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November 29, 1995 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-29

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

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Page 5
November 29, 1995

a (Long-lost treasure brings insight

cene from Phillip Kerr's production of Shakespeare's classic 'Twelfth Night."
Ngh tus new lea

Melssa Rose Bernardo
ly Theater Editor
Philip Kerr is a man with a reputa-
n. Last fall he turned "The Glass
nagerie" on its ear, castinga silent
semble which surrounded the
ngfield house; two years earlier he
e new life to "Our Town," the
intessential hackneyedhigh-school
ama, with the presence of a fiery
-headedmotorcycle-riding female
ge Manager.
Currently the Department of The-
r and Drama is tackling William
akespeare's late comedy "Twelfth
ght," with Kerr at the helm. So you
bet this "Night" will be nothing
:e you've ever known.
Kerr's concept for the show is
gely related to one line of text:
/hat country, friends, is this?" This
st line of Act I, scene two is spoken
Viola, the central character, who
s just shipwrecked. She is alone -
r twin brother has (she assumes)
owned, and she is in a strange place.
his is Illyria, lady," responds the
ptain. But what exactly is Illyria?
That question propelled Kerr into a
rry of imagination and images.
ihat is Illyria? What is this place
ere people arrive and where they
use change among people who live
We can give Illyria a geographical
sociation. Historical notes accom-
nyig recent editions of the play
dicate that Illyria was probably an
and on the East coast ofthe Adriatic
a - what Kerr termed "a rather
rious area of the world."
Being an island, Kerr deemed wa-
- a "crucial" element. Kerr next
rmed to the actual word. "I love the
undofIllyria," Kerr saidexcitedly.
'm always interested in the text -
)t onjy the content and meaning of
e word but the music of it." One
sonance ofthe word was "lyric"; an
en stronger resonance was "illu-
This is Illyria, lady.' This is illu-
n - delirium," Kerr said as if he
ere conjuring a spirit. "And the
ople that you find there, the two
lars of power - the Dukeand the
>untess - are a man and a woman
ldly out of proportion with them-
ig Country
hy the Long Face
re Records
Do not expect kilts. Do not ex-
et bagpipes. Do not expect happy
ottish people prancing around in
e medieval Highlands. Expect
elody driven rock, well produced
d welL.-performned.
Most remember Stuart Adamson
om the infamous "In a Big Coun-
y" video, an '80s MTV master-
iecc recently resurrected y the
Os nostalgia craze. But that was
er 10 years ago. Now, Adamson
td crew are attempting a strong
merican comeback with the re-
mtly released Why the Long Face.
These days Big Country couples
e original ethnic influence and
>p melody with a hard-driving,
tord-based rock sound. The first
vo tracks, "You Dreamer" and
vessage of Love" are testaments
> their new, harder edge. But Big
ountry isn't all different. "I'm Not
shamed" and "God's Great Mis-
ke' are slower tempo tracks that
sepwith Big Country's Scottish

The second coming of Big Coun-
y is far more pleasant than the
rst. Big Given a bigger label, Big
ountry could do even better their
cotd time around the states.
-Brad Haywood
See RECORDS, Pag 8

Ysa era u r~IE E L

Duke Orsino (Matthew Witten) and
Countess Olivia (Heather Dilly) are
two inhabitants of the island with
whom Viola interacts. Orsino is des-
perately in love with Olivia, but she is
mourning the loss of her father and
"One is desperately in love with the
notion of being in love, and the other
is profoundly melancholic over the
loss of the male figures in her life,"
Kerr said. "And washed ashore - the
essential catalyst - is one figure,
which is two halves of the same thing.
It's a man-woman, it's a Viola-
Sebastian, who are the major catalyst
for the cause of change such as itsis
within the environment."
Assuming her twin brother (Paul
Molnar) is drowned, Viola (Heather
Guglielmetti) dons the guise of a boy
named Cesario; as a servant to the
Duke, she falls in love with him. One
ofher regular duties becomes deliver-
ing messages of love from Orsino to
Olivia; in her role as emissary, Viola/
Cesario becomes the unlikely recipi-
ent of the Countess' affections.
But Shakespeare's mistaken iden-
tity artifice runs a little deeper in
"Twelfth Night," one of his most
mature comedies. Kerr agreed that
the play is essentially a comedy, yet
one which contains prominent tragic
elements-especially in such smaller
characters as Feste (a fool) and Sir
Toby Belch.
"The fool -not someone who does
card tricks or juggles balls, but the
fool as enlightener ... is a melan-
choly, slightly bitter fool," Kerr said.
"Sir Toby Belch - who is a great
comic precursor to Falstaff in his ap-
petite for life - is desperate for life,
and life isn't being lived in his world."
Still another definition of Illyria

