North Carolina Newspapers

    6The Daily Tar HeelMonday, September 18, 1989
Arts "
'Cherry Orchard
Chekhov just might have been proud
of the PlayMakers Repertory
Company's version of his play "The
Cherry Orchard."
: Chekhov, when he wrote the play,
intended for it to be a comedy. How
ever, Konstatin Stanislavski, the Rus
sian director and dramatic coach, first
produced "The Cherry Orchard" as a
ponderous tear-jerker.
The PlayMakers' version relies on a
different approach, mixing humor and
tragedy in a way that makes the play
both funny and moving. Instead of
trying to make the play melodramatic,
this production uses both comedy and
tragedy in conjunction.
' The result is real characters lost in a
world they do not understand. We pity
some of them, we laugh at all of them,
and in the end we are moved.
The play takes place in Russia 50
years after the emancipation of the
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Russian serfs in 1861. The Russia that
the play portrays has been scarred by
the political and economic chaos it has
been thrust into.
The characters, like the country,
struggle in turmoil, but cannot do what
is necessary to save themselves.
Lyubov, who owns the cherry or
chard and the house, is in debt. If she
cannot pay the money back, she will
lose her land, but she is too childish and
too lost to accomplish what is neces
sary to save her estate.
Lopakhin is the young, wealthy
businessman who has risen from his
peasant background .to the status of
nouveau riche. He doesn't know how
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to deal with his new-found wealth, and
suffers with guilt because he feels he
doesn't deserve it.
The rest of the characters are, in their
own ways, trying to deal with the
changes they see around them.
Gayev, Lyubov's brother, and Anya
and Vary a, Lyubov's daughters, try to
deal with the realization that life as they
once knew it cannot exist.
Pytor, a young student, has to recon
cile his own Marxist beliefs with his
sympathy even grudging admira
tion for Lyubov and Lopakhin.
Firs, the old butler, is the only real
remnant from the past. Though he has
been free for at least 50 years, he still
hasn't left the family. He is comic,
tragic and the only truly admirable
character in the play.
The production manages to portray
the great complexities of the characters
with shattering performance
Few bands could live up to the ad
vance billing that the Rolling Stones
have received for the 1 989 Steel Wheels
tour, but Saturday night at Carter-Fin-ley
Stadium, the Stones came through
Despite the threats of rain, inade
quate parking and predictions of 30,000
ticketless fans, the concert was a com
plete triumph. The Stones have never
been known as the consummate live
rock 4n' roll act, but what they lack in
musicality, they make up in presence.
After almost 30 years, the 1989 Stones
sounded as good as ever, putting on a
simply amazing show.
Opening act Living Colour didn't
seem troubled by touring with a bunch
of legendary rockers. The band deliv
ered a searing but underappreciated 45
minute set featuring most of the mate
rial from the band's debut, Vivid. Lead
singer Corey Glover was in fine form,
cementing his reputation as the man
with the most exciting hair in rock 4n'
Some had said that Living Colour
were immobile onstage during this tour
but, thankfully, such reports were false.
The frontmen made use of the huge
stage, prowling about throughout their
set, particularly during the finale, "Cult
of Personality." "Open Letter to a
Landlord" was dedicated to the college
students in the audience, who, Glover
said, have a chance to "do something
about the world."
Following an act as exciting as Liv
ing Colour is a difficult task, even for
the Rolling Stones. But the Stones had
visual impact on their side, with a
massive set exceeding 250 feet in width
and 130 feet in height so large, in
fact, as to require aircraft collision lights.
The stage was surrounded by gigantic
Metropolis-style industrial structures,
much in the vein of the Steel Wheels
album cover.
Shielded by massive amounts of
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on display in your college bookstore.
in PlayMakers' production
in a simple, unpretentious manner,
saving the play from becoming a muddy
puddle of human foibles.
One of the greatest pitfalls of "The
Cherry Orchard" for dramatists is the
self-involvement of the characters. The
characters live in their own world, and
they refuse to see what is happening
It is too easy to misunderstand
Chekhov, and to make the characters so
wrapped up in themselves that they
don't interact. In the PlayMakers' pro
duction however, there was never the
sense that these characters weren't at
least trying to talk to each other. They
might have been miserably incapable
of making themselves heard, but they
did try.
