You wish you came to the Cabaret
March 29, 2018
Milton High School’s theatre brings an important, beautiful, dark story to the stage with Cabaret. The show displays the progression of Nazi Germany, which was made clear during the last musical number of act one while the characters hailed Hitler and brought down an enormous Nazi flag.
After that point on, the audience was dead silent and questioning whether or not to applaud in support of their peers or to not look like a Nazi and stay silent. Before this scene, every musical number performed by the Kit Kat girls in the club filled the audience with joy and cheer. Their musical numbers symbolized the progression of Nazi Germany as conditions and propaganda gradually got worse.
David Hopkins, the director of Cabaret, explains that he feels “the club represents an idea of escape-ism and where people say that in here life is beautiful, the girls are beautiful, the orchestra is beautiful, and to forget your troubles,” which he would consider the whole idea of the show. Hopkins describes the club as a “cautionary tale” in this element that the ignorance of the people in the club can be parallel to our escape into digital media, drugs and alcohol, or anything that can be a distraction from the real world.
Although the ideas and scenes presented in Cabaret are generally uncomfortable for the audience, it addresses an important historical event of the Holocaust that the world does not shine light on often enough. The show is used as a voice for the people affected in the form of entertainment, to which Hopkins says that “not all entertainment is exuberant and joyous,” which applies to Cabaret.
Blake Kerzie, a sophomore cast member of the show, establishes that he was not afraid in participating in the show because he believes the specific historical period was important to represent and discuss. Kerzie believes that “Cabaret was intended to leave people feeling many emotions and that the cast and crew made that possible.”
The show takes a lot of twists regarding the emotions it provoked from the audience, like Kerzie mentioned . For example, the Jewish fruit shop owner Herr Schultz, portrayed by Louis Sellers, was required to move out of his home and give up his fiancé because society did not consider him fully German because of his faith. As he is revealing his plans he says, “I understand the Germans because what am I if not a German,” representing that Jews in Germany were no less German than those who weren’t Jewish.
Another scene that brought out emotion from the audience was the end scene of the whole show. Throughout the show, there was an EMCEE, portrayed by Josh Martin, who was more of an entity to the story rather than an actual character. He is displayed as over the top and a clown, and partakes in the ensembles with the Kit Kat girls. By the end, the musical numbers have progressed from entertaining, robotic, to dreary. At the very last scene, the EMCEE strips of his costume, revealing his prison uniform with a star in two colors- red representing his homosexuality and white for his Jewish faith- showing the reasons for him being put into the concentration camp.
With these scenes, Hopkins describes that the show is meant to “give you a big hug and then stick a knife into your back.” Overall, the ending of the show is left to interpretation, but Hopkins establishes that “in the end you should just be left with the real idea that 6 million people were murdered because of their faith,” which Milton’s theatre program nailed perfectly in Cabaret.