By BRUCE DENNILL
The creators and producers of the Fugard Theatre’s smash hit musical The Rocky Horror Show comes one of Broadway’s greatest musical productions: Cabaret. Lara Adine Lipschitz stars as on of the Kit Kat Girls; dancers in the Kit Kat Klub in Berlin, in which most of the action in the story takes place.
The themes in Cabaret are all dark: war, Nazis, poverty, loneliness etc. Parts of it, though, are beautiful; inspiring even. What are your comments regarding the role of art in making such themes easier to engage with?
Cabaret is a very interesting musical because its deals with so many layers; from the tumultuous political and socio-economic situation to the sexual freedom and experimentation that was going on throughout Berlin in the early 1930s. It’s an important play because it reminds the audience that intolerance and xenophobia can be infectious and of how vital it is to monitor one’s own behavior, politically and socially. History is always repeating itself and in South Africa today we are faced with similar issues. Cabaret, like most art, holds a mirror up to the audience and forces them to reevaluate their reactions within society.
As an artist yourself, is this the case on a personal level? In other words, is art a redemptive influence in your life, or can it sometimes be the opposite – the reason for stress?
Definitely both. It’s amazing to have the space to explore my own emotions, body and thoughts through acting and dance, but it also demands a lot, physically and emotionally. We are pushed beyond our comfort zones everyday.
Where does Cabaret sit in your favourite musicals list? That’s a loaded question while you’re in it obviously, but are you more impressed by stories where the conflict is closer to the surface, such as this one? And the music – can you unpack its appeal for you, or what you prefer in songs from other works?
It’s truly been a dream show of mine for as long as I can remember. It’s such a great musical because of its layers. It’s dark, gritty and sexy, as well as being extremely moving and frightening. I absolutely love the music, dancing and all the characters.
As a dancer, please talk about the challenges of this production – the rhythms, choreography, burlesque moves, and so on.
The choreographer, Louisa Talbot, is amazing and her choreography is difficult in that its very character based, very grounded and sexual. Its been a challenge, but its going to be so much fun performing it every night.
The burlesque tone of the piece – slightly (or more) seedy; very forward; brassy: how interesting is this for you and how difficult is it to maintain for the duration of the show? Put another way, explain the transformation from mild-mannered South African actress to German chorus girl on a daily basis.
The transformation is pretty huge for me. It’s extremely challenging. I really have to push myself to bring out as much overt sexual confidence and stage presence as humanly possible.
Cabaret is directed by Matthew Wild with musical supervision by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder and choreography by Louisa Talbot.