"Thus, emerges the witty, wise, and weirdly into alliteration new Social Media Chair, who will be just like the last one, except funnier: David Novis."
It's here!! The final mainstage!! We did it fam! We're alive! - well, mostly. Our final show, and my final blog post and final show at Rutgers, is bare: A Pop Opera, directed by Kat Beliavski. A show about the struggles of sexual and religious identity, friendship, family, love, and getting through the school play, bare is a show you definitely do NOT want to miss.
Peter and Jason are roommates and they're in loooooove. However, it's pretty hard to be queer in a Catholic boarding school, or so I'd imagine. This show brings us through their efforts to keep things quiet, and then to cover it up, and then to leave it. I am aware that sentence was very vague and not even very well-constructed. Come see the show so you can figure out what I was trying to say!
As in the style of a traditional opera, this show is 99% sung through. With 36 songs in the score, all of which are straight fire btw, the cast and pit show incredible talent and skill throughout the whole production. And no, I'm not just saying that because I'm one of the music directors. :)
This show ranges so many different genres that audience members will have no problem finding at least one song they enjoy. We go from sacred latin text in a traditional SATB setting to some rap to a funky gospel beat in one act alone! Of course, there are gonna be favorites among the cast and staff. Mine is a song called "Are You There?" so don't be surprised if I get more into it during that number than any other number. It's fire, you'll see.
I talked to myself in my head and asked about how the musical process went for this show. "Well," I said, "keeping all the key changes and tempo changes and transitions together was one of the most challenging things about bare. I was very out of my element for a while, but my pit members are so lovely and talented that it was so much easier to work through. On the vocal side of things, this show is extremely demanding of our singers. I think Jonah is onstage for like 85% of the show, if that. Pretty much every number will seem like a showstopper to the audience, until the next one starts and then you're like, 'woah, this one is awesome too!!' These songs will make you laugh, and cringe, and connect with the characters in a way that'll leave some of you in tears. Not me, though. Definitely not me. Please don't look at me."
Lauren Burcheri (Labor studies and employment relations with a concentration on law and the workplace, with a double minor in human resource management and music; Senior) (holy crap) is my awesome Co-MD, and I don't know what I would've done without having another human at my side during all of this. "I feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to work with this cast. Each and every one of them has been extraordinarily dedicated to bringing this show to life and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of humans to close out my collegiate career with."
Some of you are probably thinking, 'Man, here's another musical about being in high school, what makes this any different than the others?" and some of you are currently thinking "how is anna all up in mY MIND RN?" Hold the phone, fam. This show is incredible! It takes the conventional idea of high school love triangles (*vom*) and intertwines it with issues like social identity, religious identity, substance abuse (*spoiler), and having weird dreams. The characters are all so distinct, and they carry you through the plot so smoothly, you don't even see the end coming.
Gabby Talvacchia (History and Political Science, Junior) is such a cool cat that this is her second time doing this show! "It's cool doing a show for the second time because even though I've done the show before, this production has still been a completely new experience. The first time I did bare I was in the ensemble, but my favorite part of doing this show this time around has been being able to explore Ivy's character and see the show through her perspective. I am nothing like Ivy in real life and I was really intimidated by this role at first. But it has been an amazing experience going so far out of my comfort zone."
Jillian Hanna (Theatre and Psychology, Senior) plays one of the more complex characters in the show. "My character is the heavy-set, sarcastic punk/goth chick who kind of feels out of place because of her size. She's got lots of talent but is often overlooked for roles because of the way she looks. This pretty much describes a large portion of my theatrical experiences thus far. I don't want to give too much away, but she also deals with some traumatic stuff that i have been through. I find it a little insane how deeply i connect with this character--having these connections with her has pushed me to be more vulnerable and go even further in my crafting."
