‘New’ has been the recurring word when talking about the upcoming musical scenes, “Resistance, Revolution, Reconciliation! A Cabaret.” With the last cabaret being performed four years ago, Amy Budd, professor of theater and director of the show, decided to change things up, allowing the student cast more control over the music, writing and directing. 

According to some of the cast, a change in this production was a new focus on student direction, with some original work by Fatima Zahara, a junior music and theater double major and cast member.

“It’s different … from a regular musical, because normally with a regular musical you have a script, you have people who are cast as certain things and there’s no getting around the story and you … have to do what’s written,” Zahara said. “The cabaret is devised, which means we put in the songs, we made everything up. They cast us, and then we all blocked it together as a collective unit. So it’s almost entirely from the minds of students.”

Budd’s prior experience with more student-inspired work was with elementary and middle school students.

“I missed the kind of surprises that came into my world,” she said, “from the creativity of students when they’re really allowed to bring their questions and experiences and ideas to the forefront of the rehearsal process.”

Putting together a cabaret came with some unique challenges, but made way for creative freedom. Part of the challenge with this process was finding a way to connect songs that usually don’t tie together. Another difficulty in finding cohesion was connecting the many voices within the cast.

“I’ll say that the cabaret has been harder than the musical,” said Dontaye Albert, a junior theater major and cast member. “Any musical that we’ve done here so far has been a lot easier because there’s been one director and there was one person … we’re all funneling to. There are constantly so many people that have ideas and I feel like that’s just made the process a little bit harder.”

With breaking tradition and taking a new approach, Jocsan Barahona Rosales, a music and theater double major and cast member, stated that the audience “should expect some really strange, but you know, pretty interesting picks. They should expect things that — ”

“You wouldn’t expect in a musical,” Albert said, finishing Barahona Rosales’ sentence.

“A reason that I wanted to do this is that I thought Goshen College students were very capable and motivated to do high level creative work,” Budd said. “It’s important to me that young theater artists not just become assignment completers who take whatever show is offered to them and just do what they’re told. I want young artists to develop their own voices and their own agency.”

“I’m really not sure I should call myself the director,” she continued, “because the responsibility has been shared across the ensemble — and I mean that in the most delighted, loving way.”

The cabaret will be presented starting this Friday at 7:30 p.m in Umble Center and through the weekend on both Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

With reporting by Phillip Witmer-Rich