Unit 12 Reflective Journal: Wednesday 22nd March (Discussion for Show Structure)

Following the morning discussion which took place over the 1920’s themed cabaret night, the aim of this session with Lynn was to  feedback on the discussion. Following that, we were then going to look back on everyone’s idea to see how they would fit into the structure. Then we will be able to have an idea of what may fit into the structure of what we have decided on the show theme.

As I mentioned in the previous journal my doubts about having a 1920’s theme as I believe it to be unnecessary, Lynn shared similar concerns. As I was not in the discussion, I found out afterwards that the reason a 1920’s theme was chosen was because it fits into a cabaret idea, however, it was also discussed in this session that just because it was a cabaret club, it does not have to have the typical 1920’s idea of it. Despite this, it can still be a performance club which introduces different acts of the performances which will ultimately be decided by the tutors, but with our own ideas as well interpreted. This is similar to the shows ‘Cabaret’ and ‘Chicago’, which are set in an entertainment venue, but the storyline of the film is separate. I have only ever watched ‘Chicago’, therefore, in the next couple of weeks, I want to set myself the task of also watching Cabaret so I can be more familiar with the idea that I will performing.

Following this short discussion, the impression I received was that the cabaret idea will stick, but without the 1920’s theme, which I prefer as it will not be unnecessarily complicated and added to. I don’t feel that the theme can also be included much or moved forward with the ideas that have been suggested in our presentations. Our next task involved getting all of the ideas together and writing them separately on post it notes which would then be placed on the board. When writing these, we had to write what the piece was, whether is was a scene, song or dance and how many would have to take part in the scene. The purpose of this exercise was organisation and getting all of the ideas together to see if there were any similar ideas and which ones would not work. It was also a good chance to get all of the ideas together on one space. Problems we had for some of the ideas were whether they would fit, for example, Chloe’s Beauty and the Beast medley and James Fighting ISIS idea. In order to solve this, we had a pile of ideas at the top of the board called the ‘doubt’ pile, while others were taken off the board as ideas which would not work. It is important to recognise that no matter how great an idea is, if I doesn’t fit into the theme or if it has to be written completely, then it will be binned. We don’t have enough time realistically to write a completely new piece for the performance and would not meet the highest standard. There were ideas that I liked, such as the Cell Block Tango, but knew would have to be binned as it is a well known piece and has already been performed at the college this academic year.

When it comes to my ideas, two of them would not have to be written so would not be an issue, my idea of using the song ‘Twisted Games’ however, may be more of an issue if I go with my idea of writing the piece due to time. However, I then thought that just the monologue could be performed with the girl running in purgatory.

After completing this task, we then looked at how to structure the show, starting with the outline of the beginning, how to end the first act and how to end the second act. An important problem we need to solve immediately is how to make the performance wan audiences to return for the second act. My first thought was a large group number or a song which would be energetic and keep our audience thoroughly entertained. However, another idea was suggested first about the club being a private event, which would allow a lock in to occur, which would also make the audience feel a part of it. The lock in could allow there being no rules, allowing the Saints and Sinners to do whatever they want. I thought that this could then be a test to determine who goes to hell and who goes to heaven. This idea came about with Lynn’s suggestion that the nightclub is a purgatory at the end of the world with the owner of the bar, Saint Jimmy (as suggested by Jack) deciding who goes to which place. I have not heard of a lock in bar before, however, as this idea is a real possibility which the group, including myself really liked the sound of once it was explained. In order to get a better idea of a lock in bar, I will complete more research so this can be played out more effectively.

The same question was then asked about how to end the show, we have to think of if we want to aim for a standing ovation or not. If we finish the show with an upbeat group number, then we would have a better chance. We had this issue with our latest public performance of ‘Lilies On the Land’, because it ended in a calm manner with the audience looking at a projector with a calming song, we struggled to get a standing ovation. A calming ending was suggested as well, with Saint Jimmy closing the bar with simply him on stage cleaning the bar. Saint Jimmy by this point would have decided who has been sent to heaven and who has been sent to hell, simply by suggesting which door to go out of, the audience door for heaven and the back door for hell. We can then get the audience involved as they enter, we thought of stamping their hand with a random colour pattern, one will be white for Saint, the red for Sinner. As it will be dark when they get this, they can check at the end of the performance where they have been sent. I liked this idea to get the audience involved and they wouldn’t have to go on stage and do anything, but they would still feel a part of it.

The idea of a large company member was then suggested by someone else, but instead at the beginning of the performance. This would be important as the audience can then get the idea of the show straight away and will not get confused. Following the big number, we have to think about consistency of the piece and having one act full of songs and the other being full of monologues. The show needs to have a variety throughout from all three pathways to avoid there being earnest to the show.

In conclusion, after discussing ideas with Lynn, who will have the final say on the show overall, I feel better with the idea of the cabaret club without the 1920’s theme as it would be unnecessary. We have been able to cut down on which ideas we felt would and would not work, with some to still decide on, following this session, research must continue. For me, I have tasked myself with watching Cabaret and researching lock in bars because if this is in the final performance, I want it to be true to the style we have chosen.


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