Meg Clark as Sally Bowles in SAC’s production of “Cabaret”. Photo by Kyle Lowe.
Life is a cabaret and this one is full of Fools. 15 to be exact.
The Selma Arts Center is happy to invite you inside the Kit Kat Klub in pre-WWII Germany. Fools Board Members Ryan Gilmore and Nicole Spate recently reached out to fellow Fools Michael C. Flores (Director/Choreographer) and Meg Clark (Sally Bowles) to ask them a few questions about Cabaret. Here is their interview.
Q: Michael, What first made you feel connected to Cabaret and why did you want to bring it to the stage this season?A: After seeing Cabaret for the first time, 5 years ago, I remember leaving the show, enthralled, and uneasy. This was something I hadn’t experienced with theatre before, and that feeling stayed with me ever since. When I finally felt ready to submit for the season the year before last — I originally intended to submit Cabaret, but instead ended up doing Bring it On. So, when I planned to submit this past season, it seemed fitting to want to finally put on Cabaret, and I feel like I wouldn’t have been as ready as I am now.
Q:What creative liberties have you taken with this production compared to previous productions of Cabaret?
A: Through various clips I’ve seen of the show, I noticed many similarities especially when it came to the costumes, and choreography. So, I knew I wanted to take some liberties on the choreography inspired by editorial fashion posing, dolls, and of course Fosse. I felt as though this also needed to be attributes the Emcee possess as well, and Abigail fit perfectly, not taking too much from Joel Grey, or Alan Cumming, but embodying the alluring, mysterious, ethereal figure I wanted her to portray. I never thought of it as me casting a woman but instead me casting a person that I felt embodied the qualities I wanted my direction to go in. In that same vein, I spent much time delving it the art movement that is, German Expressionism, this really gave me the courage to be unapologetic with the aesthetic of the Kit Kat Klub, and the queerness of the piece, especially since Cabaret has a queer narrative. Being a fan of film, I looked heavily into German Expressionists influence on cinema. Having been a fan of the work of Tim Burton, and Alfred Hitchcock, and seeing the influence in their work, I felt it easier to create a world in which was glamorous, alluring, yet ominous and distorted in a way. This allowed me to heighten the story telling part of the piece by having the moving mirrors on stage, and it feed into the characters most self reflective, and self destructing moments in the show.
Juan Luis Guzman as Herr Schultz and Amy Esten Ryan as Fräulein Schneider in “Cabaret”. Photo by Kyle Lowe.
Q: This production has an option of purchasing on stage seating. What kind of experience do you hope will one have being seated on the stage as opposed to being seated in the risers?
A: The onstage seating is a real fun way to feel a part of the show, you’re right in the middle of the action, and it’s a different perspective of the show that allows the audience to engage fully into the story. Plus free beverages, and being waited on throughout the night by two fabulous waitresses are perks, too.
Q: What do you hope the audience takes away after leaving this production of Cabaret?
A: In today’s society, I feel we are content with reposting, sharing, and hash tagging, but is that enough? I have been guilty of it, and can certainly do better, in trying to fight what I believe in. This show has allowed me to become more self reflective, and aware. I hope audiences do the same. We can all find a common thread in humanity. I hope people see the show as a reminder to take action before it becomes too late.
Meg Clark and Adam Chavez in “Cabaret”. Photo by Kyle Lowe.
Q: Meg, How did you prepare for the role of Sally Bowles?
A. I was honestly pretty intimidated at the thought of playing Sally. I did a lot of research on the legacy of the character, through the different stage versions and, of course, the 1972 movie. I also did some journaling about Sally/as Sally to explore her psyche and background a bit deeper. Michael C. Flores facilitated some really fascinating conversations between me and Adam Chavez, who plays Cliff, about our characters and their relationship to one another.
Q: Have you personally connected with Sally? If so, how?
A. I have definitely connected with Sally’s fear of being hurt and can understand where her self-preservation tactics are coming from, even if she handles those situations differently than I might.
Other Fools in the production include Adam Chavez (Clifford Bradshaw), Amy Esten Ryan (Fräulein Schneider/ Dialect Coach), Juan Luis Guzman (Herr Shultz), Casey Ballard (Fräulein Kost) , Joshua Plowman (Ernst Ludwig) , Kindle Lynn Cowger (Rosie), Nia Luchau (Lulu), Aaron Pierce (Max), Dominic Grijalva (Graphic Design/Marketing/Additional Scenic Dressing), Kyle Lowe (Production Video/Photo), Damen Pardo (Costume Designer/Costume Construction), Mindy Ramos (Vocal Director/Sound Designer), and Dakota Simpson (Sound Designer).
Cabaret continues it’s run through Saturday Nov. 23 at Selma Arts Center. Tickets range from $17- $30. Cabaret is rated R. For more information, visit their website or follow them on social media.
We want to do a better job highlighting the great work our members do out in the community, even when they're not singing or acting or foolin' around with us. As such, we're starting a blog series called "Fools In:" that features commentary, behind the scenes photos, and other inside information, delivered to you straight from Fools participating in upcoming local productions and events.
We're so excited to kick off this series with Wait Until Dark at Selma Arts Center! The show is a slowly-unfolding mystery centered around the life of Suzy, a blind housewife, who must outwit thugs who come to her apartment in search of a very special (spoiler alert: drug-filled) doll her husband unwittingly transported across the boarder from Canada into their home in Greenwich Village, NY.
Longtime Fool, Juan Luis Guzmán, directs the piece. He says, "Aside from all the thrills and chills in this production, I think it is also a story that speaks to the strength of a character who must learn to trust in herself at all costs. There are themes of love and friendship in this story, of redemption and empowerment. Themes that teach us these qualities can often light the way for us even in the darkest of situations."
One of our favorite Fools, and cheerleaders-for-the-Fools, and general supporter-of-all-things-and-people-in-the-local-theatre-scene, Cyndle Cee serves as stage manager for the production. "I can't remember the last time I saw a show that scared me," she says. "Rehearsing the finale in the weeks leading up to opening always had me tense up even though I knew how it would end. The commitment the actors have blows me away every night and I am immensely proud of them and all the work they've put in to this show. I cannot wait for audiences to experience that as well."
Coming up soon: The Government Inspector at Hypo-Theatricals, which opens May 23rd and involves Fools Dakota Simpson, Randy Kohlruss, Justin Ray, and Damen Pardo!
All Brooke Aiello Cabaret Cal Arts Cyndle Cee Dakota Simpson Damen Pardo Fools In Good Company Players Government Inspector Heather Parish HypoTheatricals Joel Abels Juan Luis Guzman Justin Ray La Cage Aux Folles Meg Clark Michael C. Flores My Cousin Rachel Randy Kohlruss Rodolfo Robles Cruz Second Space Selma Arts Center Severance Sinnta StageWorks Fresno Terry Lewis Thomas Nance Wait Until Dark