REVIEW: Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche

In the light of today, I didn’t suspect to be given the opportunity to write a review for Basement Arts’ production of “Five Lesbian Eating a Quiche”, but last minute, the theater department received an email inviting us to see the show, despite it being what was supposed to be the show’s dress rehearsal. So at 7:30p, fifty-one people filed into the Newman Studio in the Walgreen Drama Center, program in hand, and cheered on five lesbians with a severe quiche addiction.

The show was a delight. It was funny, satirical, well-acted, clever and all-together a terrific production. Anna Demarinis served as Lulie, the president of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein, leading the show as a true powerhouse. Ruby Perez, “Dale”, and Patricia Joseph “Wren”, portrayed a compulsive, but heartfelt couple, so glad to be able to admit, in the face of the nuclear apocalypse, that they were in fact, lovers. Sofia Angelopolous portrayed Vern, a rigid, and rather intense officer in charge of maintaining the community center. And Maddy Paxson, with an unexpected British accent, served as a perfect contrast to the rest of the group, as the new officer “Ginny”, who was unawares to the lesbianism of the rest of the group. Sydney Prince’s directing was spot-on, and despite the news of the day, all fifty-one of us left laughing.

But what struck me about “Five Lesbians…” was its timeliness. After today’s announcement and as many students mourned the closing of campus for the rest of the semester, seeing five women look down the barrel of the end of time was hard. No, I’m not comparing coronavirus to the nuclear end, but for many students in STMD, they saw the majority of their work go down the drain. Performances were canceled, projects were postponed indefinitely, and no one seemed to know what was next. Basement Art’s production reminded me though, quite clearly, that in times of uncertainty, there are certain things we can, and have to, rely on.

We’ve had many discussions through my time at SMTD about creating art in the time of uncertainty. And while some may not consider a show as silly and entertaining as “Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche” art that addresses such a subject, I would wholeheartedly disagree. By the end of the show, I could’ve said, with great certainty that I felt a little more hopeful about our situation today. Maybe it was the relief of knowing I didn’t have to walk out the door and face nuclear fall-out, or that I wouldn’t have to decide which person in the room we’d have to kill. But whatever it was, it was enough to know we’d all survive.

More than that, “Five Lesbians…” was willing to share a little part of their process knowing that most of its audiences had given up theirs. Art in times of uncertainty relies on what art is founded on; community and generosity. Art provides us with a safe place to go, to return to, and to look forward to. Our art, whatever it may be, has the possibility to be an anchor in our lives, and in times of chaos and unknowing, times like today, it can provide us a roof over our heads in a storm: it doesn’t stop the weather outside, but it gives us a place to rest our heads. Thanks, Basement Arts, the cast, and all involved for a little bit of shelter tonight. To anyone reading this, I wish you could’ve been there.

 

 

PREVIEW: The Captive

The Residential College Players, better known through campus as the RC Players, is presenting their first full-length play of the semester, “The Captive” this Friday and Saturday, at 8:00p both days, in East Quad’s Keene Theater! Originally written in 1926 by French playwright, Edouard Bourdet, the three-act melodrama was shut down after 160 performances on Broadway because the lesbianism portrayed in the play was considered “obscene”. The story depicts a young woman, Irene, who is hopelessly and painfully in love with the unseen character, Mdme. d’Aiguines, despite her imminent engagement to a young gentleman, Jacques Virieu. Her love for Mdme. d’Aiguines keeps Irene captive, in more ways than one.

Be sure to stop by the Keene Theater this weekend to catch this one-of-a-kind performance!

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PREVIEW: Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche

Presented as part of student organization Basement Arts’ mainstage season, “Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche”, directed by Sydney Prince, is bound to be one of the craziest plays you’ve ever seen! Playing in the Newman Studio (located in North Campus’ Walgreen Drama Center) this Friday at 7:00p and 11:00p, and Saturday at 7:00p, “Five Lesbians…” by Andrew Hobgood and Evan Linder invites audiences into a 1956 meeting of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein. The annual quiche contest is upon the society, and the only thing getting in the way seems to be the imminent threat of nuclear war. 

Of the production, director Sydney Prince, a senior FTVM and LSA Drama double major, says “Recently, I have felt like there is a lack of comedy at this school so primarily, I wanted to find something that would make people laugh and make people think.” When asked about why she proposed the play to Basement Arts, Prince said, “I’ve never read a play that so wholeheartedly embraces its world and is able to develop such a sentimental and real story about something that is so comedic and strange.

Be sure you don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind piece of theatre, this Friday, March 13th at 7:00p and 11:00p, and Saturday, March 14th at 7:00p. As per Basement Arts’ mission, this event is free to the public! 

 

PREVIEW: 8th Annual Yule Ball

This esteemed, Harry Potter themed event is put on by our very own Quidditch team!

As you can probably surmise from the title, this event has become a beloved tradition that grows bigger and better every year. Harry Potter fans throughout campus flock to the Yule Ball to enjoy dancing, performances, and all other sorts of magical festivities that are part of the wizarding world; the most important, being fantastic food.

