Committment-Conscious Cabaret

The six editors of The Daily Gazette discuss the nature of Swarthmore's daily publication with Kristof
The six editors of The Daily Gazette discuss the nature of Swarthmore's daily publication with Kristof

Do you want to be in a musical at Swarthmore, but just don’t have the time? Paolo Debuque ’15 and Audrey Edelstein ’15 bring you Cabaret Night: excellent musical theater with a low time commitment.

Life at Swat can be hectic. Between classes, extra-curriculars and trying to have a social life, many Swatties end up finishing readings at two in the morning, substituting an Essie Mae’s bag lunch over a sit-down meal, and starting their Saturday nights at ten P.M. Add 15 hours per week of rehearsal and a 50-hour tech week to this mess, and something’s gotta give.

“We realized being in a musical is a huge time commitment that a lot of people don’t want to take on,” said Debuque. “And I know a lot of people love musical theater but don’t do musicals because it’s ten hours a day on tech week. At the same time there’s this open mike kind of thing, like O.A.S.I.S., that happens on campus every so often, and a night of scenes that happens every semester, so we thought we could merge those two ideas. That was where cabaret night came from.”

Debuque and Edelstein’s vision is an evening of performances from a variety of musicals. They see an ensemble of ten to sixteen members, performing solos, duets or trios. They hope to have an ensemble number or two.

“It will be an intimate setting, like a night club with tables and chairs and refreshments, and actors using the space completely,” Edelstein said.

“Bond has tables, piano, ambiance,” Debuque added. “It’s gonna be awesome. Very classy. Very professional.”

Debuque, who starred in last semester’s “Merrily We Roll Along” and is in Mixed Company, and Edelstein, who has played in the pit and conducted the orchestra for several musicals over the past few years, make a great team. They bounce ideas off of each other and are very excited about this project. Their aim is to facilitate the creation of a space where the singers can make their own decisions; they hope that the group will help each other, and expect the work to be collaborative.

“Just because it’s easier, we’re calling us directors,” said Edelstein, “But we’re more group facilitators. We’ll run round-table workshops, vocal direct specific numbers, and have once-a-week check-ins.”

So, what will the rehearsal process look like? The directors will choose their cast based off of talent. Then, said Debuque, “Our first rehearsal will be a brainstorming session where people will figure out what they want to do, and pair off or trio off and start generating ideas for possible acts. They’ll go off after and start rehearsing them.” The idea is that the singers will rehearse on their own, making their own hours and decisions. Then, once a week they will check in with the directors to make sure that they’re on the right track. Debuque and Edelstein will also be available to vocal direct whenever it seems appropriate. In addition, there will be a workshop each week.

Debuque explained: “The way I see it, it would be a way for each act to get up and try the performance, kind of a dry run, get them used to it every week and at the same time get feedback from fellow cast members. [For instance,] maybe you wanna be softer on this entrance. Stuff like that.”

Debuque and Kyle Carney ’16 will be accompanying the singers on piano. They are looking for another pianist, and ask interested students to contact them.

Auditions are this coming Friday Frebruary 1st from 7:30 to 9:30 P.M. and Saturday February 2nd from 3:00 to 5:00 P.M. in Lang 415.

The audition is simple. “Come ready with a short vocal selection, like a verse and a chorus or a whole song. It’s not necessarily what they want to do for their act, it’s just for us to hear their voice,” said Edelstein. “We’re mostly looking for voice and stage presence.”

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