The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, November 03, 1997, Page 10, Image 10

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    Play’s humanity falls flat
Theater Critic
The audience at die University of
Nebraska-Lincoln theater depart
ment’s production of “A Lie of the
Mind” fared about as well as the
play’s characters. After three hours of
violence and insanity, both groups
left the theater confused and beaten.
The play, written by Sam
Shepard, begins with Jake telling his
brother, Frankie, that he may have
killed his wife, Beth. Frankie travels
to Montana to check on his sister-in
law’s condition while he and Jake’s
mother proceed to lock Jake up in his
old bedroom at home. Meanwhile,
Beth’s brother, Mike, watches over
Beth until she is transported to her
parents’ home to recover.
The main problem with the pro
duction is that many of the actors fail
to communicate the complexity of
these characters. While Shepard
accentuates the characters’ eccentric
ity, he depicts them as essentially
human in their trials and tribulations.
Consequently, the audience
should have mixed emotions about
these characters. They should love
them for one reason and hate them for
another. Unfortunately, the actors
resorted to one-dimensional portray
als, leaving the audience members to
fojtlow d|eir initial reaction to the
characters. Only the women come out
of ihlsplay with any semblance of
Eric Moyer, who playS the para
noid, wife-beating husband Jake,
begins the play with an honest,
poignant portrayal of a man torn
between pain and rage. The actor
allows his character’s inner turmoil to
manifest through his body and voice.
But as the play progresses, Moyer
loses the contrasts of his character.
He becomes more and more evil and
less and less human. By the end of the
play, the audience no longer identi
fies with any part of his character.
Like Moyer, Ryan Johnston
begins the show with a truthful depic
tion of Frankie. In the scenes with
Moyer, he gives shape to the complex
relationship between Frankie and his
brother. Once his character is separat
ed from Jake, though, Johnston loses
his link to Frankie’s motives. Thrown
into the pool of insanity that is Beth’s
house, Johnston’s character struggles
to maintain his allegiance to Jake.
Johnston fails to solidify this strug
gle, and his final outcry seems ill
Moira Reilly gives the best per
formance in the show as Lorraine,
Jake’s protective mother. A life of
hardship and tragedy has made this
woman hard herself. But Reilly does
not allow this character to become a
wall of discipline and anger. Through
her spontaneity and diverse range of
emotion, she gives the most real and
human portrayal in the play, allowing
the audience to see the pain and tor
ture underneath the hard exterior.
Ken Paulman gives another of the
play’s one-dimensional portrayals as
Baylor, Beth’s gruff, insensitive
father. Stooped and cranky with a bit
ing tone, Paulman’s character
remains stagnant to the end, even dur
ing his energetic show of patriotism.
Robot Hurst plays Mike, Beth’s
loving and smothering brother.
Hurst’s weakness is that he begins the
play too violently. From the moment
the lights go up, he is already impa
tient with Beth’s talk of her feelings
for Jake. Consequently, he has
nowhere to go. He does not allow the
audience to see Mike’s progression
from protective brother to violent
revenge-seeker. The contrasts that
should be evident between Mike at
the beginning of the show and at the
end fail to materialize in Hurst's
Erin McLaine’s performance as
Meg, Beth’s flighty-yet-observant
mother, is another of die show’s few
highlights. Though her character may
seem like a flake, McLaine lends the
sensitivity and compassion needed to
humanize the play. She also provides
die comedy needed to break the play Is
tension. *
Kristin Hensley gives a solid per
formance as Beth. She portrays the
character’s conflicting emotions and
creates a real rapport with McLaine’s
character. Unfortunately, the men in
the play give her littie off of which to
play, and she seems to lack depth
when in their presence.
“A Lie, of the Mind” continues
TUesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. in
the Studio Theatre in the Temple
Building. Tickets are $6 for students,
$9 for faculty/staff/senior citizens
and $ 10 for all others. Call (402) 472
2073 for reservations.
Dance majors fight to save
degree from possible end
DANCE from page 9
“There had been a similar rumor
in thftepring, but we thought every
thing had been taken care of,”
Schwenzer said. “I was totally not
expecting it this time.”
In response to the decent specula
tion, UNL dance majors have written
a letter addressed to art supporters at
large. The letter states that a proposal
has been made by the College of Fine
and Performing Arts to cut the dance
- Asking art supporters to write let
ters to the chancellor and vice chan
cellor of UNL supporting the dance
program, it hangs on a bulletin board
outside Mabel Lee Hall 304, where
dance students regularly practice. An
accompanying note says the formal
letter will be sent Nov. 5 “to arts sup
porters across the country in hopes of
saving our program.”
Hofeditz responded by saying
that no formal proposal has been
“As soon as there is something
substantial, we will notify the faculty
and students,” Hofeditz said.
The one and only
The UNL dance program is cur
rently the only one in Nebraska offer
ing a dance major. If the program is
cut, prospective students like
Prettyman will have to go out of state
to major in dance.
Prettyman said if the College of
Fine and Performing Arts cuts the
major, she mig)it turn to her other top
choice, the University of Kansas.
“It would be easier to make the
decision if the UNL program was
going to continue to grow,”
Prettyman said. ‘Twould like to stay
close to home.”
The UNL dance program began
in the 1920s as part of the physical
education department. The original
curriculum include^classes in folk
and interpretive dancJe. Later, classes
in rhythm fundamentals, clogging,
square dancing and social dancing
were added.
Dudley Ashton was responsible
for implementing the dance major
during the dance explosion of the
1960s. Ashton first implemented it
through the College of Arts and
Sciences and then helped move the
major to Teachers College. As the
program matured, it was enlarged to
include modem, ballet, jazz, tap, and 4
ethnic dance as well as folk, social
and square dance. In 1983, the dance
major joined the department of the
ater arts.'
While cutting the dance major
mostly would affect the university
community, it could also alter the
entire Lincoln dance community by
eliminating a strong central force
locally dedicated to increasing
dance’s exposure, Schwenzer said.
However, despite the rumors and
the repercussions of their becoming
reality, Schwenzer says morale among
the dance majors remains high.
“Right now, we’re trying to be
strong and stick together,” she said.
“We feel like we’re one against the
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