refers to music, the use of which the
text explicitly dictates and on which
Kerr has capitalized. "People are con-
stantly communicating through mu-
sic," Kerr explained. "Osino is adcres-
sure of music. 'If music be the food of
love, play on' is his first released
"We're using the traditional music
- slightly augmented," Kerr contin-
ued. "The play calls for three songs,
generated by Feste. They're tradi-
tional melodies. I've got a glorious
company of actors who are contribut-
ing with guitar, saxophone, clarinet.
The play lends itself to that."
Music was not the only addition in
Kerr's reconception of "Twelfth
Night." He has made small textual
cuts, in an attempt to clarify and en-
hance what he called the "myriad plate
of spaghetti of a plot." The "usual
lords, ladies and attendants" have also
become more concrete figures, each
with his/her own identity, job, et
cetera. And Kerr has cast a few roles
non-traditionally; for example, the
role of Feste, usually cast as a man,
will be played by Roxy Font.
Kerr's reputation, however, seems
to be based on making a tradition of
the non-traditional. You've got to
wonder where he gets ideas like cho-
rus in Tennessee Williams and mo-
torcycles in Thornton Wilder.
"One needs to welcome the mys-
tery and not having the answers, with-
out being a mystic or someone who
goes around staring in crystal balls,"
he said with a mysterious smile. "I
have an active imagination - as we
all do - but perhaps I give it more
free rein to interactandbounce off the
work I'm considering. And it takes
me places that surprise me."

By James Wilson tention of a teacher and received a
For the Daily scholarship to Lycee instead of being
That Albert Camus, the intemation- hired out as an apprentice by his grand-
ally famous novelist andfatherofFrench mother(thetraditional fateofAlgerian
existentialism, was killed in a car acci- working-class youths). Thenovel pre-
dent in January 1960 is a well known maturely concludes at the end of
tidbit of literary history. But it has, until Cormeray's school days.
recently, been a little known fact that in This end is simultaneously disap-
the wreck, along with Camus' body, pointing, because Camus' story is so
was a brief case containing 140-odd skillfully told the reader cannot help
pagesofahandwritten manuscript. The wanting more, for the future of the
manuscript was the first part of what protagonist seems to be bright. Inter-
Camus intended to be his longest and estingly, Catherine Camus included
greatest novel. Camus' own notes and sketches about
In the months following his death, the novel - some within the text,
Camus' family came into possession of some as an appendix - so the reader
the manuscript, and with them it re- can at least get an idea of where Camus
intended to take his novel.
What is most fascinating about "The
First Man" is its style. Since Camus
The First Man had no chance to edit and revise his
By Albert Camus prose, or the shape of the story, the
Alfred A. Knopf reader is treated to an especially raw
and emotional text that is more reveal-
ing about the author and his feelings
mained,unpublished, for34years. Then, than any of his other works. While the
just over a year agoit appeared in France body of the novel is dotted with missing
as"LePremier Homme."Camus'daugh- words and sentences that trail off, they
ter Catherine, had after so many years, go almost unnoticed because the lan-
personally transcribed the almost illeg- guage reads so quickly and informally.
ible piece and prepared it for publication. Camus' love of his mother and the
This year, the work has been translated wonder ofliving is continually revealed
into English and published in the United by theunfiltered,uninhibited language.
States as "The First Man."
The almost entirely autobiographi- Since Camus had
cal novel tells the story of Camus' birth
(whichobviouslyrequiredalittleimagi- no chance to
nation) and childhood in the French
colony of Algeria. It depicts his child- revise, the reader
hood spent in poverty as well as his
search, as an adult, to understand the is reated to an
father he never knew.
Camus' childhood certainly bordered especially raw and
on the extraordinary. He lived with hss
Grandmother, mother and uncle, all of em/otional text.
whom were illiterate and at least par-
tially deaf. They lived off the minus- He makes his mother out to be "Ma-
cule salaries of his mother's house- donna-like" with long, affectionate
keeping jobs and his uncle's job at the descriptions of her features and ac-
cooperage (He made barrels). tions. He lingers on small pleasures of
In the midst ofwhat the readercannot childhood - such as the delight of the
escape as poverty and an unfriendly rare order of French fries - almost
desert climate, the young Camus (or gratuitously; his reluctance to end his
Jacques Cormeray, as the novel's pro- description is like that of himself as a
tagonist is called) falls in love with life child, reluctant to finish his last fried
-soccer, swimming in the ocean, ha- potato. Surely moments like these
rassing the dog catcher - and devel- would have been pared down. by the
ops, without guidance, the fundamen- perfectionistandself-critical Camus.
tals of a philosophy that would eventu-, But in this post-humous publication,
ally capture the imagination and inter- we are treated with rare access to the
est of Europe and the United States. interior of Camus' emotions.
A gifted student, he attracted the The novel is more thanjust an enjoy-
attention of a teacher and received a
scholarship to Lycee instead of being
hiredoutas an apprenticeby his grand-
mother (the traditional fate of Alge-
rian working-class youths). The
novel prematurely concludes at the-
end of Cormeray's school days.
This end is simultaneously disap-

