The much anticipated and celebrated annual Yale School of Drama Drag Show has come and gone, and this week the Cabaret resumes its regular season, with one more show in February, two in March and two in April. That’s five more chances to check out Season 48 ere it’s o’er.
Next up is Cabaret 14: Dutch Masters, a play by actor/author Greg Keller (who has played on the Yale Rep stage, notably in Belleville a few years back). Proposed by second-year YSD actors Leland Fowler and Edmund Donovan (who both did great work in last year’s Cab season in 50:13 and Quartet, respectively), the show will be directed by Luke Harlan, whose thesis show The Skin of Our Teeth pulled out all the stops in the fall, and who was co-artistic of the Summer Cabaret in 2014, not to mention director and elegant co-host of the recent Drag Show. The play presents a seemingly random encounter between two youths on a Bronx subway train, one white, one black. Though there is a connection we’ll become privy to as we go on, the play also references LeRoi Jones’ Dutchman, an earlier—and somewhat dated—play about racial difference (enacted in the Cab’s 46th season). Set in the 1990s, Keller’s play touches on the problems of race, class, privilege, and cultural authority that roil our current politics. And is also funny. February 25-27
Re-discovering obscure Tennessee Williams plays is always interesting. The Summer Cabaret’s gutsy delving into the uneven In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel in 2013 comes to mind; this time its And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens, a play that was never produced in Williams’ lifetime, possibly because its story of an aging transvestite in New Orleans smitten with a young sailor was too candidly queer for the era. The play’s title knowingly references a famous line from Shakespeare’s Richard II and conjures up consciousness of a role one cannot but choose to play. Proposed by first-year director Rory Pelsue—memorable as one of a pair of duetting sisters in this year’s Drag Show—and featuring first-year actor Patrick Madden as Candy, the project impressed the Cab’s artistic directors when Madden showed up to the interview in drag, performing a scene from the show that made co-artistic director Leora Morris weep. Be prepared to be moved. March 3-5
Third-year director Leora Morris—notable for audacious work such as her thesis show Women Beware Women and love holds a lamp in this little room in last year’s Summer Cab—shares duties on Cab #16, co-directing with Jesse Rasmussen, a second-year director. The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant is a film by maverick German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder that began life as a play. With a cast of 6 women, the play concentrates on a fashion designer—Petra—her master/slave relationship with a servant, Marlene, and her love for Karin, a female model. Perhaps recalling Jean Genet’s The Maids a bit (which has been staged more than once at the Cab), the play is filled with the kind of psycho-sexual drama Fassbinder handled masterfully (as with In A Year with Thirteen Moons, directed by Robert Woodruff at Yale Rep in 2013). March 31-April 2
Cab #17 goes out on a limb more than a little, featuring a new idea that will stretch the Cab beyond its usual bounds—both physically and artistically. The Satellite Series Festival will be an effort to recreate something like a “fringe festival” experience, orchestrating performances in three different spaces: the Cabaret at 217 Park Street, the neighboring African-American Cultural Center a few steps across the courtyard, and the Annex, the space around the corner on Park used as a rehearsal space and the scene of tech-based projects. How it works: the Cab hosts its usual dinner service then presents a show that runs roughly half an hour, after which the audience would visit the other sites—possibly given a choice between the two or split into two groups to visit the two other spaces alternately. The impetus is to throw some attention to under-represented groups by staging several different short works, and to give a platform to more design-driven work that rarely gets a public showing. The Cab artistic directors will be curating the festival, and more information about the different acts will be forthcoming. April 7-9
Finally, Cab #18 presents Lake Kelsey, a new musical being written by second-year actor Dylan Frederick—who played “Robin” in Catfight, last season’s take-off on the Batman TV series—and directed by Kevin Hourigan, director of the Allen Ginsberg-inspired theater-piece I’m With You in Rockland, last fall. Consisting of scenes and songs, rather than “a tidy musical,” the piece features musings on today’s adolescents in an imaginary neighborhood in Minneapolis. Co-artistic directors David Bruin and Leora Morris likened the songs to Magnetic Fields and Belle & Sebastian, which is to say low key and introspective. April 21-23
Six more shows in which the Cab 48 team—co-artistic directors David Bruin, Julian Elijah Martinez, Leora Morris and managing director Annie Middleton—continue their season of provocative theater with a finger on the pulse of our times. Make the most of it . . . and see you at the Cab.
217 Park Street