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March 18, 1991 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-03-18

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Monday, March 18, 1991

The Michigan Daily

Page 5


emar The Wiz
I knew that I was in trouble when
the usher began complaining to me
and my friends about how many of
the seats seemed to have been sold to
more than one person. Initially,
shifting the audience around seemed
like a minor complication, but in
fact this was only the beginning of
the many glitches which interfered
*with last Friday's performance of
The Wiz.
While student productions often
have understandable technical
problems, this show included a bit
too many. The Wiz's wonderful ar-
ray of songs was often jarred by mu-
sic entering too late after the dia-
logue's cue, resulting in that uncom-
fortable moment of silent anticipa-
tion which makes you cringe inside.
*Microphone problems, especially
recognizable with the Lion (Mark
Wilson), created extreme changes in
the sound levels of the voices.
The distracting backstage side
lights were continually on allowing
the audience to clearly view the
actors preparing to come on stage.
Lights were prematurely turned off,
which often cut off the actors' lines.
h But the worst error was in the final
scene, when the joyous reunification
of Dorothy .(Tonya Warren) with
Auntie Em (Marnell Kenan) and
Toto (anonymous dog) was
interrupted by an early-falling
curtain, only allowing the audience
to hear their voices and see their feet
(or paws).
The beginning of the show dis-
played some awkward overacting and
stiff uncertainty while singing, but
fortunately, things picked up as the
show progressed. Some of the hu-
mor was dated, but the inclusion of
popular adaptations, such as the
gatekeeper (Ce'Ann Yates) playing
MC Hammer on her walkman,
helped to make things more identifi-
able. For the most part, the basically
corny humor was well-delivered and
very amusing.
Instead of being part of the set,
the Yellow Brick Road was personi-
fied by two men (Omar Baylis,
Robert Silver), which was innova-
tive in terms of symbolism and
stage composition; however, the
men seemed uncomfortable, and

when one of them danced and the
other did not, they were distracting
as well. The charming Tin Man
(Romel Williams) shined with a
humorous disposition, a cute little
tap dance and a wonderful voice that
was displayed in his slow song, "To
be Able To Feel."
Wilson as the Lion was energetic
and funny as well, considering that
he was an "only cub." The Wiz
(Saniago Calderon) was also a great
laugh, with lively dances and
elaborate costumes, but Auntie
Em/Addaperle (Marnell Kenan) was
the most humorous, seeming truly
comfortable upon the stage. Many of
the characters contained a certain
warmth which the crowd
charismatically responded to.
Many of the musical num-
bers had a majestic, full-stage effect.
The wind storm scene had an inter-
esting mood with its ballet-jazz-
modern style of dancing. Dancers
wrapped in long, flowing streamers
creatively represented the strong
wind which transplanted Dorothy out
of Kansas. The Poppy Field scene of
dancing flowers bedecked in imagina-
tive petaled neckwear presented an al-
together entertaining, jazzy scene.
The singing remained strong
throughout, successfully capturing
the fervor of the well-known songs.
Evilene, the Wicked Witch (Rhonda
J. Williams), displayed a powerful
voice in the dynamic number, "No
Bad News." Warren as Dorothy was
in no way restricted by her small
size, as she displayed a mighty and
powerful voice. Her songs, "Home"
and "Be A Lion," were wonderfully
uplifting. The "Pit Singers" were an
instrument themselves, adding
wonderful texture to the great music.
While the technical problems
unfortunately diluted the show,
much talent sparkled through the
music, voices and dancing.
-Julie Komorn
Sparl ing and
Fogel have
sex... on their
Fogel/Sparling: Dance Works
molded the Institute for the Humani-
ties' research project, Histories of
Sexuality, into visual images. But
rather than offering static accounts of
different sexual relationships or

proclamations of sexual orientation,
the performance exploded with emo-
tion to express the multifaceted and
very personal issues of sexuality that
are prevalent today.
Fogel communicated the struggle
of women to find and assert their in-
dividual identities in "Dig, a Dance
in 21 Parts" and "A Hot Topic." The
cast of "Dig" emanated a sense of
anguish and frustration in pan-
tomime-like interactions. Often
moving in pairs, at one point a
dancer would roll another's head with
her hands. The dancers dove into
crumpled positions on the floor and
then assumed statuesque, lady-like
poses with eerie uniformity. This of-

