MONTROSE VOICE / FRIDAY, DECEMBER M
NEW YORK (AP)-Reinaldo
Arenas, a novelist who spent
several years in prison in
Castro's Cuba and was suffering
Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol' at the Alley
who had been
id Sgt. Ed
Dec. 7. by a nurs
taking care Of hit
Burns, a police spokesperson.
Burns said there were no
obvious wounds on the body and
that the medical examiner would
determine the precise cause of
death, but that police had
speculated he had overdosed.
He said Arenas left a note but
he did not know what was in it.
Arenas was born in the rural
Oriente province Of Cuba. He
joined the revolution of Fidel
Castro as a teen-ager and
worked as a researcher in the
Jose Marti National Library from
1963 to 1968.
His first novel "Singing From
the Well" won the Prix Medici in
France for the best foreign novel
Arenas said he was branded a
social misfit for his
homosexuality. He spent time in
a labor eamp. cutting sugar
cane, and was imprisoned from
1974 to 1976 after he was
accused of being a
protest at St.
NEW YORK (AP}—Hundreds of
demonstrators opposed to the
Roman Catholic Church's stand
on abortion and AIDS education
protested outside St. Patrick's
Cathedral, but obeyed a court
order not lo disrupt Mass.
The Dec. 9 rowdy but peaceful
demonstration came a year after
the pandemonium in which 113
activists were arrested.
On Dec. 10, 1989. about 4500
protesters gathered to dispute
the church's teachings. Forty-
three were arrested for chanting,
lying down and chaining
themselves to pews during the
service. Seventy more were
Review by SKIP FELKNER
The Montrose Voice
Charles Dickens' timeless Christ
mas classic. "A Christmas Carol—A
Ghost story of Christmas" has been
wonderfully adapted for the Alley
Theatre's Large Stage by Michael
Wilson, the Alley's new associa tedi-
rector. Wilson, ably assisted by his
design staff, Jay Michael Jagim,
sets; Howell Binkley. lighting; Joe
Pino, sound; Jeni Breen, choreography, and most enjoyably, John
Dickson, music director/composer,
has achieved his goal of reinforcing
the ghost story theme of this holiday classic "With the intent not to
scare, but rather to lure the audience into the extraordinary mystery
and supernatural dimension ofthe
The play opens, as the audience U
still settling in, with Ebenezer
Scrooge sitting at his desk—apparently all night, going over "eums
and figures" at home. He tires and
doies for a few moments, obviously
having some kind of bad dream.
Ghostly figures rise from the covered furniture and boxes that are sitting around the room, overlooked by
a sinister portrait of a sinister-look
ing man. The man in the portrait, we
learn, is Marley, Scrooge's partner.
The ghostly figures dance around
the room and Scrooge, flinging papers from his desk. Scrooge starts,
looks around, settles again and doz-
Enter Mrs. Dilber, Scrooge's
housekeeper, with his breakfast of
barley broth. She putters around the
room, picking up the scattered papers, then awakens Scrooge by softly calling his name, then loudly announcing, "Your barley'* He jumps
awake, echoing his housekeeper
with "Marley, Marley!"
Thus the story is set: the well-
known story of a life wasted on greed
and miserliness, of Scrooge's uncaring attitude toward those who
cross his path, and ofthe changes he
goes through after four ghostly vis-
Fezzi wig/ Laundress), Noble
Shropshire (Undertaker! and lastly,
Gerald Hiken (Scrooge).
Allore, Black and Kite pa trick's
characters are essential to this production. Their "contemporary"
parts are symbolic of their spiritual
parts, and each played them well.
Allore's hurried mannerisms and
cockney accent helped us to imagine a hustle-bustle future, with London's working class folk bearing the
brunt ofthe burden to produce more,
produce quicker, produce everything. Although he has no speaking
part as the Spirit of Christmas Future he had to know the dimly lit
The Spirit of Christmas Past (Bettye Fitzpatrick/ and Scrooge (Gerald
Hiken) share a dance in the Alley Theatre's production of "A Christmas C
ol—A Ghost Story of Christmas" directed by Michael Wilson
Jay Michael Jagim's set is spare.
Cloth covered boxes, chairs, tables
and benches provide a bareness that
helps create the look and feel of
Scrooge's miserliness. The town of
London and Scrooge's business are
a series of ramps and catwalks
which are at times awkward in accommodating several actors in the
area. However, their use around the
sides and back of the stage give a
feeling of a large, dark, precarious
and sinister London.
Howell Binkley's lighting works
very well to set the mood of each
scene, whether it be dim, ghostly
shadows or bright reflections of
Christmases past and present.
