Get intimate with actors |

Get intimate with actors

Cabaret offers a window into the performers' personalities

A typical evening in New York City in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s would entail going to the theater and then going out to dinner – and then going to see Cabaret at 2 a.m.

“It was a very different world,” Cabaret faculty member Barry Kleinbort said. “There was something secretive about all these people getting together to make this happen, and people like the freedom of being able to say whatever they want (in the performances).”

Cabaret originated in Europe in the 1870s as a performance free for all, and has progressively become more refined during the past 100 years.

“It started in the bistros in Paris and the clubs in Germany and has always had a Bohemian flair,” workshop coordinator Mark Fifer said. “People prefer it to theater because it is more intimate and definitely more personal.”

The actors break the fourth wall by addressing the audience and offering them a window into the personality of the entertainers.

“Everyone brings a unique set of skills to perform and it’s really about establishing a link and a relationship with the audience,” Fifer said. “Cabaret is a combination of all aspects of performance and story-telling.”

Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp held auditions for its weeklong Art of Cabaret professional workshop in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. The 12 adult who were accepted as students have worked on their technique all week and will test their vulnerability and skills Saturday night.

“We are interested in the process this week, and the product is what you will see this weekend,” Fifer said.

“Friday night you will see very seasoned professionals and faculty, and Saturday you will see the fruition of the week spent to hone their (participants’) craft.”

The faculty will be just as apprehensive to perform Friday night in front of an audience that will include their students.

“Anybody who teaches this should get on stage and know what it feels like,” Kleinbort said. “But do as I say, not as I do.”

Art of Cabaret faculty member Karen Mason, appreciates the experience as an avenue for personal growth.

“You get to fail and learn and fail and learn, which is beyond invaluable for me,” Mason said. “It helps my energy, and I have a tendency, when I get nervous, to get larger.”

Cabaret concerts set the stage for the emergence of standup comedy, where the performance is a hit or a miss. Both art forms are a forum where people can give their personal perspectives and address the audience directly.

“The whole point of cabaret is intimacy,” Kleinbort said. “And the performance will change according to the audience.”

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