With the start of its 48th season next week, the Yale Cabaret will aim to reach a wider audience than in past years, both in terms of audience and performers.
Continuing a trend from its last two seasons, the Cabaret will be co-led by three artistic directors — David Bruin DRA ’16, Julian Elijah Martinez DRA ’16 and Leora Morris DRA ’16 — as well as managing director Annie Middleton DRA ’16. In its quest to be more accessible, the Cabaret has already lowered its ticket prices and encouraged students from disciplines outside of theater to participate in productions. Martinez noted that the leadership is actively working for the Cabaret to be a safe and welcoming space for artists of all backgrounds.
“Part of what we’re interested in is incorporating the widest possible mixture of genre and performance modes that we can,” Bruin said. “The Cabaret is one place that students can experiment with the boundaries of what performance is without academic oversight.”
The Cabaret will open its season on Sept. 17 with the production of “We Are All Here,” a remix of Charles L. Mee’s comedy titled “Wintertime.” Directed by Bruin, who also adapted Mee’s piece with Jiréh Breon Holder DRA ’16, the show will feature a mix of humor, dance and song. Morris said the leadership was drawn to the original play because of Mee’s commitment to character diversity — a theme that is in line with the Cabaret’s mission for this season. Bruin added that on a personal level, his connection to the play was shaped by the recent passing of a friend.
Their roles will vary from production to production, but Bruin, Martinez and Morris are in charge of overseeing the Cabaret’s budget, marketing shows, and providing leadership for individual projects. They also are responsible for selecting the season’s program and enlisting the help of students who specialize in various aspects of production.
Paul Walsh, chair of the Cabaret’s Board of Trustees and professor of dramaturgy and dramatic criticism at the Yale School of Drama, said the beginning of each season is most exciting because the early shows present the first opportunities for the new artistic leadership to convey their vision. He noted that he is particularly excited about the team’s commitment to expanding the stage to students who are not theater specialists.
Kevin Hourigan DRA ’17, whose show “I’m With You In Rockland” will premiere on Oct. 8, noted the level of interdisciplinary collaboration in his production. Inspired by the life of Allen Ginsberg and his poem “Howl,” the show will ruminate on the role and civic responsibility of the artist today. Hourigan noted that the production is unique as it involves students from across the drama, music and art schools.
Hourigan said the production seeks to give artists space to make their discipline performative even when the discipline is traditionally not thought of as such. For example, Hourigan added, a painter could be producing artwork in real time on stage.
Morris added that due to its interdisciplinary nature, she sees “I’m With You in Rockland” as a sort of artistic experiment.
Students interviewed noted that in addition to the first three shows of the season, they were looking forward to the Cabaret’s “Yale School of Drag” show, which takes place in the spring and is now in its fourth year.
Middleton said conversations regarding the show have already begun and that its sponsors and production team have been decided. Artistic Associate Rasean Davonte Johnson DRA ’16 said that as those involved with the first show have now graduated, he expects this year’s show to be a “fresh start” for the artists involved. Johnson noted that on a broader level, he looks forward to the Cabaret productions that will focus on themes of social and political awareness.
The rest of the Cabaret’s fall season will be announced on Sept. 17.