The comedy was also deftly inter
woven into the production. Instead of
conventional humor where characters
Brian Springer
smoke, in the glow of a string of blue
lights, the band came onstage to a tape
of the Master Musicians of Jajouka
(featured on "Continental Drift" from
Steel Wheels). An explosion broke the
rapidly increasing tension, and the
Stones launched into "Start Me Up,"
followed by "Bitch."
Wearing blue-green tails and strut
ting energetically, lead singer Mick
Jagger seemed like something out of a
time warp. Keith Richards played gui
tar from the elbow in his usual style,
fellow guitarist Ron Wood grinning
contentedly behind. Bassist Bill Wyman
and drummer Charlie Watts, though
the most consistent musicians of the
band, were decidedly non-visual, keep
ing the rest of the band on the musical
track. On the fringes of the stage were
saxophonist Bobby Keys; keyboard
players Matt Clifford and Chuck Leav
ell; and backing vocalists Lisa Fischer,
Bernard Fowler and Cindy Mizelle.
The show featured numerous gim
micks, including inflatable "Honky
Tonk Women" more than 55 feet tall on
both sides of the stage. During "Sym
pathy for the Devil," Jagger appeared
near the top of the stage left scaffold,
surrounded by flames. "2,000 Light
Years from Home" was the most strik
ingly visual tune, with exquisite use of
multi-colored light beams and smoke.
"It's Only Rock V Roll" made use of
the video monitors, accompanied by
still photos of rock legends such as
Chuck Berry and Fats Domino.
Aside from the elaborate side ef
fects, most of the show was simply
straightforward rock. The band ripped
through songs such as "Brown Sugar,"
'Tumbling Dice," "You Can't Always
Get What You Want" and "Midnight
Rambler." Jagger played the guitar on
several occasions, as in "Undercover
(of the Night)." Richards was featured
in a "solo" set (the band seems to trans
late "solo" as "without Mick"), singing
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8 p.m. Sunday, September 24
Memorial Hall UNC
Tickets : $14.50 General Public
$12.50 UNC Students
at Carolina Union Box Office 962-1449
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Presented by the CAROUNA UNION
consciously try to be funny, Chekhov
relies more on the incongruity of every
day speech and action. The PlayMakers
production managed to carry this off
very well. The actors delivered their
comic lines naturally without drawing
attention to themselves. We laugh at
the sheer absurdity of what they are
saying, but we also recognize the trag
edy in how the characters never under
stand what they have just said.
Chekhov also relies on pratfalls and
other physical humor. In this produc
tion, it isn't overdone and works well,
for the most part.
The acting as a whole was very good.
Sheriden Thomas managed to do a
wonderful job balancing the childlike
vulnerability of Lyubov with her licen
tious sensuality. Lyubov became a
character that we could sympathize with
even if we could not admire her.
"Before They Make Me Run" and
"Happy." "Satisfaction" was the tradi
tional audience sing-along and
"Jumpin' Jack Flash" the encore.
If Richards rules the Stones' rec
ords, Jagger commands the concerts.
Whether strolling across the stage in a
red coat during "Paint It Black" or
"shaking his tailfeather" in "Harlem
Shuffle," Jagger was the focal point of
practically every song., Richards and
Wood, though they performed remarka
bly well for the first few songs, sounded
ragged towards the end. Richards' solo
in "Sympathy for the Devil" did not do
justice to the original. However, the
band had a garage sound that was fit
ting for such tunes as "Satisfaction."
Side note: In Living Colour's set,
Corey Glover wisely did not address
the issue of college loyalty. Jagger made
a mistake when he assumed a large
N.C. State presence. Making the com
ment, "I suppose you like the
Wolfpack," he received resounding
boos. He immediately followed with,
"All right, forget I said that." Obvi
ously, there were quite a few Tar Heels
in the audience.
For two and a half hours (no breaks!),
the Stones rolled on, putting to rest any
question of stamina. Despite being
billed as a tour celebrating the 1989
Rolling Stones, the set contained only
three songs from the band's latest al
bum. Some of the song choices were
surprising, with some classics being
noticably absent from the performance,
such as "Under My Thumb" and "Let's
Spend the Night Together." This made
the set stronger, though, truly taking
the show's quality a step forward.