Cast members and character roles coincide more than once in this group. Paolo Arceo (Psychology and Theatre, Junior) has apparently been "method acting this role since I came out the womb. Matt and I are the same in the sense that we continuously try so hard to be great but always come second to people who effortlessly are talented. I'm also "good" at everything but still not amazing at anything. Tbh, if it's sad and Matt went through it, i probably did too. Love you, Matt. #mattlivesmatter" This response to my question was so extra, and really not indicative of how he plays this role in the show. Come see how Paolo SLAYS in this show, and see why his words are wrong.
Any show comes with good times and speed bumps that we need to get over, and this show was no exception. Nic Noa told me about his high and low during the process. "My favorite part of this process has got to be experiencing the wide range of emotions that Jason feels throughout the show. He makes some very bold and questionable choices throughout the course of the show, and finding reasons to justify why he's making these choices has helped me understand Jason much better as a person."
And as for his biggest challenge? "Getting used to the space of Cabaret Theatre. My high school was brand new with an auditorium that held 800 and the stage was pretty far from the audience. I performed on that stage for 4 years and Cabaret is the polar opposite. What I'm learning to love about Cabaret is that it's so intimate- the audience is so close that they can literally reach out and touch the actors. The intimacy of Cabaret has required me to adjust myself as an actor since the audience can see everything that happens on stage."
Amy Cruz (English, Freshman) plays Peter's Mom, and seems to have had a great time! "My favorite part of being in the show has been really getting to know the awesome people at Cabaret. I've grown close to the cast and staff, and because of them I absolutely cannot wait to continue to be a part of Rutgers student theater!"
Kat Beliavski (Theatre Arts, Senior) talks about her fav part too - "I guess the most rewarding part of directing this production is seeing everyone finding their moments in the show. Every day, someone tries something new and it just works. The ensemble and featured roles don't get lost in this musical like they tend to in others. The cast is an absolute joy to watch and I think everyone that comes to see the show won't be able to take their eyes off Katie Siegel being deliciously awful as Diane."
She also went into talking about the prostaff, but I'm not sure she said everything she wanted to say about everyone (peep the last sentence). "This Pro Staff is honestly unbelievable. This is such a massive show and it would be impossible without a group of individuals as dedicated and talented as these humans. David and Lulu are a great team, Alex is our go-to guy for pretty much anything (he was seeing a costume two minutes ago and is currently subbing in for someone on stage since he's the understudy for every character), Lauren came to our first meeting with over 15 pages of notes (not an exaggeration), and Anna's also okay I guess. "
Like the songs, you'll be able to connect with at least one of these characters at some point in the show because honestly, who didn't have issues without finding yourself in high school?
Bare. Bear? No, it's definitely bare. The whole vision for this show is centered around the idea that everyone is left so vulnerable by the end. The set is follows the minimalistic style, with benches serving more than one purpose in the show. The cast wears uniforms. And in this small, black box, the show's aesthetic allows your imagination to be engaged throughout. The lights are really freaking cool, too, just saying, and were the ain reason why our headshots all look the way they do - Paolo and Kat wanted it to look like stained glass.
One of the things I look for when watching a show is what it's trying to tell me. What's the message?
Director Kat Beliavski said, "I think bare has a lot of messages. That's what makes it so great. And it might sound like a cliche, but being your true self is probably one of the most important ones. To be honest with yourself, It's that simple. The lives of all five leads are laid bare by the end of the show for everyone to see and Peter emerges as a beacon of honesty and the one person that is willing to be fully happy with himself just as he is. I really admire his character a lot and hope the audience is able to learn something from his journey. But also bears. The main point is bears."
Yeah, guys, look for the bear cameo in the middle of the show, it really takes the plot for a ride :)
Jillian Hanna wants "people to leave this show questioning their beliefs and intentions in life. I want them to understand that having more of an open mind is something that all of us need to work on--but ESPECIALLY if we have been raised in households that are more closed-minded due to cultural or religious standards. we should all consistently question ourselves and be able to adapt to our ever-changing world."