able story. Its autobiographical nature
reveals the inspiration behind parts of
his philosophy and other literary works.
For example, Camus depicts his own
and his unknown father's hatred ofcapi-
tal punishment in an anecdote some-
what reminiscent of scenes from his
novel "The Plague." Also, in his work
"Exile and the Kingdom," he writes ofa
cooperage; now we know that its is the
cooperage at which his uncle worked
and at which Camus spent many days
admiring both his uncle and the com-
plexity of barrel-making.
Once aware of the quality of "The
First Man," we are left to wonder,"Why
wasn't this published sooner?" Only a
few years after his death, all of Camus'
other unpublished works were released
- including his first novel, entitled "A
Happy Death"- so why not this one?
The answer is both political and per-
sonal. BecauseofhisoppositiontoCom-
munist totalitarianism (he often stated
"ideology must serve humanity, not the
contrary") and the complete surrender
of Algeria to the rebelling Arabs (he
supported equal rule between Arab and
European citizens), Camus has been
ostracized from his more radical con-
temporaries. Camus' family feared that
the release of an unfinished, posthumous
novel would encourage an assault and
destruction of Camus' literary reputation.
Because of the nature ofthe period, many
French intellectuals were eager to limit, if
not abolish, Camus' influenceonpolitical
and ideological thought.
In some ways,itis toobadthenovel was
not released when these issues were still
contentious, for Camus addresses these
issues in his novel and traces the roots of
his opinions regarding them. One cannot
help but feelthe overwhelming andunfail-
ing sympathy that Camus held for all
human beings,and beswayedby theargu-
ments and conclusions he draws from the
context of his life. But perhaps in the din
of those heated times which surrounded
his untimely death, the calm, sympathetic
logic of the French literary master would
have been drowned or ignored.
Perhaps, "The First Man" is not
Camus' best work. No doubt "The
Stranger" and his collection of essays,
"The Myth of Sisyphus" will remain at
the forefront of his works. But at the
same time, this last novel is of much
more than academic interest. It is an
accessible and heart-rendering tale that
will interest both the Camus-phile as
well as the casual reader.

Prospective Teacher Education Meeting
hursda ,November 30, 1995
6:00 p.m.
Whitney Auditorium
Room 1309 School of Education Building
Call 764-7563 for more information.

anot'he~r ecuse to
get o±fd'campus. 4AOVKTw

Hang out with your old friends.
Take your laundry home, and
eat some real food. Whatever
the reason, when you get a
Student Advantage Card, you can
get away on Amtrak® for 15
less. You won't be crammed into
a car with five other people.
Or stuck on a bus out in the

middle of nowhere. And your
discount is good for travel on
almost every Amtrak train.
To get a Student Advantage
Card call 1-800-96-AiTRAK.
And to make reservations,
call your travel agent or
Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL.
Now stop making excuses.


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