Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on November 10, 1991 · Page 279
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 279

Detroit, Michigan
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 10, 1991
Page 279
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I- WFPTAT MY YT section Q L'iSiDE: BOOXS Garrison Keillor's new bis-city story still has Lake Wobegon charm. Page SQ. Sunday, Nov. 10. 1991 li I J. Lli 1 i r I JJctroit Jfxcc Vvcoo Shirley Eder, Tage 2 Crossword Puzzle, Page 4 Movie Guide, Page 7 Cafl Entertainment: 222-6823 - Susan I1 Stewart . x" V- P t ( ' I From Tara to Idaho: A new day for 'Scarlett' Roger Dans of William Morris said the investment could be recouped in several ways. ... He said there was already talk of a sequel to "Scarlett," and perhaps even a "prequel" depicting Scarlett as a young girl. From a news story on CBS's $S-million purchase of the screen rights to "Scarlett, " the "Cone with the Wind" sequel, for which it plans a miniseries. A prequel now we're talking. Scarlett O'Hara has enough unresolved childhood issues for two or three $8-million miniseries. Alcoholic father, domineering religious nut of a mother who leaves her children in the care of an obsessive-compulsive slave. . . . No wonder Scarlett has been acting out through two novels! We see the heroine confronting her past in a moving two-hour opener: "Pain on the Plantation: The Dysfunctional Family of Tara." No, it's not "Gone with the Wind." It's not even "Scarlett." But no bad best-seller ever became a bad blockbuster miniseries without being completely rewritten. We need a new approach. Maybe those prewar audiences were content with such literary devices as fate, choice and destiny; in today's TV market, viewers want a psychological explanation for everything, and an understanding social worker to explain it. We see Scarlett falling asleep dreaming of Tara, and flashing back to a hideous scene of childhood pain. The mother beats her with a crucifix, the father rants drunkenly, the younger sisters cower, and tiny Scarlett stands bravely between them and her abusive parents, thus beginning a lifetime pattern of defiance and emotional repression. Scarlett awakens, joins Al-Anon and meets an understanding social worker (Susan Ruttan? Lindsay Wagner? Morgan Brittany?) who challenges her to break her pattern of self-destructive behavior, starting with her marriage. OK so far? Stay with me. This is where we lose the psychological stuff and return to a few of the current unbending principles of successful TV movies and miniseries. 1. Put Scarlett in jail. Babes behind bars; it's a sure winner. Judith Light, Donna Mills, Cheryl Ladd . . . it's only November, and already three prime-time stars have done time. How does she get there? She shot a Yankee, didn't she? Besides, look at "Gone with the Wind." One of the most memorable scenes was Scarlett meeting Rhett in an Atlanta prison, wearing the dress made from Tara's curtains. This time, ( )A( A( imc )n im yc Vki )ni yc yv inc c iiu V V V - ; ! i ' i 1 i " V - I :.- A -' ' - i ; ; f y J ' h 1S , V !; ' I ' " A'' ' " - t K- .. . ... x .if- WILLIAM DEKAYDetroil Free Press Jennifer White, left, and Deandre Lipscomb rehearse for "Zooman and the Sign," an upcoming production at Cass Technical High School in Detroit. Forget the laughs. Skip the melodrama. At high schools throughout the state, student actors enter A 1 1 V SERIO see 'Scarlett', Page 7Q STAGE "T by Lawrence DeVine Free Press Theater Critic t was not always thus. High school drama used to mean the class play. Kids directed by nice Miss Sycamore would smear white streaks in their hair, one of the nuttier boys would get to wear a dress and they'd put on "Charley's Aunt." Beginning Nov. 19, Detroit's Cass Technical High School will stage a play about a 14-year-old girl who accidentally is shot dead on her own front porch. Lest the parents in the audience be shocked, the teen actors agreed to clean up the language. With wars shown on television and crime touching all levels, high school drama is getting serious. It is not all "Charley's Aunt" and "The Sound of Music" anymore. The play Cass Tech will stage is "Zooman and the Sign," Pulitzer Prize-winner Charles Fuller's drama about the random killing of an inner-city child and a neighborhood that won't get involved. High school auditoriums are filled with more than front-page realism; they