The deafening applause and fire
works following the show were Stones
traditions, further establishing the con
cert as an event. In all honesty, few
people see the Rolling Stones simply to
listen to music. Instead, fans want to
participate in the experience of a Stones
concert. This was probably the musical
highlight of 1989, as it is rare when an
event actually lives up to its billing.
After all, it wasn't only rock 'n roll; it
was the Stones!
w G C1I C3
' ' 1
Ray Dooley also did a convincing
job as Lopakhin, juggling the
character's guilt and triumph in a be
lievable way.
Earle Edgerton did an adequate job.
with Gayev, but his portrayal seemed .
to make Gayev too strong without
emphasizing the stagnation and inef-.
fectiveness of his character.
Jim Hillgartner, however, did the'
best job of all. His Firs was lovable and
oddly admirable; in the end, when the
family left Firs behind, the audience'
responded with a soft but audible prot-,
estation. ;
PlayMakers Repertory Company will '
present Anton Chekhov's "The Cherry
Orchard" through Oct. 8 in the Paul
Green Theater. Performances are held
at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
and at 2 p.m. on Sundays.
24-7 Spyz
mixes funk,
Staff Writer
You've got radios in every cor
ner of the dorm room, right? Now
tune 4em all to different stations
and play em at the same time.
Such is 24-7 Spyz' method of
telling the music caste system where
to go. Out of a mind-set that bred
Bad Brains and Living Colour, 24
7 Spyz thrash and bash while they
The Spyz coalesced m 1986 in -
New York City. Saturating the local
club scene helped the band cull a
following. The core of the Spyz,
however, didn't flesh out until they
began to play Sunday matinees at
CBGB's. The modest New York
pub that had launched the careers
of Blondie and the Ramones years
earlier, thus helping to define punk,
now served a hard-core outlet. The
underage crowd not admitted to
weekend events sought euphoria
on alcohol-free (eh hem) after
noons. Even with hard-core dema- i
gogues Minor Threat and Agnostic :
Front competing for stage dives, ,
the Spyz' fusion fit the atmosphere.
Fellow scenesters Bad Brains and
Fishbone had already worked to
break down the barrier between
speed and funk. As a result, a crowd
often categorized as neo-Nazis
swarmed the Spyz' gigs in suppor
tive if intense frenzies.
Connections with fanzines and
members of the hard-core neigh
borhood led the Spyz to sign with
In-Effect Records, home to Agnos
tic Front, Raw Deal and the Prong.
The current lineup including
guitarist Jimi Hazel, bassist Rick
Skatore, drummer Anthony
Johnson and vocalist Peter Fluid
released a debut LP, Harder
Than You, last winter. Without
looking to thrashin' labelmates for
directions, Harder Than You lives
up to its name. No, this isn't hard
core. Neither is it entirely unfamil
iar (I smell chili peppers). But
despite a slight case of deja voo
doo, the Spyz succeed in their pot
luck funk 'n' roll.
"Ballots Not Bullets" should 1
serve as inspiration to reggae
makers determined to out-Marley
Marley without braving new
rhythms. A cappella harmonies :
decorateapleafordemocracy. Kool
and the Gang's "Jungle Boogie"
kicks off side two, complete with
swampsong introduction. It's
enough to convince me that disco
lives (of course, I never suspected,
otherwise). The song was even
released as a 12-inch single with
four remixes, including a house ,
"Pillage" shows what happens
when the Spyz' mesh goes askew.
Trying to incorporate every style at ,
once may be adventurous, but it s
not exactly easy on the ears. Eclec
ticism can be a vice.
On the other hand, Tango Skin
Polka" spins a tune that would send
a metalhead to cloggin heaven.
You'll really have to stretch the
imagination to figure a neater blend
of cheap square dancing, hard-core
and polka.
Now, before I mention the so
cial-action lyrics and recommend
an acclaimed show tonight, I feel
obligated to warn the morally up
right that "Spill My Guts" contains
blatant sexism. Rather than wreak
ing havoc by printing the objec
tionable lyrics, I'll leave it to the
imagination with the forewarning
that a bit of protesting might be in
order. After all, what can you ex
pect from a band that thanks both
Jesus Christ and Murphy's Law in
the liner notes?
24-7 Spyz will play tonight at
Cat's Cradle on Franklin Street.
Cover is $6. Atlanta's Nakorf Tr,.tU
r M f Wft
will open. The show begins around
w. tor more information, 967-9053.

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