First-Time Directors Showin' You Wassup in Cabaret's Directors' Showcase!

It's that time of year again - Cabaret welcomes you to see our company's freshest new directors in the Directors' Showcase!

Generally, students come to Rutgers not having had any experience in directing any type of show. However, we've got some really fancy kids over here at Cabaret! These 7 super talented theatre members have decided to tackle the arduous, exhilarating and ultimately immensely rewarding position of directors of short shows!

Is your eyebrow raising skeptically right now? Or are they raising because you're confused? Or have you stopped reading altogether? I'll never know the answers to any of these questions. BUT, my dear sirs and madams, I'm here to tell you that I got all of the deets that should entice you to mosey on down Suydam Street this weekend and check these kids out!

"Sure Thing" by David Ives

Are you a hopeless romantic? Well, Stephanie Leiva (Senior, Math and Theatre) directs a show about true love, soul mates, and an eavesdropping barista. Set in a coffee shop, Bill and Betty meet for the first time, but time keeps turning backwards every time that darn barista dings the bell. When happens at the end? You're gonna have to come and find out!

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Leiva is no stranger to the stage, being in several shows with our friends over at LTC, and most recently being our lovely host for Rutgers Night Live. Not knowing when she would be able to do theater again (*cue sad face emoji*), she took on this play that she first read 4 years ago in a speech class. "I'm very serious about the true scene work and honest, truthful doing in acting. This show lends itself to true crafting and working on core techniques in acting." This aspiring director had a "one in a million experience" with her cast that she says had the same values in acting that she does, and who have actually become great friends of hers throughout this process. 

When I asked her what was most surprising about leading the show instead of being a member of the cast, she said the best part was being the one with all the ideas. "Being an actor, I never really 'created art', I more so just made someone else's ideas come to life. It was so amazing to be the person to hold the reigns [...]. I'm seeing the thoughts and ideas in my head come true, and I've never had that before." 

Intrigued? You know what to do - just click that box office button at the top of this page! :)

If you believe in soul mates, if you believe in second chances, if you believe in wearing your heart on your sleeve, and if you believe in art reflecting life, come see “Sure Thing”, directed by Leiva.
— Leiva (duh)

"Baggage Unattended" by Eric Coble

Emily Reineke (Junior, Music Education) takes you to the airport, where a couple waiting for their flight sees an unattended bag. As they try to persuade each other of their own beliefs, paranoia sets in and the couple struggles with the decision to open the bag. Will we ever find out what’s in the bag, or will the couple’s dysfunctional relationship lead to their own downfall? .......COME SEE THE SHOW AND FIND OUT! (this isn't over, I have 6 more shows to go)

Another student who has tons of experience onstage, Emily explains that the most challenging part about being a first-time director was actually doing the thing. "Because I’ve been in a lot of shows, I’ve worked with a lot of directors and always saw them as the person who had it all together. However, there were several times throughout the process where I didn’t know exactly what I wanted and had to figure things out as I went along. It was difficult at times to articulate just what I wanted from my actors, but I’ve been getting better at it, it’s all part of the learning process!" 

Wanna see what resulted from this "encouraging, fulfilling, eye-opening, and hard-working" experience? Reserve your ticket today!

My cast is beautiful and everyone should get a chance to see the hard work they’ve put in. I’m so glad they were part of my first directing experience, I couldn’t have done it without them.
— Emily

"Trash" by Justice Hehir and Alyssa Krompier

And onto a completely new topic - "Trash" is a feminist piece challenging the audience and the actors to consider the Free The Nipple movement and potential flaws in the American justice system.  Two different girls are brought together on the side of a highway to do community service for very different reasons and get the chance to learn from each other’s experiences.  

Director Elizabeth Alt (First Year, Undecided) is brand new to Cabaret, but wanted to jumpstart her college theatre experience with DS. Since she's used to being a cast member, she explains that the biggest difference between the two experience is "In a cast, I felt like verything was more individual. I only had to worry about myself being prepared. As a director, you have to make sure everyone is on the same page all of the time, so there is a lot more responsibility." She also gushed about all of the hard work that her cast has put in to this show and about her wonderful experience working with the other directors and the e-board (wooh!). Want to watch two talented young actresses try to make you laugh? BUY YO TICKETS NOW!

It’s the perfect combination of controversial yet tasteful and I think everyone will come away with a new way to think about the Free the Nipple Movement.
— Elizabeth

"He Said and She Said" by Alice Gerstenberg

Yay for more feminism! Julianna Pica (Sophomore, Theatre and Journalism) takes us through another funny show about a 40s dinner party gone awry! <<<<This is all you're getting for a description, ya gotta come see for yourself what actually happens :)

Interested in what "the other side" was like, Julianna chose to direct this show because it's a feminist comedy. Her favorite memory was the first full run through, when all the ducks were in a row. Though she found her first directing experience to be stressful because other people initially tried to guide her through the process, she realized that "directing is personal and different for everyone."

People should come to Directors’ Showcase because feminism is awesome and everyone loves a comedy.
— Julianna

"Death Knocks" by Woody Allen

Although Ivana Melara (Sociology, Gender and Media minor, Film certificate with MGSA) has had experience in directing previous film and tv series projects, this is her first time directing a play! Encouraged by her positive experience in working on Avenue Q last year with her best friend, she's here now for DS!

"Death Knocks" takes a serious topic like death, and twists it into lighthearted jargon during a game of gin rummy with Death himself. The show unveils some strange yet comforting characteristics that the character Death encompasses and we see how sometimes our final moments of life do not necessarily have to be as depressing as one would think.

Something I found interesting was her observation about the difference between directing a play onstage as opposed to something filmed on camera. There is an audience, she explains, so "there is definitely more pressure to perfect a scene since there are not going to be any reshot or retakes like film." The more you know!

I have found that the guidance and assistance of Cabaret’s producer and DS coordinator, as well as my fellow directors, has helped me prevail and create a show for all to enjoy. My current cast and those who have previously assisted me in this process have been hard working and enjoyable to work with. I am a very proud director!
— Ivana

"Some Fresh Ideas" by Zachary Sinkiewicz

Looking for "a productive and humorous time"? Well, Jillian Hanna (Junior, Theatre and Psychology) has something ready for you! A story with an unexpected romance between youngsters interning for an Off-Off-Broadway producer named Hoss, we watch as they work to save his job by coming up with the next biggest thing to hit the stage.

Mostly being in the spotlight, Jillian found herself "visualizing the different ways that certain scenes could be staged, how our costumes might look, and what type of person might fit one of the roles in the current show." In an effort to learn and experience as many aspects of theatre as she can, she wanted to add being a director to the list and answer all of those questions for herself. Come and see these answers for yOURselves and call dibs on your ticketzz!!

It has been both strange and exciting to use my knowledge on the art of acting to help my actors build a strong emotional life and get in touch with the truth of their work.
— Jillian

"Cindy & Julie" by Bruce Kane

Who doesn't love a good spin fairytale spinoff? TJ Ellis (Freshman) directs a hilarious show about Cinderella and Juliet Capulet's encounter in their psychiatrists waiting room. Love talking about whether or not happily ever after exists? Then this is the show for you! still there? You are? Well wHAT ARE YOU STILL DOING HERE?

RESERVE YOUR TICKETS FOR THIS AWESOME SHOW! Click the Box Office button at the top or email to call your dibs!


See you there :)