Greystone Theatre presents its final production of the year, Cabaret, a musical based on a book by Christopher Isherwood about love during the Nazi’s rise to power in 1929.
Taking place in Berlin, Germany at the Kit Kat Klub, the musical speaks to the political revolution through characters such as Sally Bowles, who is a young, vivacious British singer with an utterly lost soul.
Sally Bowles is played by Rachelle Block, a fourth-year drama student who sat down with the Sheaf to talk about her role in the production.
“I often refer to playing Sally as a balancing act. Sally constantly seeks validation, love and security. Yet, she masks her true feelings by convincing everyone around her that her life is ‘perfectly marvelous.’ It’s a huge challenge to balance Sally’s vulnerability and false confidence through singing, dancing and acting,” Block said.
Sally’s role reflects the behaviour of those who shy away from the harsh realities of political unrest by distancing themselves through performance.
“The show takes place during the fall of the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Nazi Party, yet Sally keeps her eyes shut to the changes in the world she is living in. It’s difficult, as an actor, to submerge myself into the political unrest and horrors Germany experienced in the early 1930s and play a character who is not concerned and is naive to it all,” Block said.
A unique aspect of the show is its interaction with the audience, which can be seen when the cast dances with audience members. The play was choreographed by Megan Zong and Jackie Block, who hope to make audience members feel as though they are actually in the Kit Kat Klub by breaking the fourth wall.
Block notes that this Greystone Theatre play has challenged those involved in the production by pushing actors beyond their comfort zone.
“Not only were we all asked to be triple-threat performers, but confident triple-threat performers prancing around in their underpants. The cast and crew are really close and supportive, which made a safe environment for everyone to make bold choices with confidence,” Block said.
Director Julia Jamison, a drama professor at the University of Saskatchewan, also played a key role in supporting the actors, helping them achieve their full potential for the performance.
“[Jamison] really helped the cast bring humanity and value to this show. With her direction, we were able to take risks to tell a story people need to hear and hold up a mirror to reflect the realities — both good and bad — of our society,” Block said.
Block encourages U of S students to check out this play, because the story is still relevant to today’s society, as it serves to remind students that they need to speak out on issues surrounding them as active members of their community.
“The decisions governments make impact all citizens. There is a massive irresponsibility in being politically disengaged and thinking that what is happening in the world, no matter where, doesn’t affect you when you are a part of an interdependent society,” Block said.
Photo: Cabaret / Supplied