Ypsilanti Citizen Community ]]>

Volunteers prepare for Ypsi PRIDE Day
By Mark Tower
May. 13, 2010   ·   7:09 a.m.

Volunteers and W.H. Canon employees plant flowers in Depot Town while Ypsilanti resident Mike Labadie repairs the planter's brick work on Ypsi PRIDE Day last year.

Each year, residents in and around the city of Ypsilanti carry on a tradition started by a group of community members enrolled in a city leadership program, a sort...read more

Bicycles zoom as flowers bloom
By Citizen staff
Apr. 30, 2010   ·   2:11 p.m.

Riders from last year's spring ride come in after a long trip. Bike Ypsi’s 2010 Spring Ride and Festival is from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday at Recreation Park (1015 Congress Street).

The weather has turned, the trees are budding and the flowers are popping out of the ground; time for a cruise through town. But don’t be so quick to hop in the...read more

Sheriff Clayton visits Ypsilanti Township
By Mark Tower
Apr. 29, 2010   ·   12:59 p.m.

Ypsilanti Township resident Kathleen Hanadel takes notes as her and other residents attempt to asses WCSO services Tuesday evening at a community forum held at the township's community center.

About 50 Ypsilanti Township residents gave the Washtenaw County Sheriff Office their input about law enforcement in the community Tuesday evening.

The information...read more

Local photographer raising funds for Ypsi Project exhibit
By Adrienne Ziegler
Apr. 20, 2010   ·   2:20 a.m.

Ypsilanti resident Nicholas Beltsos his grandson Demetrios were photographed by Project Ypsi photographer Erica Hampton during a bike ride she took Monday. A former EMU economics professor, Beltsos and his family moved to Ypsi from Dearborn in 1967.

Ypsilanti has many faces, and Erica Hampton wants to share a few of them with you.

Over the past year, Hampton created the The Ypsi Project, a series of portraits...read more

Savoy taking shape as live music venue
By Dan DuChene
Apr. 17, 2010   ·   2:38 p.m.

Local funk band Third Coast Kings play in Ypsilanti's newest live music venue, Savoy, Friday night.

Ypsilanti's newest concert venue is preparing for its grand opening weekend April 23, more than a month after its soft opening March 13.

Formerly Club Divine,...read more

"Shoulder to the Wheel" offers entertaining look at American experience

Krispy Krunchy Chicken

Review

By David Gomez
Jan. 30, 2010    ·    12:10 p.m.


What is the American experience? What era in American history defines the American experience? How does the American experience look through different perspectives? 

These are the difficult questions that Lyndsay Michalik attempts to answer with her work “Shoulder to the Wheel."

As it says in the program, "Shoulder to the Wheel" is a hard one to pin down. It’s a compilation of writings about the American experience that Michalik has sewn together with her creative needle.

The "American experience" varies widely. It changes from generation to generation, and it adapts to the ever changing sexual roles in our society.

The narrative of the play changes as well. It jumps back and forth between dry and humorous monologues and scenes where the actors let the goofiness of the situation make you chuckle.

The majority of the play is a surreal caricature of American life. The stories are filtered through the eyes of every imaginable type of person you could meet in a trip around town. The insane, homicidal maniac, pizza delivery guy was my favorite.

There were themes present during the play that were revisited several times.

Weblogs were referenced throughout the play and each actor in the play had a monologue they performed into a Webcam set up on a projector screen. Michalik had her actors make fantastic use of the multimedia aspect in these Weblog scenes.

One scene in particular had the actress ranting about the uselessness of war. She told a story to her blog viewers with action figures; as she narrated two actors acted out her words as the action figures in front of the stage. It was a creative use of multimedia in the production, and it helped the audience become part of an elaborate rant on foreign policy.

Another character that came up throughout the play was the blue-collar type.

Two actresses arranged the stage as typical road construction workers several times in the play. The twist in these skits is they are women, and generally you would find men on job sites like that. But America has changed and America’s workforce is made up of women who do traditionally male jobs.

"Shoulder to the Wheel" offers an entertaining look at the American experience. Michalik touches on a diverse array of perspectives in a nonlinear manner. Different eras are detailed and described in no particular order.

The unconventional storytelling and narration are part of the charm of “Shoulder to the Wheel”. I actually found myself beginning to enjoy the shifts in time, place and history.

While "Shoulder to the Wheel" parodies our culture and the experiences that come with it, it also brings with it familiarity. I can picture meeting every character in the town I grew up in. And when it’s all said and done, all we want from a play is to make us feel something. If it’s something strangely familiar with a manic twist, it makes it that much better.

"Shoulder to the Wheel" plays today at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Riverside Arts Center. For details please check the Ypsilanti Citizen Calendar.

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