Gabby thinks that "bare shows us the importance of being true to yourself. Almost everyone at some point in their lives struggles with trying to fit into certain surrounding, whether it be at school, church, or even your own family. A show like bare reminds us that you don't have to go through life trying to be someone you're not, there are always going to be people out there that accept and love you for you."
THIS SHOW IS AMAZING, COME SEE IT UGH
Do the Thing
You've got Barely any time to get your tickets before the opening of the show, so get on it, ya goonz! Tickets are available online as well as in person at Cabaret Theatre - but there are only a limited number being sold at the door, so buy them early!!
Well, that was my last post I guess. Check me out in a few weeks when I blubber on about how much this place means to me and then I say bye to this whole institution or whatever. See you at the show! :)
Do you like dogs? Do you like cookies? What about Christmas? Do you like to laugh? Okay, what about crying? Finally, do you like good theatre? If 3 of your answers were yes, 1 was "um...what?', and the other was "is she trying to be funny again?", then I've got the show for you! The 9th Annual Original Play Festival is back in action and you have THIS WEEKEND ONLY to secure your ticket! Let's talk about it, and look at all my blurry pictures!
Student playwrights! Student directors! Student actors! A student run theatre company! So many students! Rutgers has a lot of those! Come see these amazing artists put on never-before-seen plays in our own little black box theatre.
The way it works is that plays are chosen by the OPF coordinator, students interview to be a director, and then hold auditions for the shows they're assigned. These directors have the unique opportunity to communicate directly with their playwright, and make their work come to life!
Tatianah Demande (Junior, English and Comparative Literature) talked to me about her awesome relationship with the playwright of her show, Com Down. "Fortunately for me, I got the work of someone I’ve known for a while, Julianna Pica, and was familiar with. Pica and I were immediately on the same page. From the beginning she told me, do what you think is best, I wrote it but you’re staging it. There was a level of trust and respect there that I think is really important when you put on someone else’s work. If I ever wanted to change something, I would explain it to her and she either revised or explained to me why a change like that would take away from the piece. There was an open dialogue that allowed the production to be the best that it could be."
A lot of times when I would be in english class or some sort of music rehearsal, the teacher would say, "this is kind of vague, but we can't really ask the writer or composer what they meant because they're dead!" so I'd imagine it's really cool to have have questions for a playwright that is easily accessible and breathing!
As I've said time and time again, Cabaret is attracts some of the most talented people ever. No exaggeration. And this cast is no different - these 5 shows make up a cast that wowed me right from when the lights came up to the bows at the end. With such complex characters, people might wonder what these student actors do to get themselves in character.
Colee Bellmay (Sophomore, History) is an OPF veteran, and gave me a little insight into how she prepares for her role. "I crafted my character around people I know and my relationship with my parents, and also the relationship that my mom had with her mom. Using experiences and conversations that I’ve had with these people has definitely allowed me to connect with and craft my character." Fun fact: her show made me shed a super dramatic single tear. Watch out for her, she's incredible.
Nathan Olmeda plays 2 very different roles in this production, and does a great job at both! "Both roles are very fulfilling in their own way! By playing two roles, I get to expand my range of emotions and feelings in a way that I can't in a normal production."
Watching casts work together as a unit is something I find so special about theatre. This show's got it. Come see it.
First time directors probably had a few things they were worried about on their minds, and I decided to e x p o s e them - just kidding. But they really were all ready to comment on their growth as a director.
Maya Mitterhoff (Sophomore, Music Education) directs Syzygy and does a rockin' job at it. However, she had her doubts going in. "The most challenging part was taking the lead for the first time. I've spent a lot of time working on being a good cast member and performer, but this was totally new to me. Now, it's not so scary. I know it's all about teamwork and flexibility and risk taking. And it's a very exciting thing, that I definitely want to do again."