theme of sexuality toward one seg-
ment of the population, Sparling
presented another form of group-suf-
fering in "Witness," which paid trib-
ute to all individuals affected by the
AIDS crisis. Matthew Rose was a
subtle strength in his portrayal of
the desperate tension of the piece, as
he frantically ran around the stage
and struggled to overcome the inces-
sant trembling of his limbs. None of
his movements were predictable,
perhaps reflecting the disease his
character faced. 12 men then joined
Rose in a dirge-like procession,
beautifully revealing their unified
suffering as their taut muscles
stretched to sustain each other's bo&--

Fogel and Sparling touched upon
personal and gender-specific aspects
of sexuality, which certainly do not
apply to everyone's life. So what
about the plain old girl-meets-boy-
-don't scenario? Sparling revealed hisj
debonair, seductive edge in "Miranda
on the Veranda." The piece, which
he danced with Susan Caligaris,
proved a crowd-pleasing pot pourri
of spicy Spanish dancing and an
intimate yet comical pas de deux.
The tension built throughout the
piece was broken with a mis-
chievous act of "intercourse," when
Sparling thrust his fist through the
graceful circle of Caligariss arms.
Most of the pieces communicated
feelings about sexuality beautifully,
without the use of too many extra
items. However, "The Path Be-
tween," concerning the ups and
downs of a man-woman relationship,
proved to be a bit tacky with the
overuse of extraneous features. The
audience was distracted by a video1
projection of the dancers, which su-
perimposed their bodies onto a back-
drop of blue sky and quickly-passing
clouds. While pottery created a tight
symbolic link with the dancers in
"Dig," video images of pottery in
this number seemed an over-con-
trived attempt at to dressing up the
The cast and choreographers of
Dance Works expressed, with heart
and body, the many ways in which
the individual faces issues of sexual-
ity. The dances did not attempt to
inundate the audience with theories,
but rather emotions. They exposed
and offered to the audience the world
of dance as a realm of introspection,
provoking everyone to do a little
soul searching of their own.
-Justine Unatin
Shaw's sex
plays funnier
than CNN
There is no denying it; at times,
we have all had to face societal pres-
sures when struggling with moral
dilemmas - especially those con-
cerning love and sex. This weekend,
the RC Players examined the nature
of such dilemmas in two short
George Bernard Shaw plays. The
plays attempted to expose the differ-
ence between society's strictly-de-
fined definition of morality and the
actual spirit of human morality.
In the first play, How He Lied to-
Her Husband, Aurora Bompas
(Courtney Loveman), a neurotic
married woman, frantically plotted to
prevent her husband from discover-

ing her secret lover. The poet Henry
Apjohn (Blake Robinson) opened the
play by sashaying onto the stage as
classical music blared in the back-
ground, happily noticing beauty in
all the ordinary objects of his sur-
roundings. Even the loveliness of a
feather duster inspired him; he began
to sensually brush it against his
face, conveying feelings of arousal
through hilarious facial gestures.
Robinson's acting here was su-
perb, and his dreamy idealism re-
mained consistently funny through-
out the entire show. Loveman's por-
trayal of Aurora as a hyper, emo-
tional and conflicted woman balanced
Robinson's naive and idealistic char-
acterization. She was funny periodi-
cally, but her character started to be-
come annoyingly grating by the end,
The audience was not really
shocked by the big surprise of the
play, when Aurora's husband Teddy
Bompas, played by Michael Gut-
man, was actually pleased by the
poet's adorations for Aurora (as they
reinforced his own idealized view of
his wife). Teddy's whole part seemed
kind of odd and out of place. With
the exception of Robinson, the cast
performances remained less than out-
standing, and the show itself turned
out to be rather dull.
The second play, Overruled,
touched on the same themes as the
first, but in a much more refreshing,
enjoyable way. This play, set in the
lounge of a seaside hotel, opened
with a married man, Gregory Lunn
(Keith Vahlbusch), and a married
woman, Mrs. Juno (Mary Beth Bar-
ber), who are struggling with their
adoration for one another.
As the two kissed madly, stop-
ping periodically to rationalize their
actions, it was impossible not to
laugh. Later they were forced to race
out of the room as Seraphita Lunn
(Nanette Muntin), the saucy, volup-
tuous wife of Mr. Lunn, and
Sibthorpe Juno (David Gordon), a
heavy, charismatic defender of En-
glish tradition, waltzed in.
Gordon provided an especially
amusing performance with his in-
tense energy and dynamic stage pres-
ence. His energy reached a high
point when the four guilty parties
found each other out. As the four
discussed their situation, their feel-
ings and their notions of morality,
Gordon was hilarious to watch as he
struggled to act in an appropriate
manner while not really understand-
ing why.
The performance was energetic
and very funny, and also managed to
be thought-provoking. Not bad for a
45-minute play!
-Joanna Broder

