“One Man, Two Guvnors”: A comedic masterpiece

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The cast of “One Man, Two Guvnors” engaged the audience and each other with their performance. COURTESY OF UW-PARKSIDE

UW-Parkside’s spring comedy had the audience in stitches from start to finish

 

HOLLACE VILLARREALVilla068@rangers.uwp.edu

Even before the show, the cast and crew put on a great performance. With the house lights still up and while people were still finding their seats, the band, led by Ben Briselden with Moises Diaz and Gerson Diaz, performed old tunes from the 60’s (the decade in which the play takes place).

Two cast members sat behind old-fashioned television cameras, “filming” the band’s performance and giving the play a behind-the-scenes feeling. The crew moved set pieces around without ever drawing the curtains, adding to that effect.

The attention to detail was quite stunning. Even the 7-Up bottle one of the TV camera operators was drinking from was vintage. It really felt like you were sitting in the live studio audience of a sitcom.

First act left the audience hungry for more

There was a brief introduction to the convoluted plot, where Pauline (Lauren Stoner) and Alan (Matt Rangel) were to be married, but Pauline’s father (Cody Summers) hadpromised her to a man who was now dead, but he had risen from the dead to claim his bride. The man turned out to be a woman in disguise, the dead man’s sister Rachel (Rayne Kleinofen), who stole her brother’s identity. After all that, the main character Francis Henshall (Alexander Griffin) took the stage.

Motivated primarily by hunger in the first act, Henshall was a sympathetic, yet misguided man who had taken two jobs serving both Rachel and her fiance Stanley (Ryan Zierk), the man who had killed her brother.

Alexander Griffin pulled off a stunning performance, masterfully delivering every joke and witty one-liner. The audience participation, planted or not, was spectacular, and the scene at the restaurant in particular—one of those fun moments where everything seems to be coming to a head, from the bumbling elderly waiter Alfie (Cole Conrad), to Henshall rushing around to appease his governors, to the governor’s coming out (never at the same time, conveniently) to ask where their food was, to Gareth (Skyler Albaugh) the waiter, along with an audience member pulled on stage for a surprisingly long amount of time—was a splashing success.

The second act did not disappoint

With Henshall’s initial motivation solved, he moves on to a new goal: Dolly (Hannah Anderson). Dolly’s performance as a 60’s-brand feminist was awe-inspiring, and her speech about a world she envisioned for the future left the audience in a stunned silence, hanging on her every word.

Pauline and Alan’s plotline had a good message there too. When Pauline was ready to kill herself for love, in front of Alan without him even lifting a finger to stop her, Dolly intervened to tell her he wasn’t worth it, especially if he was about to let her die. Throughout the rest of the play, he had to earn her love back.

In the end, it was Henshall’s lofty goals that did him in. While he was planning on takingDolly on vacation, he gave himself away to his governors and to the rest of the cast; however, in the end all was forgiven and each character got what they truly wanted.

My take on the play

Personally, I thought the play was a stunning success. Of course, Griffin’s performance was amazing, but Robbie Saw (who played Lloyd), Cole Conrad and Hannah Anderson are definitely actors to look out for. Though they had smaller, supporting roles, I found myself enjoying every moment that they were onstage.

The costume and stage design was amazing, everything was almost a caricature of the 1960’s, though that feeling was balanced by the TV-production frame of the story. Misti Bradford (costume design), Kyle Racas (charge artist) and Zach Young (scenic design) did an amazing job, though we’d expect no less from our award winning design crew.  

During scene changes the band from the beginning would play songs, often joined by a member of the cast. Each song was well done and entertaining, but the best was when the three main actresses Hannah Anderson, Lauren Stoner and Rayne Klienofen came out to sing a wonderful song about how to help your man avoid getting caught for murder.

Overall, the play was great. The theater department has pulled off a stunning success as usual. The Ranger News will be sure to check out “Eurydice,” playing later this semester.

 

The City: Where do we go from here?

The CityROSEMARY SCHWEITZER AND RORY LARSON | schwe035@rangers.uwp.edu, larso066@rangers.uwp.edu

“The City” by Lori Nix is an eerily inspiring and thought-provoking art exhibition using models of abandoned and derelict locations. Nix’s art depicts many everyday locations from shopping malls, laundromats, and salons to more unique ones such as a space center and a control room in an unknown context.

Each model is meticulously crafted and seems so lifelike that at a glance one might not even know it is a model. It is the details that make each scene so intriguing and yet so haunting. The photos depict only the manufactured and natural environment with no living subjects anywhere to be found which leaves the viewer wondering, “where did the people go?”

