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December 01, 1995 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-12-01

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And to a
ZBy Melissa Rose Bemardo
Daily Theater Editor
Philip Kerr has done it again. He has
taken a classic - this time
Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" - and
transformed it into a vibrant. invigorat-
ing mastery of concept and form.
Kerr's concept grew out of a single
line: "What country, friends, is this?"
Twelfth Night
Mendelssohn Theater
When: Tonight and Saturday at
8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tickets: $16, $12 ($6 students).
Call 764-0450.
That question is spoken by Viola, the
central character, in Act I scene two,
when she discovers herselfshipwrecked
on a strange island. She is answered,
"This, lady, is Illyria."
Historical notestell usIllyriawasprob-
ably an island on the coast of the Adriatic
Sea. Kerrtakes the watery origin about 10

A Day Without Art
The opening reception of an exhibition as a part of the international day
honoring AIDS-related deaths in the art world will take place tonight
from 5-8p.m. at the Alexa Lee Gallery, 201 Nickels Arcade. Free.


a good
steps further. This Illyria is all but satu-
rated, from trenches of water running
along the stage to the blue-green shim-
mery curtain cutting across the middle,
the movement of which signifies scene
changes. Do not be mistaken -this is no
"Waterworld." Here water is cleansing,
revealing, blessing; it is no coincidence
that rain showers crown the joyous last-
scene denouement, a blissful final touch
to this beauteous production.
Viola (H. Guglielmetti) arrives on
Illyria, in fact, as a direct result of a sea-
storm (a wondrous cascade of ribbon,
blue gossamer and turbulent piano mu-
sic). Believing her twin brother
Sebastian (P. Molnar) drowned, she
disguises herselfas a boy called Cesario
and serves Duke Orsino (M. Witten). A
passionately passionate man, Orsino
pines for the love of the melancholy
Countess Olivia (H. Dilly). But it is
Viola/Cesario who arouses Olivia's af-
fections; triply problematic since Viola
is in love with Orsino. All of this is
intertwined with a mischievous subplot
among Olivia's servants.
Kerr nurtures each plot-line heartily,

and draws them together with what
seems like not so much as a wave of his
hand. Second to water, music is the
most important component ofthis Illyria
- with live (vocal, piano, clarinet and
saxophone) and recorded music creat-
ing mood, filling gaps and underscor-
ing action.
As usual in a Kerr production, fine
performances check in across the board.
As Duke Orsino, Whitten makes use of
his talent as actor, vocalist and pianist,
glossing it all over with a subtle, inter-
nalized intensity. Dilly turns in yet an-
other stellar performance as Olivia; her
energy and range, once again, is as-
tounding. A fine comic addition is J.
Bender's Sir Andrew Aguecheek,
played with a warped chuckle and
charming overbite. The one perfor-
mance flaw is M. Garcia's misunder-
stood Malvolio, who, regrettably,
achieves most of his laughs through
Sarah Michelle Baum's costumes.
The real find here is R. Font, cast
nontraditionally in the role of Feste.
Not many actors know quite what to
make of this melancholy, bitter, es-
tranged fool; many masters (the
Stratford Festival's resident genius,
Brian Bedford, included) are over-
whelmed by the conflict between the
fool's jovial nature and Feste's pro-
found despondency. Whether she is
singing, soft-shoeing with a Barbie doll,
or merely setting the stage, Font's por-
trayal is well-informed, admirably
multi-faceted and truly inspired.
The performances owe a great deal to
Kerr, whose concepts and staging are a
veritable gold-mine for motivation.
Turning Olivia into a fitness-fanatic
(she has a trainer) and Orsino into a man
virtually living on music (he repeatedly
turns away an enticing would-be par-

Local heroes gone national: The Verve Pipe.
Local band wit o of

amour) are just two examples of mis
directoral prowess.
And while Vincent Mountain's clever
set and Beth Anne Turomsha's lighting
(tiptoeing and thundering through the
gaps in Mountain's set) complement
the action perfectly, one wonders what
heights this "Twelfth Night" would have
reached in another venue. The
proscenium stage of the Mendelssohn
f x.Theater confines the action to a box -
though a well-decorated one (note the
striking image of the grand piano, en-
shrouded in white gauze). Just imagine
if Mountain, Turomsha and Kerr had
been unleashed in the Power Center, or
in the malleable Trueblood Theater.
T. ~However, Kerr's Illyria is no less an
achievement in its current locale. We
are left, a little uncomfortably, ques-
tioning just what exactly this place is.
For certain, it is watery, it is musical, it
is black-and-white (evidenced in
I Baum's well-executed costume design).
But is it fantasy? Reality? That is for the
viewer to decide. Whatever you label it,
this production is blessed. After all, it
H Dilly and H. Guglielmetti star in "Twelfth Night" at the Mendelssohn Theater. was preceded by an afternoon rainfall.
D all over your hard work.
Finish it right! ---.
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expires12/31/95 * no other discountsapply

