The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 10, 1998, Page 9, Image 9

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By Jason Hardy
Senior Reporter
Michael Lasswell acts like a man possessed.
But don’t worry, it’s all a part of his job.
Today at 1 p.m. Lasswell, a professional
actor from New York, will do a one-man perfor
mance of Graham Greene’s, ‘Travels With My
Aunt,” an award-winning play traditionally done
by four actors.
Lasswell said he got the idea to do die play as
a one-man performance while he was in New
“I was the understudy for the show in New
York so I had to learn all the parts,” Lasswell said.
“I was at home visiting my parents, and they had
n’t got to see me do it, so I performed all the parts.”
He said the play mushroomed from there,
and he has been touring the country in between
acting jobs ever since.
Lasswell said the nature of the story helped
the adaptation to a one-man play go fairly smooth.
“Because the book is narrated from one
man’s point of view it made sense to do it as a
one-man show,” Lasswell said.
1 he basic story follows an uppity middle
aged banker through adventures he takes with
his crazy old aunt. Along the way they encounter
numerous challenges and end up smuggling
gold and covering up drug deals. Lasswell said
the story is great fun
“The bottom line is that it’s just a ripping
good story,” Lasswell said. “It’s kind of like the
forces of Alfred Hitchcock crashing into the
forces of Monty Python.”
There are more than 20 characters in the
play, and Lasswell does them all without cues or
help. He said it is very physically draining.
“I ran the New York City marathon 10 years
ago, and that was easier than doing this play
alone,” Lasswell said. “It’s just completely terri
fying, and I sweat like a pig.”
Scary and challenging as it may be, Lasswell
said this is, in a way, the purest form of theater
because it gets back to the storytelling methods
of theater’s beginnings
LassWtell said he developed most of the char
acters by taking characteristics from different
people he saw in real life or on television. After
doing the show so many times, he said, the char
acters took on a life of their own.
iney possess you in a way, Lasswell said.
“I’ve done this show so often I almost don’t even
have any control over what I’m doing. The char
acters run the show now.”
Kevin Paul Hofeditz, chairman of the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln theater depart
ment, said Lasswell works well in this kind of
“He realty has a wonderful sense of interpre
tation,” Hofeditz said. “He’s a fine actor and is
realty gifted in the one-person format”
He said seeing a one-man performance is a
neat experience.
“It’s not about trying to trick us into believ
ing there’s more than one person,” Hofeditz said.
“It’s about seeing many people come out of one
He said he is confident Lasswell will win
over tiie crowd with his performance.
“He’s got a great deal of charm and pres
ence, and he will definitely draw the audience
into the story,” Hofeditz said.
Lasswell, who went to school in England,
said his worldly travels have helped him in
preparing for this play.
And, he said, a lifetime of preparation was
needed for this kind of show.
“This play has been done in the four-man
version in every continent and 30 different coun
tries,” Lasswell said. “I’m the first one who’s
crazy enough to try to do it alone.”
The play will be performed in Room 301 in
tiie Temple building at 1 p.m. Admission is free.
rz z
By Sarah Baker
Senior Reporter
Freedom of speech encompasses more than
just words.
A group of UNL students are out to prove
that today through architecture.
As part of the Artist Diversity Residency
Program, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
brings in artists from other communities to add
a new twist to classes.
This year, the program worked with the
school of architecture, and after a semester of
brainstorming, the final product of the class,
“To Build or not to Speak,” will be presented
today at 11:45 a.m.
Architecture Professor Jennifer Watson,
who is the instructor for the special course, said
this is her second year of being involved with
the project.
“This year the class, which consists of about
nine students, looks at issues of
exclusion and public space,”
Watson said.
ai me conclusion oi me
course, Watson said, the stu
dents in the class put togeth
er a project that demon
strates what they discussed in
Watson described the
final project as “personal
She said the project is
made up of mobile, vertical
boxes that will eventually be joined
together as one large structure on the
UNL campus.
“All of these structures come together
to form a space where people can exercise
the right to speak out. They can be heard
without being violated.”
The event will take place at UNL this
morning and continue throughout the
lunch hour. It will be located just north of
the Lied Center for Performing Arts in the
Watson said much of the discussion in
class focused on freedom of speech, pub
lic space and the process of language.
“Before we decided on what our project was
going to be, we spent time doing readings and
basically just brainstorming,” Watson said.
JeffRaz, an artist in residence who
has worked with the class through
the UNL Artist Diversity
Residency Program, said
ting everyone on
level of communi
was the first step.
“I speak
while the class speaks architecture,” Raz said.
“We had to think alike and find the similarities.”
Raz said the class did both theater and archi
tecture activities when it was working on its
final presentation.
“Hopefully when the structure is finished
and sitting on campus, people will walk by and
write on the walls or just help us push them
together,” he said. ‘Tree speech is all part of the
community, and we want to involve people.
“When Jeff got here, we made those ideas
physical,” Watson said. “The class learned
more about performance and did things
like using their bodies to create spaces.
“The students brought a new aware
ness to Jeff,” she said.
At the end of the presentation, Raz
said, the students will give short per
formances to express the
idea of freedom of
x)x setting.”
said he hopes
i big turnout of
tudents and
faculty at the
W e
want to
explore the
question of
what exactly
is freedom of
speech?” he said. “We
want to do this in an open and
artistic way, because in the end, this is
an art project”
« |x*x-x*>
MattHaney/DN \rs;::"
Mercy Rule’s third release is best yet
Mercy Rule
“The Flat Black Chronicles”
Caulfield Records
Grade: B
Mercy Rule’s bassist, Heidi
Ore, was eight months pregnant
when she wrapped up work on the
“The Flat Black Chronicles.”
Since then, it’s been two years
of fatigue and exhausted
patience - and that’s just with
the music industry.
Perhaps Lincoln’s favorite
local group, comprised of
Ore, her husband Jon Taylor
and drummer Ron Albertson,
Mercy Rule has finally
released its third full album,
“The Flat Black Chronicles,”
four years after it first started
work on it.
The band’s persistence,
which carried them to three record
companies, paid off.
By far the band’s most experi
mental and artistic album to date,
“The Flat Black Chronicles” relays
the story of a maturing band refus
ing to act its age.
Produced by Lou Giordano,
acclaimed for his work with Bob
Mould, “Chronicles” launches the
band out of its signature three
piece sound with the help of 10
additional musicians.
Saxophone, trumpet, accor
dion, piano and even a tambourine
man joined forces with the guitar
and voeal powerhouse to create
Mercy Rule’s most memorable
album to date.
But Mercy Rule still steals the
show. Ore always has been able to
out-sing whatever opposes her
onstage, but her husband/guitarist
and drummer never stop trying.
Unfortunately, this zeal leaves you
wondering why they even invited
Several of
the tracks
. ment by
but it only
serves as a
wallpaper for
the bold
strokes of the band.
In typical Mercy Rule style,
Ore plunges deep into sensitive
tales of need, love and companion
ship. But she also tackles new
ground, taking aim at the music
industry that delayed the creating
of the new album.
“KSUK” derides commercial
radio, particularly the laughable
“alternative” scene, and
“Underwhelmed” is a driving plea
for originality and authenticity.
“The Flat Black Chronicles”
continues where 1994’s
“Providence” left off by diversify
ing the group’s power-wall of
sound and clueing listeners in to
the inside of the commercial music
Despite all the fancy trimmings
and extras on this commercially
produced album, the three-piece
core of Mercy Rule still leaves the
deepest impression.
-Bret Schulte
Courtesy Photo
MERCY RULE’S lineup includes (from left to right) Jen
Taylor, Heidi Ore and Ron Albertson.