The Royal Bay Theatre department is looking to transport audiences to a different time period, all while giving them a political message to think about.
In its production of Cabaret, Royal Bay Secondary’s Black Wing Theatre Company will bring to life post-First World War Berlin during Hitler’s rise to power. It features Clifford Bradshaw, an American writer, who wanders into the seedy Kit Kat Klub where he meets the cabaret performer Sally Bowles.
“Cabaret, our version of it, has been changed a little bit so we focus on the political aspect of it,” said Kevin Royle, a grade 12 student who plays the role of the Emcee. “It’s a warning story on the dangers of political inactivism and I think that’s quite relevant to our day and age.”
The school’s theatre director, Melissa Young, said she chose the play as a reminder to learn from history.
“I was really inspired by what is happening in our world right now and personally I think a lot of folks who lived through that time period are passing away,” Young said. “I wanted my students to learn more about this and experience the show because I think it’s very important.”
My-Le Vu, a Grade 12 student who plays Sally Bowles, said they’ve been working on Cabaret since September and that she never thought she’d be able to be a part of a show like it, particularly in high school. The musical features some mature content that may not be suitable for children, according to Young.
While the musical itself has been done many times over the years, with a popular film adaptation as well, Vu said they’ve tried to make this version of it different.
“We’re trying to find our own voice through the piece without trying to mimic other people’s work too much … and also make it uniquely our own,” Vu said.
She noted that the show is also very much about the Kit Kat Klub, the common people of Berlin, those who are oppressed and seeing a rise of power through the lives of everyday people. Vu said it carries an important message, one that will resonate as long as humans and society exist.
“[Cabaret] is a fun and bright way of telling a dark and dreary story that’s telling of today’s age,” said Garrett Clayton, a Grade 12 student who plays the role of Clifford Bradshaw.
Royle said audiences can expect a production that “isn’t your typical musical.” Clayton agreed with his fellow cast member.
“It definitely has a dark side and I feel like that really takes part in the story,” Clayton said. “It’ll make audiences feel incredibly immersed within the world we’ve built.”
Tickets for Cabaret are $12.50 for adults, $10.50 for students and seniors and $5 for SD62 students. They are available at the Royal Bay Secondary office, which can be reached at 250-474-2377.