Joe Pino's sound effects—thunder,
creaking doors, heavy, blowing
winds or rain—leave the viewer feeling a need to sink deeper into the
seat and, perhaps, wrap Mr.
Scrooge's blanket tightly around
Jeni Breen's choreography—especially the wandering, devilish spirits—is wonderfully dramatic and ee
rie. At times one believes these grey,
flowing shapes are actually floating
or flying in mid-air. The dance sequence of Fezziwig's Ball does indeed put one in a festive mood,
John Dickson's Edwardian-esque
music, his country folk dancers and
the lovely English ballad "'Barbara
Allen give the play the needed
boost to send us back to Dickens'
London. Whether it is Dickson's or
Wilson's idea to use "Barbara Allen" as a sort of theme song for
Scrooge's sister Fan, it effectively relates the melancholy life she led and
the sentimental feelings Scrooge
has for his beloved fiance, Belle.
Several principal players as well
as supporting cast merit recogni-
Notably, Jonathan Allore
(Watch works Vendor/Spirit of
Christmas Future), James Black
(Fruit and Cider Vendor/Spirit of
Christmas Present), Bettye
Fitzpatrick (Doll Vendor-Spirit of
Christmas Past), Christiane
McKenna (Mrs. Cratchit/Mrs.
Black's beaming, cherubic face
and jolly laugh heighten the excitement and enjoyment of Christmas
time. His presentation of the Spirit
of Christmas Present allows us to
realize our current happiness, as
well as revealing that there are
those who know nothing of happiness, and those whodon't know how
to attain that bliss.
Fitzpatrick's Doll Vendor's easygoing way and sentimentality remind one of earlier Christmases, in
a less hurried and more peaceful
McKenna is at her beat as Mrs.
Cratchit. One can easily sympathize with her dislike of Scrooge and
the love she holds for her family. Her
Mrs. Fezziwig was of course delightful and jolly, as she should be with a
husband like Mr. Fezziwig (Paul
Noble Shropshire shines as Mrs.
Dilber, Scrooge's housekeeper. The
slapstick comedy lends itself well
here with Mrs, Dilber's contradictory fear and "he'll get his" attitude toward Scrooge. As Jacob Marley,
Shropshire plays the comedy too
much. Supposedly, Marley (in life)
was as stingy but not quite as mean
as Scrooge, Maybe Marley was trying to make up for that? Due to the
comedy element ofthe Marley character, no wonder in this performance
Study: New compound blocks spread in test tube
Scrooge (Hiken) got the Dilber and
Marley characters confused. (Due to
identical pratfalls by Shropshire)?
William Preston, as the Undertaker, has a wonderfully sinister laugh
and voice that surely would make
anyone afraid to die.
Gerald Hiken as Scrooge seemed
to be generally confused, forgetful
and not all there (which at times
worked). Maybe the anticipation of
the three spectral visits had something to do with it? His scenes in the
counting house (preoccupied with
business); with Mrs. Dilber (after
waking the last time), and the final
scenes with Mrs Dilber (he had
horrific nightmares), used these elements very well, but left doubts
about whether they were really part
of the character or the actor.
Hiken did have his moments,
though: his scenes at Scrooge's alma
mater, Fezziwig's ball and especially
with the Spirit of Christmas Present
at nephew Fred's party. He was funny, witty and, due to the "Christmas
cheer;' enjoying himself.
"A Christmas Carol—A Ghost Story of Christmas" also features John
Feltch, Peter Webster, Paul C. Thomas, Alex Allen Morris, Robert
PerkinB, Joshua Pop, Jennifer de
Weese, Gabrielle Turner, Ronald
Sendrock, Matthew Stokes, Lawrence Ruffo, Monique Maley, Emily
York, Gage Tarrant, John Hawkins,
Patrick Ferguson, Lisa McEwen,
Tiffany Hall, Rheva Henry, Greg
Gondek, Devon Jackson, Samuel
Jackson, Cynthia Camacho, Christine Davis, Kara Davis, Demetrius
Coakienos and Andrew Rothschild.
Overall, Michael Wilson and the
Alley Theatre's production of "A
Christmas Carol—A Ghost Story of
Christmas" is a charming, funny eerie tale sure to be a Houston holiday
"Carol" opened Nov. 30 and runs
until Sunday. Dec. 23. Performances
are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30
p.m. and7:30 p.m. Sunday. For ticket
information, call the Alley Theatre
Box Office at 228-8421.
