Christine van Reeuwyk
Oak Bay News
In a not unusual twist on stage, a character traditionally played by a male is performed by a female when Cabaret comes to Oak Bay.
Kristina Roberts portrays the M.C. in the final show by this year’s Company C, the performance company made up of graduates of Canadian College of Performing Arts’ two-year program. There weren’t a lot of males in her year of the program, so it isn’t unexpected to tackle a male role, Roberts says. This one though, was intriguing.
“This character is completely different because even though he identifies as a male, he’s quite androgynous and plays around with his sexuality and gender. It was interesting to find the balance of masculinity and femininity and seeing how that changes with a female playing the role,” she says.
Cabaret is a favourite musical for her after a glimpse during Year 1 at CCPA. “I pretty much came to first rehearsal off book,” Roberts said with a laugh.
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The Broadway classic Cabaret is set in the seedy Kit Kat Klub of Berlin as the Nazi party rises to power in the early ’30s. It follows the story of English nightclub performer Sally Bowles, and her relationship with American writer Cliff Bradshaw. Overseeing the events of the show is the Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub.
“It’s just such a brilliant story and it’s got so many different twists that you’re laughing hysterically and you love the sexiness of it, and then it just hits you with something that makes you really thinks about yourself and what’s going on in the world,” Roberts said. “The way Ron has directed this is really incredible. We’ve kind of made our own mix of the movie and the stage version so it’s something you’ve never really seen before.”
Between the rise of the Nazi party, the love affair of a German boarding house owner and a Jewish fruit vendor, a prostitute, and the dancers of the nightclub, Cabaret delivers a raw and honest depiction of Berlin that eerily parallels the world we live in today.
“It’s really great for young people to do a great show like this, not only because they’re triple threats and because it’s a great show, but we’re in a time where things are very intolerant and I think people are very intolerant of each other. Without giving away the plot, it takes place during the rise of the Nazis … and they were trying to gain power by any means necessary,” said director Ron Jenkins. “It’s a great history lesson and it’s very resonant for today.”
Cabaret is in the Canadian College of Performing Arts performance hall at 1701 Elgin Rd. from Jan. 26 to Feb. 3.
Get tickets at ccpacanada.eventbrite.com or call the box office at 250-595-9970.
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