It’s a spectacle so vast, so complex, it hits the community only once every two years.
Belmont secondary students are launching Cabaret 2011, a multi-stage show that blends live music, dance, humour and drama, all under the banner of “Love.” Four public performances are scheduled March 10 to 12.
“It follows the ups and downs of two young couples, like a roller coaster,” said Belmont music director Glynis Dawson. “It’s quite different from a music department concert. This is an all encompassing show — we collaborate with drama, dance and the visual arts. The idea is to tell a story.”
Drama teacher Melissa Young says the plot follows the rise and fall of two relationships, one marred by a slothful gamer and the other due to suspected infidelity.
“It follows typical relationships — first date, first kiss, first ‘I love you,’” Young said. “Then things fall apart.”
A year in development, the performance incorporates video technology and voice-overs, as well as simulated texting between the characters, driving home the contemporary story line. At least 100 music students and dozens of dance and drama students are co-ordinating and performing in the show, as it rotates from stage to stage.
“It really is massive. That’s why we only do it every two years,” Dawson said. “Last time we had 22 musical numbers. We’re at almost twice that now. There’s a variety of music and styles and smaller sound bites. It’s a real audience pleaser.”
Student Hayden Avery points out the music will be modern, diverse and occasionally old — from the 1970s. Songs from Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Lionel Richie and Jimi Hendrix highlight the playlist.
“It’s music a lot of people grew up with,” added music student Trevor Hoy.
The production is underwritten with volunteer help from parents and teachers, from stage construction to sound and light setup. The stage manager, a Belmont grad, is flying in from Calgary using holiday time to help co-ordinate the show. “Once it’s in your blood, people like to be part of it,” Dawson said. “It’s a close knit community.”
“As educators, we want to instill appreciation for the arts, but we don’t expect to create (professional) performers. But these guys get to be performers for a week,” Dawson added.
“It give us a glimpse of show business,” Hoy remarked.
The school’s teachers and administration are also lending their support, Dawson noted, especially gym teachers who lose their space for a week.
“We can’t do this without the support of everybody at the school,” she said.
The show also acts as scholarship fundraiser for fine arts students to attend summer camps, individual lessons or for post-secondary.
Dakota Deckur, a veteran Grade 12 performer, recalls the leading up to her first cabaret was “complete chaos.”
“It was a huge event, and I had no idea what was going on, or if we would pull it off,” she said laughing. “There was always something to do. It’s the same this year, but now I know what to do.”
Cassandra Herbert was in Grade 9 when she was dazzled by the 2009 performance. As a singer, she knew she had to get on that stage.
“When I watched it in Grade 9, I was blown away. My jaw dropped through the whole thing” said Herbert, who is one of two students opening the 2011 show. “Now I get to perform in it. It’s so exciting. It already feels amazing.”
Showtimes for Love
- “Love” cabaret runs March 10-11 at 7 p.m., and March 12 at 2 and 7 p.m. in the Spotswood gym at Belmont secondary.
- Tickets $10 student/senior, $12 adult. Tickets are sold at:
Belmont secondary, 3067 Jacklin Rd.
Westside Instaprint, 2811 Jacklin Rd.
Mac’s Convenience store, 3198 Jacklin Rd.
Sullivan’s Barbershop, 756 Goldstream Ave.