Lessons from Cabaret...

lessons for clara
Image Credit: Time Out London

Dear Clara,

I’m in London again for work; it seems like the opportunity is coming up more often these days.  I was able to schedule in an evening in the theater, courtesy of my best friend, for one of my most favorite shows, Cabaret.  While many musicals often aim to stay above any kind of disheartening fray, Cabaret introduces both social and political commentary, without removing any of the fun---in fact, I would argue the fun is even taken to a whole new level.  I absolutely adore the music and pace of the show, and I’ll even admit that I might have spent a Halloween or two as Sally Bowles.  The thing though, is that the Cabaret comes to an end, tragic every time.  It's getting harder and harder to watch, since you know inevitably what happens not so long after the show ends.  A few things always stick with me:

  • “In here, life is beautiful…”: Everyone should have a place, cabaret or otherwise, where life is at its best.  Whether it’s wine, song, dance or nature, quiet and tea, look for spaces that are the best representation of what’s good in this life for you.   Just remember that you can’t live exclusively in those places; the outside world will always come in and you need to be prepared.
  • “And it just so happens I do paint my fingernails green, and I think it’s pretty”: All of the characters have their eccentricities, personalities and even character flaws, yet for a time they all manage to be a cohesive group.  It doesn’t last of course, but focus on differences in people as something interesting, something to be learned from, and something that compliments those things that make you yourself different.  It’s a quality not many people have.
  • “I thought I should know something about the politics”: When Cliff arrives in Berlin, he immediately starts to read the literature of the day, much to the confusion of Sally, who is caught up in the moment.  Different travels and places offer us adventures, but we should also take the time to know something about the location, and what’s happening in current events and what that means for all groups that live there, not just the glimpses we are given when we’re visitors.  It might just change your perspective.
  • “A pineapple? I am overwhelmed”: I think one of the most touching scenes in the entire show is when Frau Schneider is gifted a pineapple by her gentleman caller.  Not only is it a tremendously sweet display of romance amongst two people who thought they would remain alone, but it also captures how something rare can really touch you.  Lately, I notice that people always laugh during this scene.  No one seems to realize that at the time, pineapples weren’t that readily available, were extremely rare, were a symbol of the exotic and were incredibly expensive.   Now you could walk into nearly any supermarket, probably one that’s open 24 hours and buy a pineapple anytime you feel like it.  It’s good to appreciate where our fruits and food come from, and how long they traveled to get there, and what a gift it is truly to have such fresh items full of flavor and vitamins for ourselves at any time.
  • “What good is sitting alone in your room?” Come here the music play . . . Make time for music and for enjoyment with others.  There is so much in life that can drag you down,  don’t waste your opportunities when times are better.

All my love,