The Yale Cabaret on Saturday presented “Dragaret: Yale School of Drag,” the third performance in the fifth annual series of drag shows.
This series began on Thursday night with “New Haven Drag,” featuring performers from the New Haven area, and continued with “Drag Cock-Tail Party” on Friday night, featuring Yale School of Drama alumni. Saturday night’s “Yale School of Drag” featured current students at the drama school. One performer, Michael Breslin DRA ’19, is a dramaturgy student who studies drag and gender. He was inspired to explore drag after watching Season 2 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” during his first year of college.
“I created the performance myself and treated it like a theater piece,” Breslin said. “I wrote and choreographed it starting two weeks ago. Drag is supposed to be scrappy, and that’s where the energy came from.”
The transition from the snowy, lamp-lit gothic landscape to Yale Cabaret’s basement creates a surreal experience. In place of the dry, crisp air of libraries and the polished wooden gleam of classrooms, the Cabaret is humid, glittery and filled with neon lights. Instead of white canvas shoes, there were bedazzled golden heels, tiaras and red velvet robes. The diverse crowd of spectators surrounded a mini stage with a red tinsel curtain and a neon green catwalk decorated with an eclectic pattern of scattered bananas. The hum of excitement and clink of ice cubes in plastic cups mingled with Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda.”
As the music faded, two School of Drama students hushed the crowd as they stepped on stage. One of the students, performing under the alias of Georgia O’Queef, spoke first.
“In the highly, highly unlikely need of a twerkmergency, here are the emergency exits,” O’Queef said.
Jiggly Caliente, otherwise known as Bianca Castro, emceed the event. The 36-year-old Casto competed in Season 2 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and introduced the 18 student performers before performing a dance number while clad in a bedazzled, white Adidas tracksuit.
Production manager Samantha Else DRA ’20, claimed that the most difficult aspect of the show was “coordinating the twenty-some odd company members” in the two weeks of rehearsal time given.
Among the of performances, two stood out as especially creative and eye-catching. The first was Breslin’s, in which she performed persona Miss Abby. Breslin delivered a compelling, intricate performance that combined elements of history with modern pop music. The segment began with a skit featuring Abigail Williams and John Proctor, famous figures involved in the Salem Witch Trials, before shifting to a dance number set to Taylor Swift’s “I Did Something Bad.” Breslin performed while dressed in a 17th-century frock and blonde Taylor-esque wig.
The second particularly notable performer was Hazel, who stepped out from the red tinsel curtains apprehensively, causing giggles to spread through the audience. After an energetic and emotional dance number, Hazel ended by showing off stuffed figurines of former President Barack Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders.
The show ended with a group dance number, in which all the performers had a chance on the catwalk and dance around the audience.
“It was great to see all the components come together,” said audience member Erin Tiffany DRA ’18. “It was surreal to see my coworkers get up and showcase themselves.”
The Yale Cabaret’s next show, “MUD” by Marìa Irene Fornés, will take place from February 22– 24.
Candice Wang | firstname.lastname@example.org