I for one, am absolutely ecstatic to be able to break out my dress robes and high heels to dance the night away with my fellow J.K Rowling fans!!

For just $12 in advance or $15 at the door, you can be a part of this magical night, February 1, starting at 7:15 at the Michigan Union Rogel Ballroom.

Bring friends, bring family! Just be sure to remember your Umich ID and wear something worthy of a ballroom. (This is a formal event)

 

REVIEW: It’s TAPpening

RhythM Tap Ensemble and Groove perform together Friday night

Students dressed as construction workers banged on trash cans. Then, the dancing began.

A lot of student org shows I’ve seen have invited Groove to do a guest performance. Groove, a high-energy music group that uses non-traditional percussion instruments, is popular for a reason. But I’ve never seen a guest performer incorporated into the headliner’s act the way RhythM Tap Ensemble performed to a soundtrack of Groove percussion in their showcase, “It’s TAPpening,” on Friday.

In a piece choreographed by Jack Randel and Katie Reid, RhythM seamlessly incorporated Groove’s funky percussion with the syncopation of tap dancing. At one point, each of the dancers laid on the ground, legs in the air, as Groove members used their tap shoes as an instrument.

The number, which was the second-half opener of “It’s TAPpening,” was a showstopper. I came into the show expecting something unique, and it still provided me with the unexpected.

RhythM, which choreographs all its own dances, showcased a variety of different styles even within the tap genre. Before I saw a RhythM show, I thought of tap dancing as something very specific: done to jazz standards, theatrical but without much substance. However, in this show, as with the show I saw of theirs two years ago, RhythM broke through that misconception. Dancing to pop, R&B, electronic, jazz, disco and gospel music, RhythM also incorporated elements of jazz and musical theatre for a well-rounded and highly entertaining performance.

In the adorable “Season 2 Episode 3,” choreographed by Liberty Woodside, RhythM proved that just like ballet and contemporary, tap dancing can tell a story. The piece transported me back to childhood, playing clapping games with my sister (the choreography incorporated an actual clapping game, which was clever) and living a somewhat carefree lifestyle.

A few songs later, RhythM tackled “Hot Honey Rag” from the musical Chicago and gave it their best Broadway flair. Choreographed by Erica Pinto, the dance had brilliant staging, beginning with the curtain partway up so only the feet were visible. It was, in a way, exactly what you’d expect from a tap number set to music from Chicago, but that’s what made it the perfect Act I finale. Act II brought a music selection much more heavily skewed towards pop, highlighted by “Nostalgia,” complete with retro bomber jackets.

Every piece was well rehearsed and I was impressed by the technique and, well, rhythm the dancers brought, and I enjoyed the diverse styles and music selections the company used. Still, the number with Groove, “Metal Workin’ Foot Workers” was the highlight for me and displayed the group’s creativity in all the right ways.

“It’s TAPpening” also featured four guest performances — from contemporary ballet company Salto, a cappella group Amazin’ Blue, jazz and contemporary company Impact Dance and hip-hop troupe FunKtion. While I enjoyed all the performances, I thought there were a few too many of them, and their placing within the program — Salto’s performance was the second number of the entire show — sometimes detracted from the overall effect.

I came into the show Friday night with high expectations. I saw RhythM two years ago and loved them. They were just as enjoyable the second time around and still brought something new to the table.

As Groove pattered their drumsticks effortlessly on the bottom of RhythM’s tap shoes, Michigan’s only tap group proved once again that in tap, if you’re only thinking about it one way, you’re doing it wrong.

A snippet from RhythM’s program, which showcased all its members’ personalities before they even took the stage.

PREVIEW: Callisto presented by Pure Dance

At a school with a plethora of contemporary and jazz dance groups, Pure Dance sets itself apart in a completely different way: its inclusivity.

“We recognize that the world of dance is often extremely demanding, both mentally and physically, and we strive to provide a safe environment where our members can express themselves without the pressure of conforming to the ‘ideal dancer’ archetype,” its Maize Pages description reads.

Rather than focusing strictly on its dancing as most dance-related student orgs do, Pure’s writeup highlights its commitment to a close-knit community, non-discrimination policy and the fact that it doesn’t charge dues to allow students of all socio-economic backgrounds to join.

Of course, like all other student dance groups, Pure works hard throughout the semester and choreographs its own pieces, culminating in a winter show, this year called Callisto.

According to the event’s Facebook page, Callisto will feature nine jazz and contemporary pieces from Pure as well as several guest performances.

While I’ve seen several other student dance groups on campus, I’ve never seen Pure. But I’m a huge fan of contemporary dance and I like what I’ve seen from other groups, so I’m excited to see what this one has to offer.

“Pure Dance Presents: Callisto” will be on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Mendelssohn Theatre of the Michigan League. Tickets are free with a Passport to the Arts.