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Behind the scenes of "Cabaret"

February 21, 2018

When putting on any production, a lot goes on behind the scenes. For “Cabaret,” GC’s spring musical, there is no exception. Assistant stage managers (ASMs), costume designers, technicians and makeup and hair designers have been busily preparing for the show. 

 

“We were here a week before everybody else came back,” said ASM Callie Langston, a sophomore theater and liberal studies major. 

 

The production, “Cabaret,” is a musical that takes place from 1929 to 1933 in Germany. 

 

“It’s centered around Germany’s economy and the rise of the Nazi party all under a tent called the ‘cabaret,’ which is a very raunchy and sexually-driven show,” Langston said. 

 

“Cabaret” was casted in November, and the first read-through was in December. Boot camp began Jan. 8.

 

During boot camp, the production crew spent a lot of time doing dramaturgy, which is research of the show. Dramaturgy provides context to contribute to an authentic telling.

 

For example, one of the costumes in the musical is a concentration camp outfit that required dramaturgy for accuracy and inspiration. Designers researched what such outfits looked like and what materials were used.

 

“[Cabaret] essentially embodies what Berlin was before the Holocaust and before Hitler took power,” said makeup and hair designer Allie Kangas, a senior theater major.  

 

The ASMs did a lot of dramaturgy on drug usage of cocaine during 1929 to 1933 for the show.

 

“Berlin was the cultural and sexual capital of Europe,” Langston said. “That is where you went to explore your sexuality, to explore drugs, to explore anything you could explore.”

 

ASMs get to rehearsals 30 minutes before the actors’ call time to sweep the stage, set props, set set-pieces and get everything ready. ASMs warm up their voices, do character work and then run through whatever is worked on that day. 

 

“It takes a lot of different types of communication,” said ASM Julia Whitten, a sophomore theater major. 

 

During the performance, ASMs are in charge of calling cues and placing props where needed. 

 

“We have a couple of fight scenes, and we run [through] those every single [rehearsal] because it is a safety precaution,” said ASM Ashleigh Higgs, a junior business management major. “They labeled me as fight captain, so I make sure they have the same choreography and that everyone is a good distance away from their actual face and body parts so nobody is getting hurt.”

 

For designers, there is less backstage work because most of their work is done before the show. Designers go to design runs to make sure the costumes, hair and makeup work with specific dances and scenes. 

 

“So at least on my half, it’s cool to be working on a costume for months and months then being able to go sit in the

 

house and see the costume up on stage,” said assistant costume designer Caleb Barks, a junior theater major. “And you’re like, ‘Oh, I cried over making that, that was a lot.’” 

 

“Cabaret” will be showing in Russell Auditorium Feb. 28 through March 3 at 7:30 p.m. and March 4 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on gcsutickets.com or at the doors.

 

“The thing that I most enjoy about [theater] is the collaborative process,” Kangas said. “All these people are coming together and creating this one giant massive gorgeous thing, and that’s what I love.”

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