A rooftop gathering. Post-Wedding threshold shenanigans. 2 office bros talking about their lady colleague. A panicked subway ride. We got some good ish for you guys in Cabaret Theatre's annual event, The 2016 Directors' Showcase!
Cabaret Theatre offers so many opportunities for students to perform and create art, and the Directors' Showcase is one of our biggest events. Four first-time student directors get to pick their show, pick their cast, and put on their very first play in our lovely black box theater, all led by their fearless leader, Directors' Showcase Coordinator and spearhead of the Directolution, Lauren Burcheri!
I'm not tryna spill a bunch of spoilers because I definitely don't wanna clean all that up, so we're gonna dive right into my interviews.
The Wedding Duet by Lauren Wilson
Who doesn't love weddings, though??? I would be lying if I said I wasn't waiting for my late 20s so I could partake in "Wedding Szn"...that's how the kids these days spell, it right?
Anyway, we've got a pair of lovely newly-weds consisting of a beautiful, shoe-less bride and a pajama-less Benji. No, he is definitely not wearing pajamas...I think.
Are you superstitious? For me, I'm only kind of stitious ;) But when it comes to symbols and signs and fate and stuff? Can't get into that on this post, but you can come see The Wedding Duet and hash it all out in your head while you watch these two great actors do their thing! Directed by Cab's very own General Board Representative Celine Dirkes (Theatre and English with Creative Writing Certificate, Junior), this show is a rocky roller coaster of emotions that keeps you on your toes - or not, for some people involved.
While at a summer program, Celine came across this script while using it for a bunch of different exercises. "The format was so simple and so focused I immediately thought 'hmm, that would be a great show for Directors' Showcase' and I guess I just couldn't let it go!"
This piece talks a lot about the age-old tradition of a husband carrying his wife over the threshold, thus launching them into a prosperous and long-lasting marriage. How do you feel about that? Celine says, "I think the need to carry a wife through the threshold is very silly. Like all superstitions, it's a comforting way to believe you have power over something that really isn't affected by that thing at all--ie a healthy marriage and picking someone up. It makes a for a great performative metaphor though!"
Emily Woods (Theatre, Sophomore) gave me her thoughts as well. "I think that symbols are what you want them to be and I am a big fan of making things that aren't a big deal into a big deal. In actuality, I probably don't believe in it. But in my mind, totally. If I get dropped in the threshold, the world will end."
In such a small cast, it's important to be able to connect with your partner onstage. While Benji and Emily are far from strangers to Cabaret, they still needed to get comfortable with each other for this piece. "Other than being friends with each other on Facebook, we didn't know really know each other. But Celine is actually brilliant and super cool and my hero, and she had us do these contact improv exercises, and I feel like sort of going in and out of really committing to that and afterwards being able to say 'Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry, my hands are so dry like a lizard person - just the slow progression to make it where we needed to be for the actual show helped us to build a relationship in and out of character."
What We're Up Against by Theresa Rebeck
Lately, we've heard a lot about "locker room talk" and what that exactly means, but this show brings you Office Space Talk! It's like the locker room, but people almost definitely have clothes on ;)
We've got two of our Cab favs starring in this piece as two office co-workers. Rafael Lozada (THINGS) and Oren Merhav (Biomedical Engineering, Sophomore) discuss how their office handles project proposals from different groups. In a show with such a small cast (two is company!) (I googled that saying to make sure I didn't look dumb. it still looks dumb, plz don't correct me, I already know), each actor is responsible for knowing a poop ton of lines. Oren's character Stu has a bulk of them, and I'm honestly impressed when anyone can memorize things because I barely remember what day it is. "To help me memorize my lines, Katherine made noises or motions for lines that I frequently forgot, and she would do them whenever I forgot them to help me remember. If you ever look to the back of Cabaret and see a dark figure doing weird dances to no music, I probably forgot a line. Katherine is weird."
Who is Katherine, you ask? Why, she's their director! Katherine Freedman (Vocal Performance, Senior) made her Cabaret debut in last year's Original Play Festival, and has joined us once again to direct her very first show. She is also my roommate. We live together. No big deal.
"I like this script because it wasn't so obviously about women since there are no females in it. I also wanted something that would be relevant for our audience. Something that's happening right now is that women don't get paid as much as men, but it's something that is often shrugged off and that the women are exaggerating - it's very frustrating as a woman. I wanted to pick a show that would make people more aware from the other side."
The rehearsal processes for DS shows is usually unconventional because of all the craziness going on inside the space, but Oren seemed to have a great time in my kitchen. "The rehearsal process was really exciting. Instead of being at Cabaret, we did nearly all of our rehearsals at the house of the infamous Filipino Four, or Filipino Three plus Emily if you want to be a stickler. We woke people up from naps, scared passers by, caused a tear or two, and, may have even started a fictional business. If you ever see the words "Initiative: How the System Works" on a t-shirt, you know it started here."
Come see the show that made me realize just how often I go in search of snacky snacks, but ultimately didn't stop me from doing so~*~*~*
Moving Shortly by Sheri Wilner
PLEASE STAND BEHIND THE WHITE LINE WHILE THE BUS IS IN MOTION. Does anyone else get motion sickness on the EE? Is it just me? Dang.
I feel a little better on subway trains, and that's where this play takes place. In a more serious, yet still somehow funny, show, 2 riders are stuck underground while they try to fix a couple kinks. Fear is running rampant among many Americans these days (wow I wonder why because nothing super major happened in this history of our nation, everything is hunky dory and everyone loves each other yay), and Moving Shortly definitely emphasizes this by exposing the thoughts of a white women and a man of color sitting near each other on a subway.
Rafael Lozada (Communications, Second Year) plays a Sikh man on his way home from the grocery store. Having been in multiple productions here, and in 2 pieces in DS, he finds that his favorite part of being here is the grounded intensity. "Both shows feel super real, like you can possibly know these characters; but both demand to reach pretty intense emotional territory."
Director Madhu Murali managed to make me laugh, make me cringe, and make me want to see more without them ever actually saying words on stage. Come find out what I mean by seeing the show for yourself!
Zealot by Julie Marie Myatt
What would you die for? If you stand for nothing, what would you fall for? @Burr
Set on the rooftop of an apartment building, several tenants discuss mortality and the worth of life after the most recent passing of a former tenant. Would they die for what they believe in? Would it be worth it?
Roni Banerjee (Theatre and Cinema Studies, Junior) is joining us in DS for the second time, after spending a lot of time with our friends down at the College Avenue Players. What does he think of Cabaret? "It's a really great environment. Meeting new people, getting a different kind of working environment at the same time. It's very professional and comfortable - I just love everyone here. And David - he's very very passionate, very professional, very serious about his work - as I am, as everyone is. We feed off of each other, and it's amazing."
David Novis (Political Science and Economics, Junior) directs this cast of 4, and has had experience directing films. "I've been getting really into theatre recently, and I wanted to take this great opportunity that Cabaret offers for directing plays. I feel like Cabaret is the place to do it because there's an intimacy with this smaller theatre. Everyone is very willing to collaborate and it's very community oriented here."
Yeah, we're pretty great. nbd.
David talked to me about how the theme, though it's pretty morbid, is what drew him to the script. The show talks about death and goes into each character's values and ideals. "I thought each character represented a different perspective on death - it's pretty interesting to see how they all collide with one another in real time."