WASHINGTON (AP)-A Connecticut pharmaceutical firm reports that in laboratory experiments a new anti-viral compound
was able to keep the AIDS virua
from reproducing without the toxic effects of drugs now in use.
The compound, called BI-RG-
587, was developed by Boehringer
Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.
of Ridgefield, Conn., and will be
placed into human clinical trials
next year, said Vincent J,
Merluzzi, a company scientist.
In a report published Friday,
Dec. 7, in the journal Science,
Merluzzi said thecompound works
by blocking a key enzyme in the
replication of the humi
deficiency virus, or HIV, which
The enzyme, called reverse
transcriptase, is used by the HIV
virus to turn its genetic material
into a form that can be incorporated into the genetic arrangement of
a human cell. Without the enzyme,
the virus cannot force the cell to
produce more viruses.
Merluzzi said that BI-RG-587
blocks HIV from activating the
enzyme, but appeared in laboratory tests on rodents and monkeys to
have no other effects on healthy-
"There are apparently no effects
on other viruses or on host cell biology" said the researcher. "This
means that it is very specific for
Merluzzi said BI-RG-587 has
such a specific action that it did
not affect a series of other viruses
that were tested against it. These
included monkey and cat viruses
commonly used in laboratory
Nor, said Merluzzi, did the compound block the replication of
HIV2, a form of the AIDS virua
that is most common in Africa.
"We don't know as yet why it
does not affect other viruses," he
said. "We are looking into that
now to try to understand it."
The experimental compound appears in laboratory tests not to
have some of the toxic effects that
have created problems for AZT, or
zidovudine, the only anti-virai
drug now approved for use against
AIDS. Long term use of AZT has
been shown in some patients lead
to damage of the kidneys or liver.
"It is structurally different than
AZT;' said Merluzzi. "We don't expect it will have the same side ef-
Toxicity of BI-RG-587 will be
among the effects tested in clinical
trials that are expected to begin
early in 1991, he said.
In addition to Boehringer
Ingelheim scientists, the study of
BI-RG-587 was also monitored by
R.A. Koup and John L. Sullivan of
the University of Massachusetts
Medical School in Worcester,
Mass. They also will help monitor
the clinical trials.
Science, which reviewed and
published the study, is the journal
of the American Association for
the Advancement of Science.
Here are eight carefully crafted
stories of mystery and suspense
by both well-known authors and
by Michael Nava, ed.
or clip this ad and return with your
check for S10.00 (postpaid) to order.
'Waiting for the Light' one of this year's best comedies
Film reviews by JAVIER TAMEZ
The Montrose Voice
One of the secrets to a good comedy
is the successful combination of an
unlikely set of circumstances to produce a situation which, as a natural
outcome, is inherently funny. It is
exactly this which makes "Waiting
for the Light" one ofthe year'
endearing and irresistible
Set in the early 60's, the story is
centered around Aunt Zena [Shirley
MacLaine), a capricious ex-
Vaudevillian who enjoys nothing
more than using one ofthe tricks of
her trade in a prank. Unfortunately
her shenanigans tend to add chaos
to the already beleaguered life of her
niece, Kay (Teri Garr). Kay is a single mother struggling to raise her
children as she manages to eke out
an existence from her job at the local movie theater. This is made all
the more difficult because her kids,
Emily (Hilary Wolf) and Eddie
(Colin Baumgarten), are always
getting into trouble at school for
pulling practical jokes they picked
up from Zena.
Zena and the kids try to help out
be performing magic shows, but
their performances are outrageous
and gory and don't attract a follow
ing. On top of all this. Kay is involved in a frustrating love affair
with a man who keeps intending to
get a divorce but just hasn't gotten
around to it.
All of this changes when Kay inherits a diner in a small town in rural Washington state. Seeingthis as
a chance to start over, she packs up
her family and heads west to become
the owner and operator of Henry's
As fate would have it, though,
Henry's Grill is run-down and deserted. Kay and Zena realize the potential, however, and with a little elbow grease get the place down to
Emily and Eddie, meanwhile,
have spent time getting m0 know
thelr new surroundings. They discover that next door to the diner is a
ramshackle old house owned by are-
clusive. crotchety old man. Mullins
. (Vincent Schiavelli). Mullins warns
the children to stay away from his
house, and when he catches them
Business is boarru.
