This past weekend I was involved in the Off Broadway Players’ production of Cabaret here in Corner Brook at the Arts and Culture in Corner Brook. We put off two shows after about 6 weeks of hard work leading up to opening night.
Cabaret is a spectacle. There are show-stopping songs, wild sexy dance numbers and some of the highest highs and lowest lows I’ve ever seen in a musical. It’s a big production that requires a daunting amount of work both onstage and off. First I’d like to say congrats to everyone who was involved in making it such a wonderful show.
I don’t have very much experience in theatre. This was the third show I’ve ever been part of, and the first in a couple years. I first went to the auditions thinking that maybe I could get a minor part or perhaps be part of the band, since I had heard that the music in Cabaret is fantastic. They needed accordion and trombone in the orchestra so I figured that would be a good fit for me.
But I ended up getting a fairly significant role, certainly larger than what I had in mind. I don’t have a sweet clue how to act, and the thought of the role of Cliff Bradshaw initially made me really nervous. I have stage experience playing with my band, but those two experiences couldn’t be more different to me. When I’m playing with a band the music acts as a barrier between me and the crowd. There’s no pressure to do anything other than play the songs that people want to hear. Theatre is different, because people are expecting to be immersed in a new world while they are at the show, and the pressure and expectations of that falls on the actors. I couldn’t understand why Steve Perchard, the director, had decided to pick me when I had so little experience compared to a lot of the great actors around town.
I agreed to the role without having read the script. I don’t know the first thing about musicals, so I assumed Cabaret would be some fun light-hearted fare where the guy and the girl get together in the end. It’s not. It gets pretty heavy in the second act. I felt like a fish out of water, and for the first few weeks I genuinely felt that I was not going to be able to live up to the expectations that came along with this role.
But I had committed to do the show, and figured that it was a good way to challenge myself at the very least. It ended up being so much more than that. I’ve gotten to know some truly great people through Cabaret, and forced myself into some situations that I would never have been in otherwise. I’m glad Steve Perchard had faith in me and gave me the chance.
I have had some truly fantastic times doing this show, and I’m so glad I got mixed up in community theatre. I think everyone involved in show would say the same. There are plenty of opportunities to help out in a show like this, and I can say from personal experience that you don’t have to be a pro to get involved and have a good time. There’s plenty of work that happens behind the stage for anyone who would rather help out in other ways. It’s a pretty great feeling of accomplishment when a show like this wraps up, and you share a sense of camaraderie with everyone who took part. There’s room for everyone in community theatre, and I’m so glad I’ve been part of it. After all, in the words of Cabaret’s incomparable Sally Bowles, “What good is sitting alone in your room?”