It’s a new school year, which means a new artistic director team at the Yale Cabaret. Continuing with a recent tradition, the new folks are announcing the first three shows of the fall semester whilst they continue to assemble the rest of the season. It’s the 47th year of the Yale Cabaret, which was founded in the early years of Robert Brustein reign as Dean of the Yale School of Drama.
First, gotta say how much I love the new logo, above. So very ‘60s cocktail-napkin. Killer.
Here’s what’s set show-wise:
Sept. 18-20: A script by third-year Yale School of Drama playwriting student Emily Zemba, directed by YSD acting student Ato Blankson-Wood. I know nothing about this show except the following Cabaret-penned description: “Alice’s little sister Liddy takes her own journey through the wonderland of the Little Miss Teacup
Pageant. You might just laugh so hard you’ll lose your flipper!”
Sept. 25-27: Don’t Be Too Surprised, a U.S. premiere of a play by the well-known South Korean actor/writer Geun-Hyung Park, in a new translation by Kee-Yoon Nahm, who graduated from the YSD’s dramaturgy program in 2012 (and who had one of his own plays, Out of the Blue, produced at the Yale Cabaret back then). The Cabaret says it’s about “what we all have in common when it comes tocelebrating life or mourning death. There’s karaoke, there’s a noose, and there’s a drunk daughter-inlaw wreaking havoc on traditional Korean family-politics.” The piece was given a “GPSCY Cab” reading last spring, down the stone path from the Cabaret at Yale’s GPSCY Bar, with a cast of YSD actors whom have since mostly graduated.
Oct. 2-4: The Yale Cabaret is dark.
Oct. 9-11: American Gothic, conceived by Eli Epstein-Deutsch and Nahuel Telleria and directed by Telleria. Epstein-Deutsch and Telleria are both in the dramaturgy program—dramaturgs have been heavily represented at the Cabaret in recent years, including two thirds of last year’s artistic directorship trio. The show is described with an “if you dare!” tagline, promising “A baby. A grandmother. A young man. All potential victims.” A fuller Cabaret press release elucidates thus: American Gothic “uses American short-storytellers Raymond Carver, Flannery O’Connor, and Jorge Luis Borges as the backdrop of a haunting collaboration between Yale School of Drama, School of Art, and School of Music students.
By the time American Gothic surfaces, the other six or so shows in the fall semester will have been decided and announced.
I always feel a bit of a shill, previewing shows that I know nothing about, since they’re world premieres and I haven’t even seen scripts or anything. Personally, I’m looking forward to American Gothic because my middle name is Grant, after Grant Wood, who painted the famous painting titled American Gothic. But I’m guessing that this show doesn’t have much to do with Grant Wood.
The overseers of the Yale Cabaret this year are Managing Director Molly Hennighausen (who was memorably great when she held the same title for the Yale Summer Cabaret’s 2013 season) and co-Artistic Directors Hugh Farrell (yet another dramaturg), Tyler Kieffer (a sound design student) and Will Rucker (studying stage management).
On Wednesday, the Yale Daily News ran an interview here with Kelly Kerwin, one of last year’s co-artistic directors. Kerwin discusses the successes of the 2013-14 season. I interviewed Kerwin and the other two on that team, Whitney Dibo and Lauren Dubowski (both of whom graduated this past May), at the beginning of that season. That story is here. I really should call up the new guys and chat with them, huh?
The point, however, is this—the Yale Cabaret gang tends to be at its most glorious when they are encouraging each other to do new works, or at least to elaborately rethink old ones. In recent years, the Cabaret has taken the word “devised” and run with it. The space is an engine for enthusiastic ensemblism, dramatic democracy in action. Always best utilized as a playground for plays that don’t have a place elsewhere on the Yale campus, if the Yale Cabaret 47 team is doing a one-two-three season-opening punch of premieres, then you should be marking your calendar.
Cabaret shows are Thursdays at 8 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays at both 8 & 11 p.m. Doors open 90 minutes before the 8 p.m. shows for dinner, and an hour before the 11 p.m. shows for “small plates, desserts and drinks.” Tickets are $25, but an even better deal is the Flex-pass: six tickets which you can use anytime (though you should always make reservations well in advance, as seating is limited) for $90. http://yalecabaret.org/
Seriously, love the logo: