Make a cabaret (not the musical)
We had a cabaret! No, not the musical, but the cabaret style of performance. If you are wondering what a cabaret is, according to Wikipedia, cabaret is a form of theatrical entertainment featuring music, songs, dances, recitations, or plays. The venue for the performance can be a pub, casino, hotel, restaurant or nightclub with a stage for the shows. The audience, often eating or drinking, generally does not dance but generally sits at tables. Think about Feinstein’s / 54 below.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions in Singapore, we were still not allowed to perform in pubs, which were normally the venue for the last few years before the pandemic. Therefore, our performance took place in a Blackbox in a small performance area measuring 3 by 3 meters. In groups of 3 we had to release a script, 2 original songs, and a selection of songs to cover. It can be anything and we can talk about things that affect us.
Working with 2 of my classmates, Marcus and Marissa, we sat down at our first meeting to share what we like and what we don’t want to show. From there we narrowed down 2 things we enjoyed, Crime and TV / Movies. The second time we met, we changed our focus, I was inspired by a painting that I encountered, so I shared with my teammates the possibility of doing something related to fine art. And that became our main inspiration for our cabaret, to put it in a museum and we become paintings. In this second meeting, we incorporated the whole story and also chose a few paintings to be part of the exhibition. We managed to produce the script in 2 days and selected our songs to be presented in the cabaret. So what is the story about?
These are 3 paintings in a museum, Frida kahlo Self-portrait by Frida kahlo (Frida played by me), Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh (Sunny played by Marcus) and Girl With a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer (Pearly played by Marissa). There was a rumor going around that Mona Lisa had been stolen (Rumor Has It by Adele). The 3 paintings are afraid of being robbed themselves, arguing over who is most valuable (not u it’s me by Bea Miller & 6LACK). They therefore decided to travel to other paintings to seek refuge (Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros).
They go to A Sunday Afternoon on an Island in La Grande Jete by Georges Seurat and Frida was not comfortable because she is the only brunette there (Beyoncé’s Brown Skin Girl, Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, WizKid). They then leave to find another painting and come across a point. Sunny expresses it in the form of “minimalism” and they transform into a satirical scene where everything is art (Everything is Art, Original Composition) with commentaries on theater classes where the actors have to embody a point. They come out of it and realize that the point is actually just a stain.
They move on to Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night where Sunny expressed that he cannot survive in painting without the sun (If I Die Young by The Band Perry). So they leave and go to Liberty Leading The People by Eugène Delacroix where Pearly is uncomfortable with violence (Breathin by Ariana Grande). Finally, they return to their frames, realizing that they might get lost (In case you won’t live forever by Ben platt). Sunny thinks of creating a larger frame when they hug each other in a group hug. So they got down to work and made a bigger frame that they can stay together (Ensemble, original composition), only to find the thief is heading towards the end.
Our 2 new compositions took the longest to achieve. We had to find our own melody and our own chords to adapt it. Fortunately, we only had to find a main score, and the arrangement was made by our musical director, Valérie. Listening to the songs with the band live was an amazing experience. It was our first time playing with a live band and I can never get enough of it.
The rest of the time, we had to stage our performance. We didn’t have a lot of choreography because it didn’t fit the concept but we had a lot of body movements. The hardest part was creating the frames and figuring out the mechanics of combining the frames together and we were successful in using the hook and loop fasteners (aka velcro) to remove one side of the frame and combine two frames together.
All in all, it was an amazing experience to be able to see our creation come to life, and the fact that this was my first time performing with handheld microphones, was a learning journey that I will apply forever. . We ended up having audience members from the faculty which was fun and it was recorded professionally as well. I hope to receive the images soon so that I can share them with my friends and family.