Peter Sparling expresses his views on sexuality by twisting and
contorting his body until his energy exudes towards the audience from
his fingertips.

ten ironic physical expression was
echoed in "A Hot Topic."
While "Dig" represented the de-
fragmentation of women with a
union of broken segments of pot-
tery, "A Hot Topic," accompanied
by Margaret Atwood's "The Female
Body," provided a comical dissection
of women, dividing their bodies into
colorfully-coded parts. ("The female
body is made of transparent plastic
and lights up when plugged in.")
The dancers added verbal interjections
and hilarious facial expressions, en-
hancing their charade of the text.
While feminist issues guided the

ies. Repetitions of abrupt falls and
loud stomps hypnotized the audience
and heightened the tension of hope-
Sparling danced to the soothingly
honest yet distinctly personal words
of his autobiography in "The Boy
Who Played With Dolls." His body
was almost completely visible
through his transparent overalls, like
an open window revealing the desire
to remain an individual in a world of
stifling gender roles. His flexibility
and inwardly-reflective choreography
shone in his intricate contortions and
sudden contractions.

Patti Smith, with ex-MC5 hus-
band Fred Smith in tow, appears at
the Nectarine on April 6. Even
though they live in tranquil domestic
bliss in the far eastern suburbs of
Detroit, it is a big fucking deal that
this non-victim of the '70s is play-
ing Ann Arbor again. We guess.
Tickets are $15 at TicketMaster.
* firehose, that band that has
sucked more and more with every
vinyl release but still has it live, lets
it loose at Alvin's in Detroit on
April 26, a pretty long time to wait,
but then again, so what? ed from
ohio is just too nice to replace D.
Boone. And they actually played the
U-Club last spring. How lame. Who
do they aspire to be, the
Rumor: David Cronenberg (Dead
Ringers, The Fly) will be directing
the William S. Burroughs classic
The Naked Lunch which may even
star Big Bill himself. Incidentally, a

photo of a young Burroughs not Foster Rolling Stone, appropriate for
wearing a shirt appears in the Jodie your wallet or bulletin board.


* . 5,
.5. , .
, r."

Well, you'll just have to wait for Spring
Fashion in Friday's Weekend Magazine.
(By the way, your friends are modelling the clothes.)
21,22 and 23
8:00 p.m.
for the
40 Arts
$5.50 and $6.50
Available at:
71. A !L... I. . . l ..n

What is it like to be a woman student at the U of M?
Share your stories with the President's Advisory Commission on
Women's Issues!
Help make a difference for women at the University!
Times and locations of the forums are:
March 14, 7:00-9:00 p.m., Angell Hall Auditorium C
graduate students:
March 21, 3:30-5:30 p.m., Lecture Room 2, Modern Languages Building
law students:
March 12,4:00-6:00 p.m., Room 220, Hutchins
graduate and professional students in the health care professions:
March 27, 12:00-1:00, South Lecture Hall, Med Sci II
North Campus (all students):
March 19, 3:30-5:30 p.m., Lee Iacocca Auditorium,
Room 1504 Herbert Dow-G. G. Brown connector
The purpose of the forums is to help the Commission advise the University about
how to make the experience of women students at Michigan as positive as possible.
r,-mmi-,ccinn ~mom borc ar11, forPOPHf in ho, ri n- ,norccnal Of-f--on, n fs a~hcni i I- i-I

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