“Tragedy: A Tragedy” — Basement Arts
I don’t think Basement Arts could have chosen a better time to put on “Tragedy.” Not only did the play provide important and relevant commentary on the media, but it did so in a funny and unique way that’s perfect for students. Director Avery DiUbaldo was smart to choose this play, and Will Eno appears to be a growing literary treasure whose work perfectly captures the growth of our generation. “Tragedy” reflects this ideal and serves to show that students in theater programs at Michigan are passionate about their art and can deliver a good show because of it.
“Hairspray” — MUSKET
Capturing a range of emotions, MUSKET’s “Hairspray” delighted audiences this fall. The casting was genius — each character a unique take on the original script with voices that suited the show — and the ensemble’s talent was showcased in different, distinct ways. “Hairspray” was the perfect example of the talent that exists on campus, exhibited not only by the cast but also the production team as a whole.
“The Andersen Project” — Ex Machina
“The Andersen Project” opened to audiences at the Power Center last March. As a one-man show, one would assume that it was a very limited production. Instead, it was an expansive undertaking to say the least with many characters, a riveting story and specific attention to the scenery and images displayed. The director and writer Robert Lepage constantly evoked Hans Christian Andersen’s traditional folk tales and blended those ideals with contemporary themes to create a modern fairy tale. This production played upon the viewers’ imagination, forcing them to concentrate intensely and become fully bewitched by the power of storytelling.
“Tabletops” — Mark di Suvero
The UMMA organized exhibit, “Tabletops,” presented audiences with some of Mark di Suvero’s most elegant small-scale pieces and gave viewers the opportunity to explore form, balance and movement through the unlikely mediums of stainless steel and titanium. In doing so, the exhibit also complemented Suvero’s larger pieces Orion and Shang, both of which stand proudly outside UMMA. The exhibit was important in that it both showcased the work of one of the country’s most renowned artists and demonstrated how the art industry is transforming into an interactive, in-your-face experience.
“ John Cage is a Fungi” — Dance and Related Arts Show
The annual Dance and Related Arts Show is a hidden gem. Underappreciated and tucked away, it’s quietly become one of the most unique performance events at Michigan by managing to flawlessly combine multiple artistic disciplines with performers coming from various dance, music, composition and visual arts backgrounds. A product of an MT&D class, the show forces students to come together and create an emotionally complex collage of performances on campus. So don’t go by the mundane title: the exhibition might just be the weirdest, coolest thing of the year. It’s clear the performers put a lot of thought and love into each piece and the show is surely not one to be missed.
– LENA FINKLE