also are hosting more sophisticated fare about poetry, music, and myth. At Holland High School, teacher and mentor Kevin Schneider's recent achievements sound like the repertoire of the profes sional Attic Theatre: Jim Leonard's Indiana drama "The Diviners," the Russian-Jewish-styled musical "Strider," the Irish "Spoke-song" and the frenzied Arctic story "Terra Nova." In St. Johns, population 7,400, located 20 miles north of Lansing, the teen thespians pull off heavy stuff like Shaw's "Pygmalion," Euripides "Medea," Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" and Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream-coat" with full cast and an orchestra of 22. The high school actors there are as well-known in their circles around the state as any high school sports team. Director Bob Koger's actors have won nine Class A state championships in the annual Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association competition. Granted, plenty of school actors still are doing "Our Town," the all-time favorite from their parents' generation. Thornton Wilder's 1938 classic places first on the list of plays most often produced by high school theaters across America. Tied with it in first place is an even older play, "You Can't Take It with You," Moss Hart's and George S. Kaufman's 1936 farce set in the living room of Grandpa Vanderhof and his cuckoo family. But the emphasis in the most lively theater departments is on the rougher stuff. At Detroit's Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, theater director Denise Darcel Davis last year chose Ntozake Shange's powerful, street-poetic drama "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered SuicideWhen the Rainbow Is Enuf." See HIGH SCHOOL PLAY, Page 6Q here's no question about their sophistication.'' Jon Fitzgerald, executive director of the Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association. (3 " ' i mil- i Vi J Genesis, from left: Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks. Genesis: Free to be secure in a group BY GARY GRAFF Free Press Music Writer 1 ony Banks of Genesis is on the phone from England, talking about his band's new album, plans to tour in the spring and the overall ge-stalt of life within the band. Then there's a quick "uh-oh" and a pause. "Phil's sitting here," Banks says, "and he's giving me that kind of look." Phil is Phil Collins, who, thanks to a slew of solo hits, outside production work (Eric Clapton, Philip Bailey) and acting roles, is Genesis' best-known member. It's late in the evening, and he's giving Banks what Genesis calls "the kind of look you get at the end of the day when everyone is sort of shifting homewards." Clearly, Collins doesn't have to say the word to get his bandmates to jump. . But that shouldn't imply an inequality Tliis threesome savors the creative energy of working together between keyboardist Banks, singer-drummer Collins and guitarist Mike Rutherford. As he yields the phone, it's clear that Banks is being polite; if he wanted to talk some more, he would simply offer his own look in return. "It's been a lot of years for us," Collins, 40, says. "I think we're well beyond the point of having somebody be the leader and telling everybody else to march." That is but one of the things that makes Genesis a unique band, particularly in the highly pressured and competitive main stream of the pop world. Over 25 years, the group has survived its members' solo careers and other extra-band activities, coming back together every few years to make a new album and tour again. "We Can't Dance," which hits record stores Tuesday, is Genesis' 18th album and its seventh since the 1977 departure of guitarist Steve Hackett left Banks, Collins and Rutherford to soldier on as a trio. Considering that rock groups often are by nature insular and insecure, this type of durability and accommodation is nothing short of amazing. The pop landscape is littered with bands torn apart by its members' outside activities (Journey, Foreigner, the Faces) or groups whose members' solo works never have achieved the same level of success (the Rolling Stones, the Who). Genesis, however, continues, even though Collins has become a bigger seller than the band and despite Rutherford's lesser but still see Genesis, Page 6Q 3- a. i li MK MI Mil MKsMK MK MK Mil )f & MR Mil Mil Mil Mil Mil IflfU

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