practitioners of an art form
that is buried both at home and
abroad by the juju stylings of King
Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey.
The Oriental Brothers' brand of
high life sounds like your ultimate
fantasy of what a Dead show would
be like when you first heard about
them from some high-school stoner:
intense, non-stop, high-energy jam-
ming with a brittle fragility (from a
Western standpoint, at least) behind
the vocals; fluid, lyrical guitar leads
that aren't endless variations on a
scale memorized in eighth grade; a
dangerously funky drumming corps;
and accessibility to someone who's
not drenched in a violet-psychedelic
utopia of fractal animation.
Like all the best rhythmically-
propulsive music, the individual
parts of the rhythm section on the
Orientals' best tracks (those on side
two) fuse into one monolithic
groove. With more immediately fa-
miliar dance music, Chic's "Good
Times" or James Brown's "Sex Ma-
chine," let's say, it is fairly easy to
separate 'Nard's or Bootsy's bass
from the guitar and drum groove
which play off their lines. With the
Orientals, however, the guitar and
the drums replicate each other as best
as possible, while the bass almost
belies their collective pulse. But in-
stead of betrayal, the bass anchors
the groove, letting the guitar and
drums create tempestuous waves and
quick, fluid rhythms.
On "Anyi Abiala Ozo," which is
as intense as the fastest soukous
without the ultra-hi-tech synth
washes, the bass plays a fairly sim-
ple 1-2 lilt (until toward the end of

the jam, where the bass line gets
considerably more complex with
glissandos, etc.) that corresponds
with the two emphasized beats of the
percussionists, while the guitar and
drums play a relentless barrage of
triplets. For good measure, they
throw some keyboards into the mix
that resemble steel pans here and a
limber, cheesy Hammond organ
there. The overall effect of this kind
of interplay is akin to the uplifting,
communal, hand-clapping, fast
hymns of the African-American
church, much different than the slap
bass/ guitar riffing of Chic or J.B.,
whose up-tempoed, slow-grind funk
signifies low-down, dirty sex.
-Peter Shapiro
Falling Joys
Wish List
Volition
Falling Joys reiterates the fact
that there is more to Australia than
the Outback, nice scenery, and neat
accents. Suzie Higgie does not have
a triumphant voice and Stuart
Robertson does not cut loose on the
guitar, but the pair, along with Pat
Hayes on bass and Pete Velzen on
drums, combine to form a unique
sound. It is simple, mellow, soft,
and unobtrusive, but not blaaah.
"Shot In Europe" kicks Wish List
off. It is a decent song with some
intriguing lyrics: "Your generation
spit inside my door... Chained
liberation makes the sidewalk weep."
With "Things To Come," Hig-
gie's hollow voice is joined by an
anticipating rhythm that depicts the
song's theme, "things to come."
There is an interlude of an ornery
guitar line, and then the chiming
harmonics of the closing guitar sec-
tion create a sense of distance and
uncertainty.
Falling Joys creates visuals with
some of their songs, such as the
clicking guitar that sounds like rain-
drops throughout "Lock It." A har-
mony of voices, like calm waves
rolling over your toes at the edge of
the sea, ensues. Similarly, in
"Tunnel Vision," the guitars build a
blanket to enact the "tunnel vision."
Higgie's vocals are delivered in a
tone to match. The song evolves
into a typical mundane rhythm for a
moment, but then regains its
essence, a somewhat removed feel.
Other tracks, however, are just
plain bad. "Puppy Drink" begins
with the rock version of an Eastern-
like gong, which contains a
repetitive melody that is sort of off-
setting. It grows on you, but who
needs lesions? "Fall" is corny both
musically and lyrically: "These tales
of woe will grow." The song just
lacks substance.
Wish List is different, if not quite
innovative. The album requires
multiple listens to appreciate it, but
it's worth the effort.
-Kim Yaged
See RECORDS, Page 7

Toby (Tom Villard) politely declines a second helping of Popcorn.

an extremely funny spoof of
Frankenstein, the electrified man
wanders around with Einstein's
hair and an electric chair strap
wrapped around his head.
It is unclear whether the ex-
tremely poor dubbing in Popcorn
was an intentional parody of old
Japanese horror films, but it does
become clear that there was not a
single person on the screen who

could act except for Ray Walston
(Mr. Hand from Fast Times at
Ridgement High). As Dr. Mnesyne,
he helps the hapless students by
donating a pile of special-effect
doodads for their film fest. The
other players are painfully plastic
in their delivery. When the
antagonist, Toby (Tom Villard),
finally shows himself, Villard's
acting reflects the rubber make-up

on his face - stiff and un-
comfortable.
Continuity, however, is Pop-
corn's most serious flaw. The plot
is as contrived as the acting, and
director Mark Herrier seems
blissfully unaware of it. Characters
are placed in dangerous situations
with a predictability that is more
sickening than the murders
See TOBY, Page 8

kinko's
COPIES
with this coupon
8 1 /2 X 11, white, self serve or auto ted only
expires 4/30/91
Open 24 Hours
540 E. Liberty
761-4539
1220 S. University
747-9070
Open 7 Days
Michigan Union
662-1222

Thursday, February 7
Kuenzel Room, Michigan Union
7:00-8:30 p.m.
CAREERS IN LAW
Panel presentation by legal professionals
from the following areas:

COMPARE.

STUDENT A
UNIVERSITY TOWERS RESIDENT
TUIN

STUDENT B
G A SPRu P)CtL, QjQ07 OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING RESIDENT

-Academe/Law School Faculty
*Local Government

*Major Area Law Firm
eIndustry

Co-sponsored by the Undergraduate Law Club
Ihe unicereitv o\M1ichigan
Career Planning Placement

1 Ii LI:
WAKES UP AT 7:25 A.M.
7:25 TAKES SHOWER
7:50 EATS BREAKFAST '-
8:00 READS THE PAPER J
8:20 WALKS TO 8:30 CLASS
8:25 ARRIVES IN CLASS
STATISTICS: ~
" HONOR ROLL 3 YEARS IN A ROW
" M.V.P. TRACK TEAM
MEMBER 2 YEARS IN A ROW
" GRADUATED MAGNA CUME LAUDE,
" LIVED AT UNIVERSITY TOWERS
LAST THREE YEARS IN COLLEGE

THEN:
WAKES UP 7:25 A.M.
7:25 HITS SNOOZE ALARM
7:50 HITS SNOOZE ALARM
8:00 JUMPS OUT OF BED; NO WATER
FOR SHOWER (LANDLORD NOT IN)
8:20 CALLS TOW TRUCK
(CAR WON'T START)
9:15 ARRIVES IN CLASS
(TOW TRUCK LATE)
STATISTICS:
" ACADEMIC PROBATION,
3 YEARS IN A ROW
" CAR BURGLARIZED
2 YEARS IN A ROW
" STILL WAITING TO GRADUATE...
" CONTINUES TO LIVE FAR AWAY,
OFF CAMPUS HOUSING

r
I

CONTINENTAL AIRLINES
. WIN e 'RF AIR FAIRE!

NOW:
PRESIDENT OF
MAJOR CORPORATION

NOW:
3RD ASSISTANT, NIGHT SHIFT,

P

Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan