Friday, February 12, 2016

Life is a cabaret, old chum!

"... And as the election season heats up, it's always instructive to think about the consequences of dancing while fast asleep." So ends the Chicago Tribune review of this latest production of Cabaret. I saw it Wednesday night and can't stop thinking about it. It was awesome, entertaining, disturbing and yes, in this Year of Trump, extremely relevant.

It's easy to see how Trump's free-wheeling, "Look, Ma! No hands!" style might be exhilarating in a world where everyone else seems scripted and focus group-tested. And maybe that giddiness allows people to overlook his casual cruelty about those with disabilities, his disrespect and bullying of his opponents, and his demonizing Muslims.

Except that all has real-life, long-ranging and unintended consequences. Once fear and hate are unleashed, they are hard to control.

Here's Joel Grey, Emcee in the film version of Cabaret, performing "If You Could See Her Through My Eyes." It's not subtle, but it's a powerful distillation of the message of the play. I can't stop thinking about it, and I hope -- I really want to believe -- that we're better than this.