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Faces of the CVPA: Q&A with the Leads of "Cabaret"

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Justine Kline and Lauren Martin as photographed by Elizabeth Dreher RU'14.

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Justin Kline and Lauren Martin

1. Where are you from originally?

Justin: I was born in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, but I have lived in Wytheville, Va. for the past 8 years.

Lauren: I am from Louisville, Ky.

2. What are your majors and minors?
Justin: My major is theatre with a focus in performance.

Lauren: I am a double major in dance and communication with a concentration in Public Relations.

3. What intrigues you about the storyline of “Cabaret?”

Justin: The storyline of “Cabaret” intrigues me in many aspects. It’s a story of faulted love, fighting for what (and who) you believe in, and watching the ones you love walk out of your life. There are, of course, things that others will gather and be intrigued by in “Cabaret,” but those stick out to me personally.

Lauren: Even though “Cabaret” is set in the 1930s, the characters and the setting are still relatable. In the show, the ‘Klub’ represents safety and Snider’s place represents hardship and struggle. We all have that need to get away and escape from the troubles in our lives. The show so vividly portrays that need to escape, and eventually, the need to face an inevitable fate.

4. How would each of you describe your characters in the play?

Justin: The emcee is the leader of the pack in “Cabaret” and he is one that loves to be seen. He loves showing off what his fleet of performers and musicians can do for the audience. All the ‘Kit Kat Klub’ members are influenced by him and they ultimately look up to him. It’s interesting because in this particular production, the emcee is always lurking in the shadows influencing, mingling with or reacting to the action. I’ve really connected with him, and in doing so, I’ve learned to empathize with him. He may present a happiness, but I feel he has overcome a lot in his lifetime.

Lauren: Sally is a mess! She is someone who fully expresses her emotions. She never holds ANYTHING back. Sally is also a “wanter.” She wants certain things in her life: money, love, a job; but she can’t seem to figure out how to get them and keep them. At times, she even “wants to want” things. She “wants to want” her baby, and in the end, she “wants to want” Cliff. But, Sally’s constant need to feel with her whole heart burns her out in a way. She gets what she wants, but then she’s bored, so she’s ready to want something different. She gets into a lot of trouble this way. However, Sally does not always display her emotions for the audience. She masks uneasy feelings quite frequently because she wants to believe everything is fine and safe.

5. How will you prepare for your roles in the play?

Justin: Preparing for the emcee has been a challenge for me personally. He is man of many colors, but one thing is for sure, he loves to perform. So, I listened to the songs emcee sings and went from there. I would look for certain lyrics and phrases, and I would work with ideas on how to breathe that idea into the emcee. Everyone has seen Alan Cumming and Joel Gray’s interpretation for the role of the emcee, so I wanted to bring a new life to the character. My hope is that I do the emcee justice and bring something new to the table.

Lauren: Rehearsals, rehearsals, rehearsals. We have been rehearsing every weeknight as a whole cast since the semester started in January. I also rehearse dialect and music on my own either after scheduled rehearsals or before. I’ve worked during the day with Jennifer [Jennifer Juul is the director] and Tommy [Tommy Iafrate is the musical director] on an individual basis to revamp my sound. It’s been a lot of work, but definitely worth it.

6. How do you feel about the dark undertones and controversial subjects that are portrayed in “Cabaret?”

Justin: It’s definitely new for me to be in such a controversial play because I have only done children’s theatre in the past here at Radford, but I’m beginning to like the idea. One of my favorite things about theatre is that it has the power to raise questions. I love when the audience is left with questions in their mind after they leave the auditorium because ultimately it raises awareness on the subject matter. It’s my small voice in this big world. I feel like my job is successfully done when the audience says, “that was amazing!” and asks, “what is going on in society?” With children’s theatre, I really couldn’t get that last question in.

Lauren: The controversy portrayed in the show is different and challenging for me. I learned about war and the Nazis in classrooms, but onstage, it’s new. Theatre allows you to examine these issues from the perspective of the people involved and their relationships with others. It’s more challenging to portray a character that has baggage and darkness because you have to constantly react to the events happening around you.

7. What does the Kit Kat Klub represent to you?

Justin: I feel that the ‘Kit Kat Klub’ represents home to the members that reside and perform in it. That’s where the emcee, Sally, and all the ‘Kit Kat Klub’ boys and girls feel like they are unstoppable. They can dress as sexy as they want, perform musical numbers as they wish all while getting paid for it. But maybe in saying all of that, it represents the idea that we are not as safe as we think we are? Especially in the places we call “home.”

Lauren: The ‘Kit Kat Klub’ represents a safe space. The ‘Klub’ isn’t a strip club that we would experience today. It’s entertaining, lively and fun, but no real troubles happen there. The real world struggles do not happen in the ‘Klub’; they are talked about in the ‘Klub’ – actually they’re sung about. Sally gets fired there and she turns her back on it. She has a huge fight with Cliff, and it welcomes her back with open arms. It’s her happy place.

8. Have you ever been in a play that is as dark as “Cabaret” before?

Justin: I say this with a chuckle: No I have not! Haha! It’s definitely a new area of theatre for me, but I’m so honored to be a part of it. I have more of a children’s theatre background, and in children’s theatre you don’t really get the chance to do some deep-digging for your character because children really need to understand what’s going on and some key points may be lost if you dig too deep. It’s kind of like going from “Disney” to “HBO.” So it’s definitely a big leap for me, but I definitely remember looking at the cast list and saying to myself, “challenge accepted.”

Lauren: I have actually never been in a play before! I am a dance major so I have been in dance works that have been emotional. I’ve never been in something this dark, especially as a character that is the cause of the emotion.

9. What style of play do you prefer to perform in?

Justin: I love musicals. I remember seeing, "The Wizard of Oz” as a child and hearing Judy Garland sing, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” That’s when I fell in love with performing. It’s a dream of mine to play any role in that show! Entertainment has a chance to bring someone a smile, a laugh or a question and that’s what I love about what I do. I love reaching out to people and hopefully changing their life for the better.

Lauren: I love happy, upbeat performances because they are easier to portray on stage. However, something emotional and dark is more challenging, and if you pull off the character, it’s more rewarding.

10. What are your plans for after graduation?

Justin: After graduation I plan to attend auditions as much as possible. I love what I do too much to give up on it. In the distant future, I’d like to go back to school to get my M.F.A. in theatre.

Lauren: After graduation I plan to move back to Louisville, Ky., and pursue a public relations career in an arts organization. My dream job would be to become a public relations practitioner for a dance or theatre company.

Mar 24, 2014
Sabrina Anderson
540-831-6237
cvpa411@radford.edu

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