Merry second day of the holiday season, fam! I hope your lives up to this point have been sufficiently spoopy and full of candy. Now, we can get super revved up for our first mainstage of the year - Boeing Boeing, directed by Kenneth Laboy.
They're flying us back to the 1960s, to Bernard's cozy little apartment in Paris. Bernard, played by Mario Gambino, is quite the charmer, and is super sweet with his lady friends - all three of them. Three's definitely not a crowd for him! These three lovely ladies not only have the same sloppers, but they're all flight attendants who have restricted schedules. Lucky for Bernard though, because with his trusty calendar, his life has enough room for all three of them - and Berthe! Add his old chum, Robert Lambert, and it's an all-out party. All of the pictures I'm adding to this blog post will be very ambiguous, so you're gonna have to show up to Cab to find out how this all plays out.
In my primetime VIP seat during my exclusive tech week viewing, I got to watch just how awesome the cast dynamic is among these 6 actors. In my usual effort not to spoil too much in my posts, I'm gonna tell you guys what the actors say to me off the stage.
Mario Gambino (Communication, Senior) has a sh*t ton of lines, so much so that I asked about it first in my list of questions. "It was horrible. I was in a show with even more lines last year, but this was harder because of how random and all over the place they are. It was just lots of running them over and over again." I mean honestly, if you're trying to juggle 3 women, there's going to be a lot of talking, so kudos to you, Mario.
In regards to Mario's actual character, I'm not his number one fan. Luckily, Mario has spent a lot of time with him and makes him kind of likable with this explanation. "My favorite part of Bernard is that he's got this slimy confidence that is really fun to play. And it's fun to see a guy like that lose all that confidence the second something goes wrong. He's a sweaty beaten down mess by the end, which is a far cry from the guy trying to get his friend to be polygamy buddies with him in the first act. His arc is just so obvious and I think it's really fun to play." Polygamy Bros. Multiple Marriages Men. These are words I never thought would be a thing in my life, yet here we are. Only at Cabaret Theatre, I guess.
Speaking of Polygamy Bros, I talked to Benji, too. Benji Sills (Communication, Senior) plays Robert Lambert, Bernard's childhood friend who just rings his doorbell in Paris, stays for a few days, and ultimately becomes the ultimate polygamy wingman for Bernard, whose life is spiraling out of control. When I asked him about his plethora of lines, his answer was pretty similar to Mario's. "When you make sense of a line and think about why a character says it (and what they're thinking and doing when they do), it helps to make it easier to remember. That as well as lots of repetition and a little bit of prayer." I feel that.
As mentioned before, this show has 3 fantastic women who all want to marry Bernard (for some reason, lmk). Gabriella from Italy (Kim Bollard), Gloria the American (Alexis Dewland), and Gretchen from Germany (Shayna Carney). While all three actresses aren't onstage together for most of the show, they do a great job as the team of women who drive Bernard insane, with a little bit of Robert on the side. We've got accents, we've got fancy air hostess outfits, we've got mouth stuff (that's also intentionally ambiguous - come find out what I mean) - we've got all the makings of that soap opera your grandma used to love!
We've even got an irritable French housekeeper Berthe, played by Madhu Mohanmurali. Although she's not tryna marry Bernard, she's also giving us a great accent, some real fancy outfits, and mouth stuff - if you count her mouthing off to Bernard for his ridiculous lifestyle choices.
All 6 actors play so well off of each other, there's no way you won't find yourself LOLing (laughing out loud, fyi) at these lines. The easiest and most prominent connection to spot is between Bernard and Robert, and Mario gave me some insight on that as well! "I've worked with Benji on every show I've done at Rutgers, weirdly. So, I think you just start developing a dynamic by sheer experience with each other. Benji's just an all around nice guy so that helps with the whole 'being friends in real life which extends to having real chemistry on stage;. I also have a theory that Benji is a sociopath and that's fascinating so I'm trying to stay as close to him as possible, so as to conduct my research." As a person who has done 2 shows with Benji, I am very interested to see his case files...and add to them.
None of this would be possible without the direction of Kenneth Laboy (English and Theatre, Senior), a newcomer to directing mainstages at Cab. Kenneth specifically proposed this show for its strong ensemble feel, as well as its large number of females for a straight play. With strong female and male actors, he's really happy that they all get almost equal stage time.
This show is a comedy. Have I mentioned that? Kenneth did a great job of exploiting the funny sides of his actors, and it really shows onstage. "Making it funny was never something I actively tried to do. I didn't want to tell my actors how to make it funny. I didn't want to presume I knew what people even find funny. So getting that out of my mind and focusing on the characters and their dynamics was definitely the hardest part. Hopefully we managed to not lose that humor completely." Believe me - it is very far from lost. He talked to me more about the pro-staff to cast dynamic, saying "Just talking about me for a second (because of course, this is all about me) I love them. And I am grateful that they put up with me and my scattered-brain antiques."
At this point in my time here as the blog lady, there is no doubt in my mind I've already convinced you to join us this weekend for some hardy laughs. See you there!
Fun Facts! This show is about planes and traveling so I asked the 3 boys about their travel experiences.
Ken: I am from Puerto Rico so I travel there a lot to visit the family. England and Canada have also been memorable touring spots in my life. Most importantly I've been to Paris twice, which is relevant.
Mario:I've been a few places but nothing crazy. I went to England and Italy a few times when I was young because my grandmother and dad are from their, respectively, but I don't really remember nigh about them. I'll say Sicily because there were wild dogs everywhere and that's amazing for a little kid.
Benji: I'm pretty lucky, my parents used to take me on vacations all over when I was a kid. I've been around a good portion of North America and Europe, although I've never been to Wisconsin (where my character is from) and I've never been to France (where the play is set)!
Anna: I've been a bunch of places in Europe, including Paris. I've been up and down the east coast of America, mostly from driving up and down to Disney world. I've also been to California, Tennessee, Michigan and Canada! No Wisonsin, though. If I ever did go, I think it goes without saying I'd need a cheese hat. Those look dope as heck. Nothing compares to Jersey, though :)