Tatianah was worried about getting the show to it's final product. "It was weird. Like you already kind of know what you’re doing but at the same time you have no idea and you always question whether you’re making the right choices and if it’s going to come out right. Getting over that fear and always wondering what the playwright will think or if the audience will enjoy it was really hard. I think I got to the point where I just had to ask myself if I like it and was I okay with what I created because at the end of the day it was my work and the efforts I made with others. That was what really helped me get over that fear and gave me a different perspective on what I was doing. And I f-ing love it."
David Novis (Junior, English and Political Science) said, "I actually didn't choose this show. The way the process went, I just applied and had a play assigned to me. It was sort of daunting at first, considering I didn't know right away if I could do the type of show well and was scared I'd screw up somebody's work, but luckily they paired with a scene so good it was hard to mess up." He also thinks he's he's hip with the cool slang in his next answer - "The most challenging part was trying to figure out how to hit those hard emotional beats right (and also teaching Benji how to play solitaire)." (***spoiler alert!) (I think it's too late for it) (my b) Come find out what he means with his fancy youth lingo!
Cabaret is a place for opportunity. These directors and actors spent the last several weeks working together and growing together as artists. I talked to a bunch about what they got out of the OPF experience.
"My favorite part of this experience is the people I got to work with," says Tatianah. "You get support for every side of it. Someone was always there when I had a question or needed help whether it was lights or costumes or even just coming with me to Target. Working with people in the same boat as me as first time directors, and sharing those experiences really helped. Elizabeth, Jill, and Ajit were a wonderful support system. And words can’t even describe how awesome Emily and Thomas were. You go into auditions hoping for the best and the you hope you made the right choice. I got them and they pushed me to be better. This was my first time directing and they were already such talented actors. We made a great team. We all did.
There's no way people won't believe we've got great people in this show, because that's all anyone could talk about!
"My favorite part of being in OPF is being surrounded by people who put their all into the work they’ve done to help OPF become a memorable production for the people involved and for the audience," raved Colee. "Just by witnessing all of the hard work that everyone’s done for the production, I get inspired to do the best that I can to help make OPF a success and a wonderful experience."
But of course, these people are here to perform, and Maya's favorite part was putting all the pieces together. "My favorite part has definitely been being able to watch it come together during tech. These plays are all so great and watching them for the first time was a wonderful, magical thing. I'm so proud of the other directors and actors, in addition to my own actors of course. Storytelling is definitely something everyone in OPF deeply cares for, and I must say we do a damn good job at it."
Are you convinced yet? Please say yes omg
Come see these amazing Rutgers students put on a show in our little black box theatre on the street corner. This is the only weekend to do it! See you there :)
Hello theatre friends, and welcome to yet another episode of Anna Tries to Take Decent Pictures and Write Funny Words on the Internet! I'm your host, Anna, and today I'll be talking about Cabaret Theatre's third mainstage, You Got Older.
Directed by Shayna Carney, this show goes through the life and times of Mae, whose life and times are actually kind of a hot mess. And it gets even worse when her dad gets sick and she has to move back home after being dumped and fired by the same guy. Talk about a bad day, wow. You Got Older walks us through her life, as she falls back into the youthful routine of her adolescence, her fantasies about a burly Canadian cowboy, and dealing with the rest of her siblings as they await her father's treatment.
Not gonna lie, this is a weird show. I like to consider myself to be a weird person, but this show really threw me for a loop, which is the first time this has happened in like...ever. But that's a good thing! Congrats, guys. You beat me. I found myself squirming, and cringing, and laughing, and dropping my jaw, and on the verge of tears multiple times throughout the whole show - and that's freaking awesome. That's theatre.
The cast has an incredible dynamic. Comprised of 7 fantastic actors and actresses, You Got Older presents an extremely relatable story - even if you aren't a person who fantasizes about Canadian cowboys. Krystina Matos (Junior, Majors in Psychology and Women's and Gender Studies, Minors in Sexuality and Statistics) leads the show as Mae, and told me a little about how the cast works with each other. "The cast dynamic is so funny to me. There is never a moment in the show where the whole cast is on stage, and there were very few rehearsals where we all were there before we started running the whole show. Yet, we still have this closeness and this constant need to be talking to each other and checking on each other. It's so easy to have that when there are so few people involved, except Andrew can't seem to remember our names for some reason..."
