Cabaret is a really popular Broadway musical, based on 1951 John Van Druten’s play I Am a Camera. To celebrate Krannert Center’s 50-year partnership with the school of music, school faculty and students bring their talent and expertise to this ironic work, Cabaret? on March 6, Tryon Festival Theatre.
Written By Bingchen Li
Music in the show
The timeline background for Cabaret is from 1929-1930, the time Nazi still not powered German. A young American novelist, Cliff, traveled to German and try to look for something to write. Before he moved to German, the host for Kit Kat Club performed a 'welcome song', which is composed of three languages, French, German, and English. The host said, 'In here, life is beautiful, girls are beautiful, even the orchestra is beautiful… we have no troubles here' leave the trouble outside'' it implied that before world war II, Berlin was still peaceful, and it was an international metropolis that lots of people from other countries come and go. Also, it set a very important background for the Kit Kat Club, it is an indecent but popular cabaret.
Secondly, when the host of Kit Kat Club introduced a signer from the British named Sally Bowles, she performed a really flirtatious song 'don't tell mama' that her Mama thinks she lives in a convent and does not know she actually worked in a night club. Thus, she begged her clients do not tell to her mama what she is doing now. It is racy that, indeed, back to that time, girls in nightclub did not want to tell their family about their indecent job, but they need money to live in such a big city like Berlin. After that, Cliff talked to her on the table telephone and tried to take her home. It is hard to believe that Cliff only arrived at Berlin for 3 hours when he offers this request. What a young novelist with unlimited vitality!
Ironically, at the very end of the show, the host looked around but nothing here, and he still sings that 'welcome song' 'in here, life is beautiful, girls are beautiful, even the orchestra is beautiful…' In my opinion, the host is trying to satirize Nazi that they destroyed the beautiful Berlin. it is a common tactic in a drama that you can hear the same song in different parts having different meanings during the show.
As for the site transition, the stage setup is one of the most perfect parts of this show. The audiences can see that working staff are arranging prompts, but audiences did not feel any interruption. Actually, most of the stage setup is manipulated automatically, so the transition from different scenes is fluency. During the show, there are four main sets, which are Kit Kat Club, the railroad carriage, Cliff’s apartment, and Schultz’s fruit shop. The stage setup changes as the performance move on. You can see that when a clip is done, the light will off and set will change to another one to push the story.
At the very beginning of Act II, Schneider expressed her worries to Schultz after their engagement party. Schultz cleans up his fruit shop alone, and that is a contrast to the “busy” engagement party. Moreover, at the end of the show, light is another important for the audience to better understand the intense environment. A row of lights is suddenly turned on, that the strong light makes the audience hard to open their eyes. The light reveals the abuse and unethical treatment in the concentration camps. You can feel and imagine what cruel treatment they would have.
All in all, Cabret is worth seeing and I highly recommend you watch this performance and walk into that history period before the wartime.