With its first show of the semester, the Yale Cabaret will stage a musical filled with love, desire, jealousy and Amy Winehouse songs.
“We Are All Here,” a romantic-comedy adaptation of American playwright and historian Charles Mee’s “Wintertime” by David Bruin DRA ’16 and Jiréh Holder DRA ’16, opens tomorrow night at the Cabaret. The show follows two lovers who plan a romantic vacation by the ocean, but find that two other couples have done the same, which leads to envy, hostility and rage. Bruin, who is also the show’s director, highlighted the number of surprises and plot twists in the production.
“[The show is about] a group of people who all come to the same place hoping that their dreams will come true, and that plot is … side-stepped and exploded in various ways,” Bruin said.
“We Are All Here” begins with an empty stage and a huge white backdrop that Bruin said represents a blank slate. Brontë England-Nelson DRA ’17, who plays the character Ariel, walks into the open space on stage, and the first thing she says is, “I love it here,” an expression that Bruin and England-Nelson said was applicable to their experience at the Yale School of Drama. The new season is beginning with a blank canvas — a fresh start — where actors, writers, stage designers and choreographers all come together to create something meaningful in a space that they all love, England-Nelson explained.
Bruin compared the theme of chaos in the storyline to the atmosphere of the Yale Cabaret itself, noting that this similarity was one of the reasons behind his decisions to adapt “Wintertime” for the Cab.
“It’s a place where a lot of people come together, and all these personalities and aesthetics smash up against each other in really interesting and sometimes chaotic ways,” Bruin said.
Ensemble members interviewed agreed that “We Are All Here” is unique in having many production team members who are working outside of their areas of expertise. Vicki Whooper DRA ’16 is studying to be a stage manager, but she is acting in the production, portraying the character Bertha, a frank and matronly woman.
Holder highlighted the choreographic component of the show, which comes in the form of a sudden dance break that is meant to surprise audiences with its abruptness. Sean Higgins DRA ’16, who plays Frank, described the British artist Amy Winehouse as the “patron saint” of the show, noting that many of her songs will be heard throughout the performance.
The lovers in the show grapple with the challenges of love and with remaining faithful while still having the freedom of individuality, Whooper said.
“It’s about people we love, how we treat them, and all the types of love,” said Chris Ghaffari DRA ’16, who plays a Frenchman named Francois
Bruin echoed this sentiment, adding that the recent passing of a friend makes him feel a personal connection to the show.
“That event really shaped some of my thinking of the play, about the importance of people spending time together, and about the need to find something to say and do together to get through that experience,” Bruin said.
Performances of “We Are All Here” will run through Saturday.