From watching the show twice, I couldn't even tell that they didn't rehearse all that much as a full cast. The way they work off of each other is so natural you can't detect it. Celine Dirkes (Junior, Theatre and English) went into how she uses the cast to craft her character. "To connect with my character I connect with other characters! I imagine the circumstances and place the other characters in the position of my siblings or father and then focus on reacting truthfully to what they give me in the moment. "
At the same time that they were falling into place with their cast members, some of them found themselves in their own characters. Krystina said, "The most challenging part about my role is doing it justice. Mae is such a full, well-rounded, real character, and this play surrounds and centers on her. Because the play is so intimate, it's hard to remember sometimes that I'm on stage because you're enveloped by the person across from you. Mae and I are similar in so many ways. We're both very bold women with no filter on our conversations. There were so many times during the rehearsal process when I'd laugh at myself saying a line because it's exactly something I would say - ridiculously out of nowhere yet thought-provoking, thinking-out-loud. But mostly ridiculous."
Mario Gambino (Senior, Communication) plays Dad, and finds that he can see himself and his grandfather in his role. "The general jokeyness of dad is something that I think he shares with me. He's never too serious. Even in this dark time he's able to be lighthearted, but he has his limits and you kind of see him break down at the end. In terms of differences, I think Dad is probably a lot more patient than me. I mean it takes him almost until the end of the play to even lose his cool a little bit. I would have been a lot less patient with Mae giving me the cold shoulder so often. The connection I share with him is more external than internal. I based him a lot off my grandfather who's just a very kind hearted man who went through similar medical issues a few years ago and it was just inspiring how he handled it. So, I kind of think of it as trying to do him proud. You know, having the honor to basically live as him for a night is really special and that makes the connection I have with my character all the more important and meaningful."
The show is funny, this show is dark, this show is uncomfortable, this show makes you hungry for food and other things (lol). I left the dress rehearsal with a bunch of different ideas as to what they wanted me to focus on, but I asked the cast their opinions.
Katie Siegel (Journalism and Media Studies) plays Jenny and talks about what it means to be family. "I think there are numerous messages that can be taken from the show depending on the individual and their own experiences, so I’ll just say the main one that speaks to me. The part of the show that I’m involved in is very family-centered, and as corny and basic as it sounds, I think one of the simpler messages of the show is the importance of family. While in this show the family is related by blood, I think the definition of family can be expanded to include the people who are there for you when you need them the most."
Mario doesn't think there is one: "I think there is no grand message. I think this show is vey impressionistic and the message really depends on what an audience member sees. There's definitely a lot here and I personally see it as a piece heavily involved with empathy and maturity. But, I think it heavily depends on what an audience brings in to it and I really credit the writing and directing to be able to do that so delicately and without making it feel lightweight."
Director Shayna Carney didn't originally have this version of the show in mind before auditions happened. The most rewarding part of this process was getting to see these particular actors bring this show to life. We went into auditions with a completely different view of how this show was going to go, but everything changed when* we got our actors. They bring such a new and creative life to it and it has been amazing watching that unfold.
A big part of this production is that fact that it's real. It's relatable. People watching it will definitely be able to connect with the characters during this show, maybe even a handful of times throughout. "I proposed this show because I love capturing raw moments on stage and making the audience feel like they are a fly-on-the-wall to a family that probably resembles them," says Shayna.
Assistant Director Oren Merhav (Sophomore, Biomedical Engineer) expressed a similar sentiment. "My favoite part of this show is the absolute rawness. There is no part of the characters' lives that is off limits, and everything done on stage is as real as it can get in a performance setting."