A dark future
This lack of humans is no coincidence and has an express purpose. Nix’s exhibit challenges us to ask ourselves deeper questions about the future of life on Earth and the impact or our presence here. If this were truly the apocalypse, would we not see some sign of bodies, or have they already turned to dust with the passing of time? The images give us some idea of when they may have been taken but are vague enough in setting to leave us guessing. Is it tomorrow or twenty years from now?

Nature seems to be taking these spaces back over, but ever so slowly. In “Library” we can see a tree growing directly from the linoleum tile floor. It has grown tall and is peeking through the roof, giving us a glimpse of a blue sky just beyond the building. In every photograph, we are left to wonder what is beyond the windows in the outdoors, each giving just a small glance of what might be out there after we are long gone.

Another world
The viewer must question not only what is out beyond these partial views of singular rooms but what happened to make it this way. Whether humans have died off or simply up and departed the planet, leaving behind the ghost of the expansive civilization that once thrived there. In another photo entitled “Space Center” space suits of varying size are displayed in the center of a room scattered with futuristic artifacts and covered in moss. The suits and an alien purple sky outside the cracked windows evoke the thought that we may not even be on Earth anymore.

This gives rise, once again, to the question of when these photos were taken. If the photo was indeed taken on another planet, how long could it have taken us to get there? If moss and other plants have grown and taken over the space, how long has it been abandoned?

Above and beyond all else, “The City” tries to convey the message that the universe began in a certain state, and it will always return to that state, no matter how long it takes. This is the nature of the universe, and this is the hopeful note Nix surely wants to leave viewers with.

This Week in History | Murder in Stockholm

RORY LARSON | larso066@rangers.uwp.edu

One of the most influential leaders in European politics in the 1970s-80s was Prime Minister of Sweden, Olof Palme. The Social Democratic Party of Sweden had control when Palme came to power as Prime Minister and was responsible for stabilizing and improving Sweden by creating the most expansive social services in the world. Palme was an advocate of Sweden’s moderate socialism and championed the wellbeing of his country. From challenging South Africa’s Apartheid to trying to resolve the tensions during the Iran-Iraq War, Palme can best be described as a European leader in ethics. Palme’s life was as intriguing as his death was shocking. In what is often likened to a Swedish version of the J.F.K. assassination, Palme’s life was cut short by a murder that to this day, remains unsolved.

The specifics

The morning of Feb. 28, 1986, Olof Palme left for work, dismissing his bodyguards for the day for a bit of privacy. His work day began much like any other with calls and meetings till noon, when he had a single hour to himself before the official government luncheon at one that afternoon. No one knows what Palme did in his hour alone before the luncheon, but he showed up twenty minutes late to the function angry, upset, and refusing to tell anyone what was wrong. Only as the day went on did he seem to calm down.

When Palme went home for the evening, his wife discussed going to go see a movie and maybe even meeting up with their son there, and decided to take the subway to the movie. Witnesses who saw Palme reported that when he got to the station he seemed nervous and moving in an odd manner.

Palme arrived at the cinema with his wife, meeting his son and his son’s girlfriend there. When the movie was finished, Palme decided he and his wife would walk home instead of taking the subway. Though it was late, windy, 19 degrees, over a mile walk, and his wife was tired, the two began to make their journey home.

While Mr. and Mrs. Palme were walking home, a witness recalled seeing a tall and suspicious looking man in a dark coat walking across the street. He observed the man walking up to Palme and his wife before the assailant suddenly grabbed Palme by the shoulder and fired two shots into his back with a handgun. The stranger checked to make sure Palme was dead before running off.

Who killed him?

Police exhaustively searched for Palme’s killer, but to no avail. After two years they took Christer Pettersson to court for the murder, but he was acquitted because they were unable to produce the murder weapon. The police had made supposed errors in procedures during his line up, and there was a lack of a clear motive. There are dozens of conspiracy theories on Palme’s murder but some of the most popular ones include that it was an assassination by a member of the Yugoslavian security service or that perhaps Victor Gunnarson, a Swedish extremist with a dislike for Palme, may have been the one to fire the fateful shots.

Despite the numerous theories many still believe that it was Pettersson who killed Palme. Pettersson was a known criminal with a history of drug and alcohol abuse and had been once incarcerated for manslaughter. It is speculated that Pettersson may have mistook Palme for one of his drug dealers that frequented that particular path home, and that it was all a case of mistaken identity. Unfortunately, Pettersson died in 2004 and the case remains open to this day.

