Arts & Culture

Student cabaret blows audience away

Carrington Nowak, Contributor

On Dec. 6, Augsburg’s theater department hosted the second annual student cabaret at the Tjornhom-Nelson theater. In the department’s line-up of plays for the year, the cabaret sticks out like a sore thumb. The origin of a cabaret comes from performances typically run in a bar or restaurant where the audiences are seated at tables, and a master of ceremonies introduces an ensemble of performers who are free to perform whatever content they want. While this version of a cabaret was held in a theater and not a bar, there was a snack table equipped with bubbly water, popcorn and cookies. Despite the difference in venue, the cabaret followed the rest of the guiding principles with Matthew Svestka (junior) as master of ceremonies and ten acts ranging from freshmen to seniors showcasing their talents in song, poetry, comedy and acting.

The first performance was Halle Chambers (senior), who brought a light-hearted touch to the problem of cultural appropriation. What better way do so than through a cooking podcast that demonstrated the reality of whitewashing, cultural dysphoria and the white attitude that nothing isn’t for us?

The audience also got the opportunity to hear Maddy Siiter (sophomore) sing an original piece titled “Your Moment” that followed the difficulties of relationships and waiting for the other person to end things when you can’t do it yourself. Another singer was Tessa Waite, who performed a beautiful cover and an original piece for the audience. The cabaret featured multiple talented poets such as Joseph Gaskill (sophomore), Abigail Eck (sophomore), Kristy Moua (first-year), Jacey Mismash (first-year), Kathryn Graham (sophomore) and O’Quba Duressa (first-year), touching on topics such as interracial adoption, what it means to come together in unity, finding someone who will love you how you want to be loved and feminism versus the patriarchy. First-year Corrine Werckman brought the audience to their feet with a killer comedy set that touched on the power of suitcase sized children, what we really think about doctors’ opinions and the difficulties of adjusting to college life. These were just a few of the acts, but each one brought something different to the audience in a new and captivating way.

The student cabaret is an opportunity for — you guessed it — students to run all aspects of the event. This year I, Carrington Nowak (sophomore), was the director, and Alyssa Crow (sophomore) was the technical director who put everything together. The main purpose of the cabaret is to give an opportunity to students who don’t typically get the chance to showcase their abilities to their peers. While Augsburg might have great theater and music programs on campus, not every student feels confident auditioning for a play or joining a choir, so this might be their one chance to take the stage and shine. The number one thing that is said about joining the cabaret is that you do not need to audition! Two key factors that keep people from performing are the fear of the audition and the inability to make rehearsals. The cabaret tries to make itself accessible by eliminating the audition process and holding only two rehearsals before the show to allow anyone interested to participate.

The cabaret is still fairly new to Augsburg and doesn’t have quite the same recognition as other performances despite being run by the theater department. So if you are asking yourself, “Why should I go see a cabaret?” the answer is that if you want to see raw emotion, a variety of acts, uncensored content and free food, then there is no better place for you than the cabaret.

This article was originally published in the Dec. 14, 2018 issue.