Daily News from New York, New York on April 23, 1991 · 31
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Daily News from New York, New York · 31

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New York, New York
Issue Date:
Tuesday, April 23, 1991
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31
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Tuesday, April 23, 1991 DAILY NEWS 31 EXTRA ENTERTAI NMENTC irnlniff-iiffiiiirr Ok h i felfc.t :, DAVID HINCKLEY CRITIC-AT-LARGE Pop culture: Truth very often gets fizzy THE UNTRUTH CURRENTLY CIRCULATING about Tropical Fantasy soda that it contains a drug that sterilizes black males doesn't hold much appeal for Eric Miller. Miller runs Brooklyn Bottling Corp., which makes Tropical Fantasy, and he could be forced out of business if enough people swallow this silly story instead of his product Those who do not drink or sell Tropical Fantasy, however, may find Miller's plight secretly intriguing as well as sympathetic. While there's some evidence the Tropical Fantasy tales are being spread by specific individuals, the reason a rumor like this can take hold at all lies in the whole fascinating tradition of oral folklore. Yup, the very same tradition that brought us the stories of Bubble Yum containing spider eggs and alligators in the sewers and Procter & Gamble channeling its profits to the Devil. We claim we are a society built wholly on reason. We lie. We are fascinated by that which is unscientific and vaguely exotic. This is why tall buildings do not have 13th floors and why we love the idea that people behave strangely under a full moon. It is why we do not unanimously reject the notion that a soda maker would spike his product with a substance that could wipe out his next generation of customers. Now we don't have to flat-out believe these stories. We didn't have to believe there were spider eggs in Bubble Yum. If some of us acknowledged the possibility and others just acknowledged the story, we could remain rational per sons and still brighten up our dull, rational lives with a little intrigue. Contaminated-food tales make up only one branch of oral folklore, but it's a popular one. Few stories got people's attention as quickly as the story "and my friend really saw it" - about the bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken in which one piece turned out to be a fried rat Okay, it wasn't true. It still circu-lated for years. Remember when a friend told you he heard about a Corvette someone was selling for almost nothing? And how it was in perfect condition, except that its last owner died in it and the body wasn't discovered for a year? Remember the one about the lady who was trying on a coat and felt a little sting, then died because there were snakes sewn into the lining? She was probably a relative of the lady in the '50s who discovered a nest of snakes in her beehive hairdo. Not all folklore tales end in death or terror, of course. The one about saving empty cigaret packs because some company will redeem them for a heart-lung machine results in nothing more than well-intended groups being stuck with mountains of empty cigaret packs, because no such company exists. Some tales resemble books and movies. Years before Freddy and Jason, kids were telling about the couple who went parking in the country and heard on the radio that a one-armed inmate had escaped from a nearby psychiatric hospital. The girl told her boyfriend she felt uncomfortable and asked if they could leave. He said there was nothing to worry about, but sure, honey, for you, okay. When they got home they found a hook dangling from the passenger side door. It's actually sort of comforting though not to Eric Miller that in a society saturated with high-tech media, we still pay attention to tales spread by corner conversation. Tales that are dismissed, ridiculed and flat-out disproven by those media. You might say there's a very true lesson in there. DEVILISH? P & G's once-suspicious logo dins of sIs at ffliie F ff si By HOWARD KISSEL Daily News Drama Critic EVE'S DIARY and THE STORY OF THE TIGER. By Dario Fo. With Jane Kaczmarek and Rocco Sisto. Set by George Xenos. Costumes by David C. Woolard. Lighting by Pat Dignan. Directed by Christopher Ashley. At the Perry St. Theater. ?HE ITALIAN WRITER-performer Dario Fo generally calls himself a clown, a word that has more positive association; in Italy than it does here. (Think of how integral clowns are to Fellini's films.) His work has become well-known outside Italy because he has written many pieces for solo performers, a godsend in the economically distressed climate of New York theater. As part of its O Solo Mio Festival, the New York The ater Workshop is pre- REVIEW senting two Fo works, "Eve's Diary" and "The Story of the Tiger." The latter starts as a kind of fable along the lines of "Androcles and the Lion." Set during World War II, when Chiang Kai-shek devoted as much if not more time fighting the Chinese Communists as he did the Japanese, it concerns one of Chiang's opponents who befriends a tiger, which then protects his village. Rocco Sisto delivers this material like a narrator of children's stories, aggrandizing animal sounds and miming the action vividly. Then he has to change gears when we come to the meat of the matter, the political implications of the tale. (Interestingly, this is the source of the Maoist term "paper tigers.") Here Sisto can only project its ironies like a standup comic. It's hard to imagine how even Fo could make the two parts gel. "Eve's Diary," on the other hand, is an unalloyed delight, doubtless because Fo's col-laboratoF here is Mark Twain, who "wrote" diaries y I I 'I if-; EC - a. f 2. . . 5. AS - V V 1 7 - .1 s STAR 'EVE': Jane KaczmareK in Dario Fo's "Eve's Diary" for both the original inhabitants of Eden. Eve's is particularly witty and poetic, if only because of the graciously condescending tone she takes toward her fellow tenant. (As she puts it early on, "Toward this creature I feel greater curiosity than toward any other reptile.") Fo has added some materiala nice line about yaks, for example, which links it to the other piece, and a smirking but funny sexual ending. But the core is Twain at his most lyrical. As Eve, Jane Kaczmarek bounds across the artfully lit stage with a lightness and excitement that persuade us she is seeing the world when it was fresh and young. She projects the wonder of the writing splendidly. Carnegie liails out its nist;ry '4 4rv; A FIRST: Peier nyicn TcnamovsKy By BILL ZAKAR1ASEN Daily News Music Critic Iff" HE CARNEGIE HALL H Centennial Gala will take U place May 5, and today less than two weeks before that commemoration of the opening concert in 1891 the Carnegie Hall Museum, a space devoted to the history of the landmark building, will open its doors. The museum is in a renovated space on the first tier of the hall, and will display constantly changing visiting exhibits as well as a permanent exhibition showing the history of the hall over the past century. The inaugural visiting exhibit (on display till June 30) celebrates the great and beloved musician who actually opened Carnegie Hall the composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, conductor of that legendary first concert May 5, 1891. Entitled "Tchaikovsky at Carnegie Hall: Centennial of an American Journey," the exhibit covers Tchaikovsky's journey to and from America, the various events he took part in and the noted musicians he met and corresponded with. Three organizations from the Soviet Union the Tchaikovsky House Museum at Klin, the Glinka Museum and the Soviet Ministry of Culture have lent Carnegie documents, photos and personal effects, many of which have never been seen outside Tchaikovsky's native land. Of particular interest are some original scores Tchaikovsky conducted here especially the popular First Piano Concerto. On the first page of the manuscript, Tchaikovsky wrote a dedication to Nikolai Rubinstein, but the composer crossed it out after his former teacher pronounced the concerto "unplayable." ..'.? .t s i -' 5i 4."..'iM' i .i K

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