So there you have it, folks. You Got Older is the La La Land of Rutgers Theatre right now - you HAVE to see it so you can find out if you like it or not. That's a terrible analogy, but I just wanted to throw in on a completely new social media platform that I was really not a fan of that movie. Anyway, here's ** the link to tickets. Don't miss out!
"People should come see You Got Older because it is the perfect intersection of the banal and unconventional. There's a familiarity about the story that you feel comfortable in, yet there's always this underlining discomfort, whether it be visually uncomfortable, physical, intimate, or just plain awkwardness. There are so many levels to Mae's life that become clear through the characters around her, and every single moment, no matter how simple it may seem on the surface, is an important glimpse into who she is." - Krystina Matos, Mae
* [the fire nation attacked] [don't tell me you didn't think of this because then you'd be a liar]
THIS SHOW IS FIRE. Was that enough to get you to buy tickets for this weekend? No? Alright, fine, I guess you'll have to read another one of my lovely posts with the blurry pictures and the poor photoshop skills and the terrible jokes. Here we go.
Rutgers Night Live is presenting its 14th show at Cab this weekend! Hosted by Dan Robertson, this hilarious troupe takes the audience through a whirlwind of some of the funniest jokes I've heard since Inauguration Day, or whatever the heck that was on January 20th. Sorry, am I allowed to say that? I don't know but I'm confident you're all interested in this show's content!!!
The show starts off with a sketch about the #reallife struggles of the first class of the semester, which is followed by a highly entertaining monologue by the ever-fantastic Dan Robertson (Theatre BA, Sophomore), who has always wanted to be on SNL - luckily, this show is only 1 letter off! On how he wrote his opening monologue, he said "There's a lot of pressure tackling the art of stand up comedy when you are not in fact a stand up comedian; it's a whole new ball game. A funny idea won't just suffice, you need to write jokes with natural fluency while keeping the audience perspective in mind. This is extremely difficult, but when you find a line that just works it's pretty awesome." Guys, I don't know what he's talking about being "not in fact a stand up comedian" because Jill and I were LITERALLY cracking up in the audience like GUYS THIS IS SO FUNNY UGH
One of the cool things about RNL is that it's so gosh darn different every they put on a show - which is cast member Paige Grecco's (Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, Senior) favorite part about it. Current events are happening literally all the time - that's what makes them current, duh. So these guys have a lot of new and different things to work with each time they sit down to write. Kim Bollard (Theater and Journalism, Senior) talked to me a little about how she prepares for sketches. "I don't really have a plan for writing, I just think of things that I think are funny and then I put them in story format. Some are good, and some are less good, and then I turn in the sketches that I think are worthy of being performed and then we vote on them!"
Mario Gambino (Communication, Senior) mentioned how this year so far hasn't been very pretty. "It's been a rough year, we all need something to laugh about. But most importantly it's a lot easier to get tickets to our show than SNL. I mean you don't even have to wait in line!" I think that's a recurring thing for most of them: It could be worse.
Chris Michael even mentioned the cheeto-skinned hairball by name! "People should come see RNL if they have no plans this weekend and they want to make plans... To laugh! Also this is the first RNL since The Donald became The President, so if you want to see some college kids make slight political commentary this is def your show. RNL 14 is one for the books! We've overcome a lot of obstacles to be here. Such as not knowing our lines, not having costumes, and not even having sketches! Needless to say we've worked hard to be where we are today."
We've got some real redeeming qualities in this show, one of which is that the cast has a great bond and has had a wonderful experience working together and creating art. Paige said, "The most rewarding part of RNL this semester was being able to cowrite my first sketch with my cast mate Chris. I've never written a sketch before so it was really exciting seeing it come to life."
Let's be real for a hot second though. Since 2017 started, there is SO MUCH material for this troupe to use. like SO MUCH. and RNL uses literally ALL OF IT. I LAUGHED SO HARD YOU GUYS DON'T EVEN UNDERSTAND - please see this show if you like smiling and laughing in real life. No regrets will be made in the watching of this production.