Musical Forum Presents: Cabaret

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For Jenn Maley ’16, Cabaret is a story of survival and gilding. According to her, the characters do whatever they can to survive–the decisions they must make are heart-breaking, but they do what is necessary in order to continue living their lives–while the Nazi party, which will transform Germany into a nightmare, rises to power as a glamorous party.

Maley particularly emphasizes how important it is to capture the initially positive image of the Nazi party for many Germans–something she learned from Alice Eichenbaum, a survivor of World War II who has spoken to the cast and will speak again to the Brown community this weekend (more on that later). Maley infuses these two ideas into her envisioning of the Broadway classic, introducing them in the shadows of Act I and bringing them to the forefront in the harrowing tragedy of Act II.

The effect is incredible; Maley’s complex conceptual comprehension of the play transforms this production into an incredibly powerful entity.

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While the beginning feels somewhat stagnant and one-dimensional, the play catches fire during the Schneider-Schultz engagement party. This scene is where the darkness beneath the veneer of the Nazi party is first exposed.

This darkness is compelling, and the creative team’s unique touches–especially in lighting and choreography–accentuate the discrepancy between the fantastical world of Sally Bowles and the real, ominous nature of the rising Nazi party. This duality snowballs into the second act, where the play evolves into an untamable and passionate tragedy. This is where the true magic of this production, the decay of the principals, comes to the forefront.

The minimalist set (just two central platforms and an elevated platform on each side of the theater), which was at first somewhat disappointing and confusing, takes on a whole new meaning as the glitzy world of the play’s opening dissolves into the darkness of the changing times. The uncontrollable second act tumbles towards an electrifying finale where, in its final moments, even the Emcee’s façade is literally stripped away.

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What to do this week: November 3 – 9

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Monday, November 3:

Event: Midterm Madness with the Dems
Time: 5:00 – 8:00p.m.
Location: Wilson 102

Help the Brown Democrats conduct a phone bank one last time as we approach the November 4th elections.

Tuesday, November 4:

Event: Brown/RISD Stand Up Comics Present: Choose Your Starter
Time: 8:00 \p.m.
Location: The Underground

Five funny students will provide you with jokes and general levity tomorrow night for free. Don’t miss it!

Wednesday, November 5:

Event: Interracial Dating Panel
Time: 7:00 – 8.30 \p.m.
Location: Salomon 001

Who do you want, hook up with, date, and how does race and play into that? Six Brown students will share their opinions and take questions from the audience.

Event: Systems for Reporting Sexual Assault at Brown
Time: 7:30 – 9:30p.m.
Location: Metcalf Auditorium

The first hour of this event will be a teach-in with Brown administrators on how sexual assault cases are currently handled. The next hour will be an open forum with the Sexual Assault Task Force, allowing students the opportunity to ask questions, provide feedback and air grievances. All Brown community members are welcome to the teach-in, though the open forum is specifically for undergraduates.

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What to do this week: October 20 – 26

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Monday, October 20

Event: SPEC Presents: Brown’s Annual Fall Fest
Time: 8.00 – 10.00 p.m.
Location: Ruth Simmons Quad

The main thing you need to know: everything is free, a student’s favorite number. Free food (pie, cider, mac and cheese), free performances (yes, a cappella), and even a free tent.

Event: PW Presents: Song for a Future Generation
Time: 8.00 p.m.
Location: PW Downspace
Tonight is the last showing of Song for a Future Generation, directed by Grant Glovin ’16. Tickets are available an hour before the show at the PW box office. It’s a future-space-comedy good time.

Tuesday, October 21

Event: Consent Day Fair
Time: 4.00 – 6.00 p.m.
Location: Main Green

Who doesn’t love those ‘consexual sex is hot’ t-shirts? And they’re free. Make like California talk about how yes means oh, yes. Trivia, consent pledges and t-shirts galore.

Event: Heavy Petting
Time: 12.00 – 2.00 p.m.
Location: Wriston Quad

You know the drill. Cute animals, hugging, squeezing, Instagramming, and hopefully, hand sanitizing. (Am I the only one to have ever questioned the proximity to the Ratty?) But srsly, #cuteoverload!

Event: UCAAP Presents: Buddy Screening
Time: 8.30 – 10.00 p.m.
Location: Smitty-B 106

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Buddy Cianci, ex-con and ex-mayor, is running for mayor again! This 2008 documentary on the hero/anti-hero is a crowd fave. Go learn and be political, etc.

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Nudity in the Upspace: An interview with the new coordinators

It’s that time of year again–Nudity in the Upspace time. Coming off a wildly successful 2013 iteration, despite its fair share of controversy and Fox News coverage (are they synonymous?) that included an always welcome visit from Jesse Watters, new Nudity in the Upspace coordinators Cherise Morris ’16 and Sam Keamy-Minor ’16 sat down with Blog to talk changes to the week, staying true to its roots, and expanding Nudity’s presence and types of participants on campus.

