HIL2D, Part 4; An Interview with a Former Producer and Current Audience Member

Tonight’s the night! The second weekend of How I Learned To Drive at Cabaret Theatre begins tonight at 8 pm! Reserve your tickets now by e-mailing cabtheatre@gmail.com!

See it!

If you’ve already reserved tickets are now simply watching the seconds tick away, barreling closer and closer to showtime, take a moment now to read this brief interview with former Cabaret producer, Madeline Orton!

Maddie Orton. Producing.

Maddie was producer of Cabaret during the 2008-2009 season, and she appeared in and worked on several productions before that, including The Wild Party, The Philadelphia Story, and [the] HAIR.

Inside Cabaret was able to ask Maddie a few questions after she experienced the sheer awesomeness of HIL2D last Saturday. She was flanked by equally prestigious Cabaret alumni, Joanna Karausz (of Crimes of The Heart and The Cocktail Hour fame) and Ben Regan (of HAIR, Assassins, Philadelphia Story, and a whole lot more; he also appeared as Officer Lockstock in the Livingston Theatre Company’s production of Urinetown, which this lowly Cabbie saw and loved and dreamed about for years).

Joanna, Ben, and Maddie - in the afterglow of HIL2D

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Inside Cabaret: What was it like being back in Cabaret? How is it different? How is it the same?

Maddie: Cabaret looks great! She’s just like Helen Mirren—gets better with age. It felt really good to be back in the theater. Different because there have been some nice improvements (the lobby looks amazing), but still the same because that great energy that comes with a Cabaret production is alive and thriving.

Much like Helen Mirren, Cabaret also renders John Malkovich irrelevant.

IC: What do you miss most about Cabaret? What have you been happy to do without?

Maddie: I miss the excitement of putting my heart and soul into a project with some of my closest friends. I don’t miss the stress of putting my heart and soul into a project with some of my closest friends. It was almost impossible to have one without the other, but always worth it.

Maddie and Ben "acting."

IC: How was HIL2D? Given your respective stage experience, what’s it like being in the audience? What goes through your head?

How I Learned to Drive was really great. That space is so unique and intimate; it’s a real art picking a show that takes advantage of that. (A great cast and smart set design don’t hurt either!)

My time at Cabaret does affect how I experience the show as an audience member, but in a great way. I performed in 7 shows at Cabaret and was producer my senior year, so I’m very familiar with the challenges of putting up a show with limited funds, time constraints, etc. BUT some of the coolest art comes from having to work around those things. (Did you know the coconut shells in that iconic Monty Python and the Holy Grail scene were used because of budgetary constraints? True story.) Cabaret shows are even more impressive when you know the (far too small) production budgets, how difficult it is to finish course work AND rehearse for a show, and the amount of work that goes into making a show happen. The concepts people come up with and the creative executions of these ideas are always exciting to watch!

Film Noir = An Entire GENRE and VISUAL AESTHETIC based on the premise of "We Have No Budget." Eat your heart out Monty Python.

IC: Other comments: a favorite memory, a life update, shout out, announcement, disparaging remark, inflammatory statement, etc.

Maddie: One of my all-time favorite memories is the leaky roof performance of Crimes of the Heart. There had been this recurring leak above the stage that, as a stopgap measure, we covered with plastic to catch the drops during the performance.

I had just been taught in my acting class that when something goes wrong onstage, you should consider it a gift because it can make a scene you’ve done 100 times feel different and fresh. So, when it became apparent that the plastic might not hold out under the pressure of the drops that had pooled up over the course of the evening, I just kept thinking, ”This is a gift.” [Drip.] “This is a gift!” [Drip.] “This is GIFT!”

And a millisecond after one of the actors moved away from his chair, all the water splashed down onto the chair and the audience died laughing. (It’s hard to explain away a surprise rainstorm in a kitchen.) It really was a gift though, because everyone in the theatre (actors and audience alike) shared this brand new experience at the same time and tried so hard not to laugh—and all failed miserably.

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Special thanks to Maddie, Ben, and Joanna for coming out to see the show. If you’re an alumni and/or an audience member, feel free to submit a review or a manifesto to cabtheatre@gmail.com! It may be published up here on Inside Cabaret!

Upcoming here on Inside Cabaret:

– WTF else are we doing at Cabaret Theatre? Hint: Eleemosynary & Spring Awakening! And a play festival. And surviving.

– WTF else do we do at Cabaret Theatre? Hint: Build things, Write things, Teach things, Dance… things…

– WTF are we doing on this planet? Hint: 42.

Stay tuned!

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