“Sing Street”: When impressing a crush goes too far

p9-shoji-sing-a-20160714Rosemary Schweitzer | schwe035@rangers.uwp.edu

The ‘80s was a strange time. A time of perms and neon clothing, but for our purposes today, we will focus on the really good music: Duran Duran, Michael Jackson, The Police, Bon Jovi, a-ha, Bowie, Queen and Madonna to just barely scratch the surface. “Sing Street”, the 2016 romance/drama film out of Ireland, on the other hand, was not satisfied to just scratch the surface.

The basics

The film centers around a ragtag band of teens attending Synge Street Christian Brothers School in Dublin, led by Conor Lawlor. Conor’s parents are constantly fighting, and when the family falls on hard times, it is Conor’s education that suffers. Plucked from his reputable and expensive school, the fifteen year old was sent to Synge Street, where the strict Brother Baxter and a number of bullies make each school day a nightmare.

We have all been there
Having only made one friend in his first week, Conor’s attention is drawn by a mysterious beauty across the street from his school. So what does our young Lawlor do? He tries to impress her, of course. How does he try to impress her? By asking her to be in a music video for his band, obviously. So he has the girl for his band’s music video, great. Now all he needs is a band!
Sing Street is something of a departure from the other movies in UW-Parkside’s foreign film series with its quick and witty dialog, sardonic characters, and up-beat soundtrack. If Aquarius, Things to Come, or The Salesman were not quite your cup of tea, give this one a try. Sing Street roused audiences with four awards for best original song, two for best use of music in a film, one for best actor in a supporting role, and best overlooked film of the year. Add a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture (musical or comedy) to that and a thirty eight other nominations, it could not be a terrible movie.

Still not convinced? Jeez
Director John Carney explores the relationships between siblings, parents, friends and crushes in this stellar coming of age story. Now, I am not afraid to admit that I am a little sick of coming-of-age stories, with their profound teenagers and overused clichés, but Carney manages to put an original spin on the typical story that is so relatable. We have all wanted to impress our crushes, we have all had fights with our family, we have all wanted to be original, and at some point, we have all wanted to run away and abandon our lives. Sing Street encapsulates this in a one hour and forty five minute morsel that, at the very least, left me craving more. If you missed it at UW-Parkside, check it out on Netflix or your local library because, if you are anything like me, you will not regret it.

Memento Mori – The Art of Death

AUSTIN KRIEGER | krieg004@rangers.uwp.edu  

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COURTESY OF AUSTIN KRIEGER The exhibit, with its array of stunning art, holds a variety of pieces themed on death.

 

Kenosha Public Museum is currently hosting an exhibition dedicated to the reflection and portrayal of death from artists spanning centuries ago to present day.  “Memento Mori-The Art of Death” will hold special exhibits for the collection on Feb. 5, 12, and 9 between the hours of 10a.m. and 5p.m. The exhibit is chance to view dozens of artists from multiple eras and their works surrounding our mortality.

The artist

The Art of Death is a masterpiece collection by Richard Harris, a Queens College graduate in economics with a strong minor in art history. Harris’s first collection, a massive assortment of antique illustrated books, was formed while in Europe, searching for antique prints for his business. Following the sale of his collection of antique books and prints, Harris started to collect more pieces from around the world which ended up being themed in death and mortality.

Harris’s collections

Harris’s collection, The Art of Death, eventually grew to a size of 1500 objects, all related to death and mortality. These pieces were consorted to a smaller group of around 50 pieces to be displayed in venues in the U.S. and around the world. This smaller collection of masterpieces was titled “Memento Mori”, Latin for “Remember Death”.

The Art of Death has toured throughout the continental U.S. and was also present at the Wellcome exhibition in London. Harris’s collection grasps our curiosity with our own mortality and what comes after death through works of art ranging from before Christ to contemporary works. Some of the oldest pieces are skull carvings made from jade originating in China around 2000 BCE.

Exploring death around the world

An overwhelming theme of the exhibit is mankind’s examination of what it means to die and what becomes of our consciousness. These questions are laid out in The Art of Death and expressed through the various mediums used by artists to ask these questions. This includes steel, bronze and silver statues, which are painted or decorated in different ways.

Furthermore, some of the most common mediums are paintings, including oil, pastel, watercolor, etchings, and more; these paintings are placed on a few different platforms from modern canvas to ancient spun silk from 14th century Japan.

Many of the pieces shown in the exhibit come from every corner of the map, including China, Tibet, Germany, France, South Africa, both North and South America and many more. This sheer vastness of the pieces origins shows human interest in our own mortality and afterlife.

This collection truly exemplifies and examines humans‘ desire for answers to some of the most troubling questions. Through art,  people work to communicate and answer the questions of life, death, and what comes after, questions that have perplexed the human mind and will for years to come.