I have to admit — I am not a good multi-tasker, no matter what I tell my mom, or my teachers, or my roommate (who is convinced that I’m not good at anything).
Walking into Maya’s Room, the tiny art gallery in Silliman College, I struggled with my options. Should I take notes on my laptop? How about my notepad? Was that Paul Needham ’11 eating pizza and reserving seats the row ahead of me? Now what was I supposed to focus on?
But just as I pulled out my notepad and tore my eyes away from the buffet table laden with food, a rolling drumbeat announced the start of the show. Within seconds — I told you! — my notepad was on the floor, my eyes were glued to the stage, and I was caught up in the rollicking, witty cabaret that is “Everything at Once.”
The performance is backed by a strong trio of singers — Henry Gottfried ’13, Sarah Rosen ’12, and Mallory Baysek ’11 — but its real value lies in writer Mark Sonnenblick’s ’12 lyrics and their undeniable relevance. In just under fifty-five minutes the cast explores love, anger, the futility of growing up, and the everyday occurrences that make up what sometimes seems like the incredibly trivial days of our lives.
The opening song describes scenarios that Yaliens will be familiar with — the flu, missed sections, job interviews, meetings that you only remember the day after they’ve already happened. The song transitions smoothly to the performers’ concerns about life after graduation and the approaching advent of an adulthood filled with “consequences! Fuck, consequences.” Like the majority of the students in the audience, they feel unprepared for what lies ahead.
“Give me variety,” Rosen chants on the heels of Gottfried’s musings on picket fences and Baysek’s future baby blues.
Everything at Once is successful exactly because it’s the stuff of our nightmares, and what we know is waiting for us the moment we wake up: piles of homework, interviews we’re unprepared for, the terrible uncertainty of loving and being loved.
The show becomes striking as a result of its familiarity, and hilarious because of its simplicity and cynicism; an unexpected outcome, to be sure, since there is no dialogue. Their stories are told entirely through song.
Baysek solos about her desires to get out of her hometown of Kansas — to the town the very next train station over.
“I just want to find someone that doesn’t have the family nose!” she complains to the laughing audience. With her earnest, believable delivery (a talent shared by her fellow singers) Baysek had the audience nearly crying in her attempts to explain how desperately she wanted to see some different scenery for once; like fields that blew east in the wind instead of north.
Ultimately, I left the show feeling as if I’d been teased. As if there was more to the stories I hadn’t had the chance to hear. Seriously: Sonnenblick should think about turning the cabaret into an original musical.