By Karl Jones
Daily Weekend Editor
"Hey, I really love you, man!" an exu-
berant fan shouted as he clapped Verve
Pipe lead singer Brian Vander Ark on the
back. "You guys are soooo great!"
Vander Ark was attempting to make
his way backstage at the Sanctum, a reno-
vated church-turned-dance-club in
Pontiac, when he was attacked by the
over zealous tan. Instead of brushing off
the loving obstacle, however, Vander Ark
smiled and thankedtheman first. A simple
gesture, but fitting manners in what used
to be a house of worship.
The Sanctum might actually be the
strangest place to attend a concert in the
Detroit area. There is something surreal
about moshing where old ladies in flow-
ered dresses used to kneel in prayer. But
local mega-band the Verve Pipe certainly
illustrated one uniting factor between
congregation and audience at their show
last Wednesday night: There's a whole
lot of worshipping going on either way.
"We seem to do very well with a live
following," drummer Donny Brown ad-
mitted. Hard-core fans (who seemed to
make up the entire audience) were even
singing and screaming along with mate-
rial offtheband's yet-to-be-released RCA
debut, tentatively titled "Villains."
"A lot of the new stuffthat we have has
been played live for quite a while, so fans
already know it," Brown continued. He
saidthe band wouldn't wait forthe record's
February release date to deliver new mu-
sic to the crowd. "Of course, we want the
album to be accepted, but what we're
more interested in is going to present it to
people. We'd rather have them come to a
club or a show, present it to (the audience)
and have them say yes or no."
Brown seemed excited about the new
album, which will apparently be a step in
a new direction for band members, who
also include Brad Vander Ark (bass, vo-
cals), A.J. Dunning (guitar, vocals) and
Doug Corella (percussion, keyboards).

When: Tonight. Doors open at
9:30 p.m.
Where: Blind Pig
Tickets: $6 at the door.
Ages: 19+
The band's first two albums "I've Suf-
fered a Head Injury" and "Pop Smear"
- both recorded on East Lansing label
LMNO Pop! - are chock full of lush
harmonies and soaring vocals. Accord-
ing to Brown, their major label debut is
a bit more subdued or perhaps just soars
in different places.
"(The album) is miles different from
(our other work). What we had in "Pop
Smear" in harmonies and vocal arrange-
ments, we've taken away and substituted
guitar parts andkeyboards," said Brown.
"The keyboard is actually a new thing for
us. It's not that prominent, but it does
have some cool little counter-melodies
that previously would have been cov-
ered by vocals."
Although Brian Vander Ark wrote all
the music and lyrics for the new album,
except for one song which he co-wrote
with Dunning, other band members' in-
fluence definitely affected the overall
mood of the album. Brown contributed
heavily to song-writing in the past and
feels some of this work led up to the
finished product with RCA.
"I'mproudof'ls It Worth It'-which
I wrote - because it's the only song on
'Pop Smear' that is a mood rather that a
song, and we kind of ran with that idea
with the new album," said Brown. He
added that "Brian writes great lyrics ... I
think (he) writes about issues. We have
songs on the new album that deal with
everything out there today."
The Verve Pipe also recently recorded
"Wake Up" for the new XTC tribute
"Testimonial Dinner." Imagine winning
the lottery, losing five pounds without
trying, and being offered the chance to

pop verve
ban the Olsen twins from ever making
anothermovie, andyouprobablystill won't
come close to how the band felt at being
chosen for such an honor.
"(XTC) are a major influence on'us,"
Brown stressed. "We were actually really
fortunate to meet Andy Partridge (lea
singer of XTC) because he's kind of
recluse. We were in New York City and he
came walking into the studio while w
were there. Honestly, I looked at this gu
who has written just beautiful lyrics,beau-
tiful melodies, some of the greaest stuff
after the Beatles in the pop/rock vein ...
He came into the room, and I looked him
straight in the face and said 'Holy shit!'
"Here I am looking at this guy who has
a COMMAND of the English language,
and all I can think ofto say is 'Holy shit!'
Brown laughed. "It kind of drove it pome
that I'm from Saginaw."
Linguistic slip-ups aside, Brown and
company have it together tight when it
comes to performing the XTC material.
The band belted out an amazing version o
XTC's "Blue Beret" at the Sanctum shdw,
and also feature the song on a Michigan
band compilation called "So This is a
As for the future of the Verve Pipe, the
band is planning on touring, touring and
more touring in support of their new al-
bum. They even acquired a new set o
wheels in January to replace the worn-out
van they used to travel in.
"(For years) we had my own personal
van. You should see this thing," Brown
laughed. "The transmission's gone to the
point where when you let offthe-4ccelera-
tor to slow down, the van violently shakes
-like volcano, earthquake eruption kind
of thing. It has 210 thousand miles on it."
Steadier now, the band is driving their
new sound, new material and upbeat live
feel to the Blind Pig tonight. Aio from the
amount of energy and love flowing be-
tween fans and the band at the Sanctum
show ... you might just consider the pr-
formance a religious experience.

Choral Union performs
classic "Messiah"
The University Musical Society Choral
Union performs Handel's beloved
oratorio, "Messiah," this weekend
under the direction of Dr. Thomas
Sheets. Premiered InDublin in 1742
and given Its first Choral Union
performance In 1879, "Messiah"
marks the start of the holiday season
for many concert-goers. This year's
soloists are soprano Ying Huang,
mezzo-soprano Laura Tucker, tenor
Gregory Cross and baritone Wililam
Stone. Ticket prices range from $8 to
$16, and rush tickets may be
available. "Messiah" will be performed
in Hill Auditorium at 8 p.m. Saturday
night, and again at 2 p.m. onSunday.
For more information, call the UMS
Box Office at 764-2538.

rau ceta 14t
Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honor Society, was founded to mark in a fitting manner
those who have conferred honor upon their Alma Mater by distinguished scholarship and
exemplary character as students in engineering, or by their attainments as alumni in the field of
engineering, and to foster a spirit of liberal culture in engineering colleges.
We, the officers and faculty advisors of the Michigan Gamma Chapter of Tau Beta Pi, wish to
congratulate the following people who have achieved our high standards and have successfully
completed the initiation rituals, thereby becoming active members of Tau Beta Pi:



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