I'm very proud of the Real Dream Cabaret. I feel fortunate to be part of such a creative artistic entity, and the other members (past and present) inspire and amaze me on a regular basis. One of the things I admire most about the group is that, unlike me, they're always willing - eager, even - to take on new challenges. It's rare that the Cabaret plays it safe or falls back on the tried and true. Sure, sometimes we fall flat on our faces, but we succeed just as often, and when we do it's exhilerating. Our latest project is a collaboration with the UB Theatre Department to present... well, it's kind of hard to describe so bear with me. Imagine a large warehouse-ish space, divided in half. One half will feature the 1836 German play Woyzeck, while the other half will feature the 1896 play Ubu Roi. Both sides will be wired with multiple cameras so that actors and audience on both sides will be able to see what the other side is doing, and at several points the actors will interact with their counterparts on the other side of the wall. There will also be video components, interactive "virtual reality" segments, fighting robots (!), and a live score. It sounds crazy and chaotic and yeah, it sort of is, but the two very different plays have a strange resonance that keeps the whole thing from going over the edge. I think it's going to be pretty amazing. It's also an example of how the Real Dream Cabaret takes on a new challenge. We've dabbled with adaptations of other works (The Picture, the Shell of Sense, Seventh Heaven) but I think this is our first time working from a formal script, with lines to memorize and marks to hit and inflections and pronunciations to fuss over. I play four roles, but fortunately none of my characters is particularly talkative, and besides, I actually like the structure of a script and rehearsals. I also like having a director, a new experience for me. It's fascinating and fun to watch these various elements that seem to have no relation come together into a unified (sort of) piece of art. I can't wait to see how it all turns out!
As with any new experience, there have been rough patches. Since the Woyzeck side features real actors, I think some of us on the Ubu side were feeling a little out of our league. I imagined them wondering "who are these losers who can't memorize their lines or modulate their voices?" And maybe they did wonder exactly that. But as rehearsals went on I realized that's the point - everyone contributes in their own unique way, and while nobody from the Cabaret will be nominated for an Artie we'll bring our special brand of magic and everything will be just fine. Or a flaming disaster of historic proportions. Who knows.