The Yale Summer Cabaret, the artistic home for Yale School of Drama students since 1968, wants you to join their band of sinners…and enjoy every indulgent and decadent moment of the journey. They want you to experience sinful pleasures so much they are dedicating their whole summer to the exploration. The Seven Deadly Sins are your assignment and your homework should be deliciously evil.Catch up first and get a sense of SLOTH, a failure to act or exert yourself, an avoidance of any physical or spiritual work. Unfortunately, you may have missed the Sloth party on May 27 so you will have to exert yourself somewhat to cross it off your dance card of sins. At the season opener, party goers ate, drank and made merry.Run right along before the sin of GLUTTONY escapes your grasp. Open your mouth wide and take a deep breathe to slide down the rabbit hole with Alice in “Alice in Wonderland.” Until Sunday, June 19, Sydney Lemmon’s curiouser and curiouser heroine gives chase to the White Rabbit and has a series of misadventures and mischief with all your favorite Lewis Carroll characters from the March Hare to the Mad Hatter, Humpty Dumpty to the Dormouse, the Caterpillar to the Cheshire Cat. Jesse Rasmussen directs this strongly charming version where Alice, willingly and not so much, gulps and swallows, nibbles and chews her way to an identity crisis of the first order.With co-artistic director Elizabeth Dinkova, the 2016 summer season has been described as being “incredibly alive and so present. We are building an environment that is playful, fun and lots of laughs.” The cast of Alice also includes Marie Botha, Paul Cooper, Ricardo Davila, Patrick Foley and Bronte England-Nelson. Future productions will feature Yagil Eliraz, Emily Reeder, Rebecca Hampe and Steven Lee Johnson, among others.
This version of the classic has been adapted by the Manhattan Project under the direction of Andre Gregory. Rasmussen calls this “a slightly different iteration, one that is elastic and alive. Part of the joy of adaptation is knowing we put our imprint on the text. Even Lewis Carroll appears in several guises to incorporate the author’s voice. The original text is sliced to make room for the talented ensemble to create an original interpretation, to make it their own.”
PRIDE will be explored in a special event, a one night reading of Tori Sampson’s “Cadillac Crew” on Friday, June 24. If you think you are better than others, more worthy and important and exhibit an excessive belief in ourself, you are experiencing vanity or pride. In this intense reading, travel back to the 1960’s in Virginia with women of color, a trio from Yale Rep’s recent Shakespearian offering of “Cymbeline,” including Chalia La Tour, Miriam A. Hyman and Sheria Irving, to explore the Civil Rights Movement as these women find their voices of activism. A talk back with the playwright will follow this dramatic and fresh offering.Next up, to incorporate the sin of GREED, is the debut production of “Antarctica! Which Is To Say Nowhere” by Yale School of Drama student Miranda Rose Hall and directed by Elizabeth Dinkova from Thursday, June 30 to Sunday, July 10. Called a tragic comedy and farce, it takes an unhappy American couple who feel colonizing Antarctica is the answer to their problems and will ultimately save their lives. Dinkova describes it as “Macbeth-like but with lots of talking animals, like penquins. There’s war, climate changes and an extreme grotesque disaster. Terrible things happen but it envelopes music, dance, chaos and fun,” while at the same time it encompasses the sin of desire to possess material wealth and avarice.ENVY: The Concert is slated for Friday, July 15 with Fred Kennedy and Chris Ross-Ewart, with a merry band of deadly sinners, revving up for avenging of a “musical exploration of longing,” that insatiable desire of coveting and desiring possessions that rightly belong to someone else.Elizabeth Dinkova will also put her stamp on WRATH, a sin that will be wrapped up in the North American premiere of “Adam Geist” by Dea Loher, as translated from the German by David Tushingham, from Thursday, July 21 to Saturday, July 30. Anger, rage and hatred and the loss of love in favor of fury are abundant in this tale of a young man “cast out and abandoned by his family who takes an epic journey to try to redeem himself. He keeps making mistakes as he struggles against constraints in contemporary society, experiencing stints with drugs, as a fire fighter, in the Foreign Legion and even religion.”The sin of LUST will be tackled in Sarah Kane’s “Phaedra’s Love,” directed by Jesse Rasmussen, from Thursday, August 4 to Sunday, August 14. Here an inappropriate sexual desire, between a royal mother for her stepson, goes wildly out of control. The Queen seeks pleasures of the flesh that can only lead to disaster. The co-artistic director describes this play as “going darker and darker, deeper and deeper” into the world of temptation, the Circles of Hell where Kane “satirizes the royal family, the monarchy and power in general, ripping open the nature of love.” This black comedy is called “disturbing, guaranteed to shock open veins and be totally exhilarating.”Completing the talented team are Emily Reeder as Producing Director and Sam Linden as General Manager. For tickets ($30, Yale faculty $25, students $15) call the Yale Summer Cabaret, 217 Park Street, New Haven at 203-432-1567 or go online to firstname.lastname@example.org. Flex 4 and 8 passes are also available. Performances are Thursday at 8 pm, Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 7 pm and 10 pm and Sunday at 8 pm.The co-directors are proud to point out, without slipping into the sin of pride too deeply, that this summer’s season includes a trio of plays written by women and with an international flavor to boot (to boast). Come up to an hour and a half before the performance and enjoy a gourmet meal, courtesy of chef Anna Belcher. Selections from the Eat Me menu include a spicy watermelon gazpacho ($6), mushrooms stuffed with pesto ($7), beef with duchess potatoes ($19) and White Rabbit carrot cake ($6), among others. 45 minutes before showtime, a pre-show will be offered involving music or conversation. The intimate basement space invites a camaraderie,where you share your table with strangers who become new friends. Your waiter this week can be the star of next week’s production. Committing sins has never been more fun.