Auf wiedersehen Cabaret …

20 April, 2008 by No Comments

Theatre is a cruel mistress sometimes, and never more so than when she breaks up a tight-knit ensemble at the final curtain. Many (like me) deal with this psychic termination, the ending of a beautiful relationship by treating fond farewells as lightly as possible … ‘No goodbyes … see you around.’ It’s easier that way. And so it was this evening as the last performance of Cabaret at the Empire Theatre finished the season.

It’s been a quite wonderful time for me personally, and I’d wager for the entire company. We gathered post-show to formally farewell the ensemble in the studio, the site of rehearsals and warmups and that first meet and greet 10 weeks ago. There is no doubt that this production was a success artistically; it was a fine production shaped by the chief creatives: director Lewis Jones, designer Greg Clarke, musical director Lorraine Fuller, and choreographer Alison Valette. As important as financial and artistic success however, was the opportunity the production gave to nurture and further the talents and aspirations of the young men and women who worked backstage, onstage and in the orchestra pit. This is where organisations like the Empire Theatre are worth their weight in gold; they are helping to build the city’s and the country’s cultural capital, and readying the next generation for leadership in the arts community.

The final performance was a matinee, and it was a joyous occasion on several levels. For us, it had the edge of our wanting to make it the best it could be for us and for our audience. Some audience members returned to experience the show for the final time, and were joined by many first timers, but as always, they bonded to became that unique living organism known as the audience. Ask any theatre actor and they’ll confirm that no two audiences are alike. Today’s were warm, responsive, and not afraid to let us know it. I felt a thrill when I heard a ‘wow’ at the end of my final song. An audience feels a good show in unison and the actors feel it in return. Our audience this afternoon sent us out in style. The rest of the formal disbanding is happening as I write … an after-party which I fore-went. I like to keep my memories … of the faces, the experience within the confines of the theatre space. But we’re scattered now.

So it’s time to pack up the program and clippings, the cards, to swap images on Flickr, to bask in the memories, maybe plan for next time but just get on with the other things we do in life.

Auf wiedersehen, a bientot, goodbye …