The Yale Cabaret is dark this weekend, but the shows for the rest of the semester—and into early January—have been chosen. The upcoming schedule boasts a daunting mix of plays by challenging playwrights—Sarah Kane, Edward Bond—plays adapted from other sources, such as stories by Raymond Carver, Ray Bradbury, and the popular entertainment Gunsmoke, plays originating with YSD actors leagued with YSD directors, and a movement piece developed by two prominent Cabaret theater managers. Here’s the line-up: Up next week is Cab 4: Beginners by Raymond Carver, or What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, October 17-19. Carver was the preeminent American short story writer of the 1980s, but the play is not simply an enactment of one of his stories; rather, the story “What We Talk About…” is famous as one of the best-known stories by Carver that was in fact heavily edited by Gordon Lish before appearing in print. The play, adapted by 2nd-year YSD playwright Phillip Howze and directed by 2nd-year YSD director Andras Viski, dramatizes the writing process as well as the fraught relationships in the story, with a set design intended to suggest both the reality and unreality of fiction.
After a dark week, Cab 5 brings us Radio Hour, a chance to peek behind the scenes at a lost art: telling stories on a live radio broadcast. With ten performers, the show, adapted by Tyler Kieffer and Steve Brush of the YSD sound department and directed by Paula Bennett, stresses “slick not schtick” in its authentic radio effects dramatization of 1950s staples of radio programming, John Meston's Western Gunsmoke (which would go on to be one of the longest-running TV shows ever), and “Zero Hour” (not to be confused with the Rod Serling radio program from the Seventies), a tale from the fertile pen of sci-fi/thriller-writer Ray Bradbury. Radio Hour will be a fitting show for Halloween weekend—come as a cowboy or an alien. October 31-November 2.
After another dark week, a production of Sarah Kane’s Crave is Cab 6. Directed by 3rd year YSD playwright Hansol Jung, this four-person play explores the voices in the mind of a playwright in the midst of creation. Kane is known for the open-ended, interpretive nature of her plays, in which speakers are often unspecified, leaving much to the creative team to devise. November 14-16.
Cab 7 takes place the week before Thanksgiving—the American holiday that celebrates getting by. Derivatives, conceived by 3rd-year YSD actor Jabari Brisport and directed by 3rd-year YSD director Cole Lewis, is a devised, multimedia theater piece that explores the increasing distance between the Haves and the Have-nots in this land of ours. The disparity in incomes in the U.S. is greater than it’s been since the 1920s. Political, entertaining, with a real sense of problems and the need for solutions, the play is not afraid to ask the big questions. November 21-23.
The week after Thanksgiving, and the last show of the first semester, is Cab 8, a movement piece called Bound to Burn, developed by Rob Chikar and Alyssa Simmons, two Cab regulars who work behind-the-scenes on many shows, as Stage Manager and Theater Manager, respectively, and who share a penchant for dancing. The show investigates the experience of loss, using bodily rather than verbal expression. December 5-7.
The first two shows of the next semester, following the winter holidays, take place in January: Cab 9 features Have I None, a daunting play by British playwright Edward Bond from 2000. Set in 2077, the play darkly imagines a dystopia in which memory, and therefore history, has been erased. Second-year YSD director Jessica Holt will stage the claustrophobic play—in which going out of one’s room is risky business---with a stress on Bond's sense of the absurd. January 16-18.
Cab 10 features 3rd-year YSD actress Elia Monte-Brown’s original play, The Defendant, about the rigors of public school in New York (where Monte-Brown taught before enrolling at Yale); the play aims to recreate some of the anxieties of today’s student, and to question the values of public education in America, using all 1st year actors in the YSD program. January 23-25.
And that’s the line-up, as the Cab continues its mission of exploring the purpose of theater in our community—as entertainment and provocation, as a questioning of and a response to the world we live in. There’s a little something for everyone—the past, the present, the future; the nowhere space of creation; the problems of education and the economy; the bonds of bodily contact; the voices of our inner demons; the voices on the airwaves. See you at the Cab!
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