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BlogDH: What does Nudity in the Upspace mean to you?

Sam: For me, personally–and I think any one of these answers is going to be incredibly personal–Nudity in the Upspace is a space where people can be radically honest about a lot of the issues that we as Brown students discuss in sometimes frustratingly veiled terms. Things like body positivity, body acceptance, body disability, race, gender expression. These are all conversations that we’re used to as Brown students and I think Nudity in the Upspace provides this new forum to explore them in a much more honest way.

Additionally, being involved in events of public nudity (Naked Donut Run, Nudity in the Upspace) has really helped me come to terms with a lot of the aspects of my identity both connected to the way I look but also connected to other things. My queer identity, my male identity and how I perform my gender.

Cherise: Looking back at myself as an involved member last year, I do think it took me some time to get my feet wet. I was able to take my time. And I think that’s one of the really important missions of the week. We’re not just saying, “Oh, nudity should be normalized and you should be comfortable!” Because that’s a really hard thing to do. The week gives people all these opportunities to take their time and feel out what the experience is going to mean to them. Creating that system of dialogue is something that we often aren’t able to do as students, especially in a classroom setting when we are discussing these issues. We know what we are supposed to get out of it and what we should put into it. Even as coordinators we kind of don’t really know how everything is going to pan out. That spontaneity that accompanies the honesty is really important.

BlogDH: What are some differences in Nudity in the Upspace this year?

Cherise: One new thing we’re doing this year is partnering with Bluestockings to release a Nudity: Bodies in Context zine at the devised piece. We went to Bluestockings with this idea because we wanted to engage different audiences. There is this stigma around the event–you have to be naked and you have to be okay with being naked to have these opinions and to discuss these issues. You don’t have to do that. We wanted to engage people who wouldn’t even be comfortable showing up to the event. Expanding that range of voices is something we’re looking for this year, especially in light of all the controversy last year.

Sam: When you have a week where so much of it is exploring identity–whether it’s the identity we wear in our bodies or the identity that we construct external to our bodies–the fact that Cherise and I have very different identities [is important]. I’m the first male-bodied phe coordinating. Me and Cherise are both queer.

Cherise: We do want to respect the goals that Becca and Camilla set out as the event’s founders but inevitably, it’s taking a different form. This year we did different things with the space physically. We have a whole back wall that we are going to be performing in front of that is [covered] by attendee’s drawings. It’s a huge mural with all these different voices and input on it.

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PW Presents: Waxwing

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Originality in a theatrical production comes in many forms– content, structure, unique casting and acting choices, a novel use of space, an unexpected twist on a familiar trope, etc.

Waxwing, written and directed by Evan Silver ’16, is a simultaneously familiar and original piece of work. The story is immensely simple: two parallel love stories that eventually converge, one ending happily, another, not so much. An elementary plot comes as no surprise; after all, the show runs only 45 minutes long, hardly enough time for plot intricacies and complex character development.

However, Silver’s originality lies in the presentation, in the characters he’s constructed to tell these stories, and in an effective use of space and music to tease out tension from even a tired, old love story.

First off, I’ll address space. Silver, who triples as set designer, transformed the room into a runway, utilizing the tennis-court-arrangement of the space to evoke a love story that verges at times on a duel. It is an inventive use of the Upspace, and one not commonly seen.

From the moment the lights, subtly designed by Jordana Rosenfeld ’17, dim, you’re thrown directly into Silver’s world. This universe is one in which a bird and a boy not only converse, but also have sexual tension, and the sea and the sun are personified as starcrossed (see what I did there) ex-lovers with a juicy history.

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What to do this week: September 22 – 28

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Monday, September 22:

Event: The (Dis)United Kingdom: The UK after the Referendum
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Location: Watson Institute

A discussion led by Mark Blyth, Eoin McGuirk and Fiora MacPherson on the recent vote in Scotland to remain a part of the UK and the effects of the decision.

Event: Tales From a Journalist’s Visits to Other Planets: Ken Auletta Lecture
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: MacMillan 117

A talk delivered by Ken Auletta, a New Yorker columnist and author of five national bestselling non-fiction books. A reception and book-signing follows.

Event: Guantanamo Bay Teach-In
Time: 7 – 8.30 p.m.
Location: List 110

Presentations by two professors and one post-doctoral fellow will discuss the problematic, ongoing existence of the US military base in Guantanamo Bay. A Q&A and discussion groups will follow.

Event: Students on Israel and Palestine: Perspectives on the Gaza War
Time: 7 – 9.00 p.m.
Location: Petteruti Lounge

Students with various connections to the situation in Gaza will be a part of a panel discussing recent events. Also moderated by students, the event hopes for a big emphasis on Q&A.

Event: IC and GISP Info Dinner
Time: 7.00 p.m.
Location: The Underground

If you’re considering making your own concentration, class, or credit-earning internship, come and learn about the processes from those who know all about it. Plus, food.

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