By John Kander, Fred Ebb and Joe Masteroff
Produced: October, 2009
This was my third time around for Cabaret, each with a different director. The director for this production was very conscious of avoiding the traditional approaches and focused very closely on the themes. We did a lot of research on Weimar Germany. As a touchstone we used Josef von Sternberg's gritty black-and-white early noir film The Blue Angel (1930), which starred Marlene Dietrich. I also looked at a lot of early German expressionist art and tried to incoporate some of the distortion.
The production concept differed greatly from the popular film approach that ends in a sad lament of change. The closing theme in this production became an expression of hopelessness and despair as the political and social situation degenerated under growing Nazi power. The costumes went from bright and extravagant to plain and dowdy, the cabaret lost its liveliness, and the lighting lost its color. While it made its point well, the audiences seemed disappointed that it wasn't a hopeful, celebratory ending.
It was a conceptual stretch but to solve the scene change issues, we framed the book scenes as performances in the club.
|All original content © 2009 copyright Arthur L. Dirks|