Berlin: The Last Cabaret
Members of a cabaret troupe gather one last time to perform for their friends, some of whom have already gone missing. It is 1934 in Berlin. The Weimar Republic has collapsed, and the world is turning upside down.
This is the premise of Berlin: The Last Cabaret. Unlike anything we have done before, it speaks directly to our own times. Using music authentic to the period, it was presented in a cabaret setting at Performance Works on Granville Island from 23–26 January, 2020.
Berlin was produced in association with the PuSh International Festival, and Sound The Alarm: Music/Theatre.
Our objective was to offer music from the Weimar era, cross-connected in a new narrative. Weimar was a period of tremendous experiment and daring, risk and transgression, gender liberation, discovery and allure – especially in Berlin. We brought it to life again.
We thank our funders: the Canada Council for the Arts, Edwina and Paul Heller Memorial Fund, McLean Foundation, Hamber Foundation, Leon Judah Blackmore Foundation, John Fluevog Shoes, Edith Lando Charitable Foundation, R & J Stern Family Foundation, annual operating support from the BC Arts Council and City of Vancouver Cultural Services, our many private donors, and more.
Our artists included Alan Corbishley, stage director; Roger Parton, music director, vocal coach and arranger; John Webber, set and lighting designer; Christopher David Gauthier, costume designer; Jayson McLean, production manager; and, Joanna Garfinkel, writer and dramaturge.
Our performers were Meaghan Chenosky, Daniel Deorksen, Alan Dominguez, Brian Hirose, and Julia Muncs, all accompanied by a cabaret band including Martin Fisk, Ed Henderson, François Houle, and Roger Parton.
BERLIN: THE LAST CABARET also reflected on the irony and shattering truth of Brecht, in his 1941 allegory The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui. At the end of the play, as people like ourselves congratulate one another on defeating the tyrant and the tyranny, we hear this:
If we could learn to look instead of gawking,
We'd see the horror in the heart of farce…
Don't yet rejoice in his defeat, you men!
Although the world stood up and stopped the bastard,
The bitch that bore him is in heat again.