A few months ago I had the privilege of attending the finals of a national cabaret competition. The contestants were all young artists: some raw, others polished, all exhibiting their 8 minutes of “show”, vying to win a plethora of outstanding prizes.
I was impressed by these young people: their sassiness, wit and their belief in themselves and their material, no matter how technically proficient or experienced.
All of them used humour to win us and create an entertaining evening.
However, at the end of the night I walked away with my interest piqued but feeling something was missing. On reflection I realised that almost none of these young artists offered me what I call the “chink”.
So what is this “chink”?
It is the moment of vulnerability where the artist unlocks their heart & gives us an insight into their world, where they share with us the fragility of love, life and being: survival in this crazy first world chaos we all live in.
This is the most powerful moment we can share: artist and audience. It is where we really connect and share those universal truths. To do so though the artist needs to be brave and stand unadorned, not an easy ask and it can be both within their character or themselves depending on circumstance.
Cabaret is an intimate performing experience, where the artist and audience share a space together and go on a journey together, all be it driven by the performer. There is no fourth wall, nothing to hinder the connection, so the opportunity for both humour and moments of beauty are manifold. I am not talking about ‘bleeding’ on stage; it is about finding the moments!
I am the first to applaud the broad platform that the term “Cabaret” now covers. It makes for an interesting cross- over of ideas and performing styles and that should be applauded. However, what it should not be is a comedy stand up night, as they already exist in their own right.
As both performer and educator I believe and encourage young artists not to be afraid of this “chink” moment. It truly elevates a performance to something personal, insightful and extraordinarily touching. It is not just another interpretation of a song but a moment of generosity and truth, something that connects us all.
This is my first blog. So I guess I am now officially in blossom! Over the coming weeks and months I will write about the various disciplines I work in both as performer/artist and educator: Music theatre, Cabaret and Voice Overs.
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