City Opera Vancouver presents the world premiere of the political satire BERLIN: The Last Cabaret (BERLIN) from January 23–25, 2020 at Performance Works. Set in Nazi Germany on July 13, 1934, the darkly humorous production takes place the day of Adolf Hitler’s national broadcast claiming responsibility for the “Night of the Long Knives” — a horrific political purge and extrajudicial execution of more than 85 members of the Sturmabteilung (SA). Directed and co-created by Alan Corbishley, in association with Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre (soundthealarm.ca), and presented with the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, BERLIN follows an underground cabaret troupe as they decide whether their love of creative and social freedom is worth the ultimate price. The production is City Opera’s first appearance in the PuSh Festival.
A fusion of cabaret and theatre, BERLIN opens with a group of artists learning of a major government announcement. Capitalizing on the moment, the cabaret troupe of five singers decides to throw out their standard musical program in favour of a work of political satire called The Front Page. The new line-up challenges state media, calls out the Nazi classification of gay individuals as “degenerates,” and includes parodic inflection that women are being marginalized — again — under the new regime. But when the evening post arrives with the explosive news that Hitler ordered the recent “Night of the Long Knives” massacre to stomp out dissent and further solidify his power, the artists must decide to continue with their artistic voices, or save themselves.
The production features original songs from early 20th-century cabarets in Germany, which were banned after the fall of the Republic. A popular form of entertainment, the German kabarett was distinct from the French iteration for its sharp political satire and dark humour. Although kabarett existed in the late 19th century, it wasn't until after World War I that the genre came into its own, particularly in Berlin.
City Opera Vancouver & PuSh International Performing Arts Festival present BERLIN: The Last Cabaret
Dates: January 23–25, 2020
Ticket Price: $44.50 including fees
Address: Performance Works
1218 Cartwright St
Vancouver, BC V6H 3R8
Tickets & Info: www.pushfestival.ca/shows/berlin-the-last-cabaret
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