(Jack McGee, left)
taking apples from his tree, he
charges at them with a belt. Zena
discovers the welts, and they plot
The conspiring trio decide they'll
make Mullins think he's seen a
ghost, but the plan goes awry, and
instead of a ghost, Mullins is convinced he's seen an angel sent from
the Lord. Already gripped by the
mounting tensions of the Cuban
missile crisis, just about everyone in
the small town gets a bad case of
miracle fever. The media, from Moscow to Havana, picks upon the story
of the vision, and pretty soon business is booming at Henry's Grill
Things take a downward turn, however, when Zena has a stroke and the
children begin to feel guilty for what
they've done. Added to this is the arrival of Slim Slater (Jack McGee), a
disbelieving, muckraking journalist
who has come to town to expose the
It all makes for a delightfully
whimsical story that lightly touches
^J li SWEEPIWC Lj*
mil NATION nf
on human faith and hope and the
willingness of people I o cling to the
idea of a miracle. There are no standout performances, per se. from anyone in the cast, but rather a strong
ensemble showing. The film combines good, solid directing with an
imaginative story and great casting
to result in a movie that's simply
Director Christopher Monger, who
is making his American directorial
debut with this outing, has premiered with an irrepressible style,
'•'Waiting for the Light" is a charmer.
I give it three stars.
We all know from grisly headlines
that a drug-induced hallucination
can be dangerously real for the person hallucinating, as well as those
around him. We're also aware that
during the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army performed tests on soldiers, to
gauge their reaction and behavior
when given certain drugs, without
their knowledge. These two staples
of the thriller—incipient fantasy
and government evil—come together in the strange and convoluted
movie "Jacob's Ladder."
This is a puzzling movie, with
twists and turns that will leave you
baffled and an ending that will
leave you disgruntled. It's all about
Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins), a fairly
ordinary sort of guy who is walking
down the street one day when something strange happens. He starts to
see things. AtfirBt these apparitions
are merely disquieting, but they
quickly degenerate into life-threatening experiences, and Jacob begins to wonder what is reality and
what is illusion. He tries to explain
what's happening to him to his wife,
Jezzie (Elizabeth Pena); although
compassionate initially, she becomes frustrated with the changes
she sees occurring in Jacob.
Determined to find out what's
happening to him, he searches for
an explanation, which leads him to
his physician (who has mysterious
ly disappeared), his chiropractor
and eventually his war buddies.
Each lead, however, proves fruitless. His mental anguish grows
more agonizing, and it is only
through the kind and gentle words
of his chiropractor and confidant
Louis (Danny Aiello) that he finds
the peace he so desperately seeks,
and the audience discovers the answer behind the Biblical metaphor
that serves as the title.
"Jacob's Ladder" has momentsof
extreme tension. These are enhanced by the use of a throbbing
musical score that explodes with
breakaway, lightning scene
changes. But the movie is just too
weird for its own good. Director
Adrian l.yne hasmadesomeincred-
ible films such as the high-powered
"Flashdance," the sexually obsessive "9 1/2 Weeks" and the engag
ing "Fatal Attraction," In this instance, however, he became bogged
down with the idea of his film; that
ia, in trying to convey the sense of
mounting panic in Jacob. While he
did succeed in capturing the glazed
mania of the central character, he
did not generate in me a genuine interest in or concern for Jacob. Rather it evoked a clinical curiosity.
Lyne's directing is. of course, limited by the story, so a good deal of
the blame for this movie must be laid
on writer Bruce Joel Rubin. Without
divulging the ending (which I really
ing this movie to anyone), I can't explain how Rubin papered over the
gaps in the plot or chose to ignore
them completely. Suffice it to say
there aren't any people in the world
who could legitimately take issue
with his speculation on what this
type of situation would actually be
like. As in his previous film this year.
"Ghost," Rubin can let his plot move
freely because he's not constrained
by the limits of the "real" world.
However, unlike "Ghost," this movie
does not have the benefit of a touching story.
"Jacob's Ladder" is an uninteresting look at what this uninteresting
situation might be like for an unin-
tereating individual. Oh, what the
hell, it all turns out to bethemoment
of death experience for Jacob. 1 give
Dept. P-5; 40 Plympton St.
Boston, MA 02118
Somewhere in the
...Andrew is waiting
Andrew, with his lust for life and
his thirst for blood. Andrew
whose quest for love issometimes
hampered by a troubled conscience. Andrew—he's really not
like other vampires, you know.
"Horrifyingly entertaining. Thest
gripping tales arc the Stuff of dream ana
nightmare. Somewhere in Ihe NigJu
marks Ihedebut of a fine writer, a striking
new voice in imaginative fiction," write.
IN THE NIGHT
Stories by Jetf McMahan
check tor SB.50 (postpaic
Dept. P-5; 40 Plympton St.
Boston, MA 02118