Monday, 25 June 2012

Alisha starring in "Cabaret"

In years past I've mentioned my young pal Alisha, who is a fantastic singer, dancer and gosh-darn-it Nice Catholic Single Girl. I love her to pieces and the clip of her singing "Defying Gravity" I've put up below always makes me cry. Something to do with being a Catholic artist...sob...sniffle. There's more recent performances on Youtube, too.

Anyway, I don't do adverts, but if you are in Montreal or near Montreal (like in Vermont! Or Boston! Or Toronto!) I urge you to see Alisha in Cabaret. She's just gotten a rave review in the Montreal Gazette.

Maybe some of you have read about her already in the Catholic Register. I'll add a clip of her dancing, too. Nobody I know can sing and dance like Alisha. She's simply amazing.



Man, I wish I were in Montreal this week. But that is certainly a new look for you, Alisha!


Jen D said...

She is wonderful! Looks like that will be a great show; unfortunately I am nowhere near Montreal either.

Sarah said...

Hm, giving the label "Catholic artist" to an actress currently starring as Sally Bowles, a promiscuous cabaret dancer who eventually has an abortion behind the child's father's back may not really give the right, um... impression of what Catholic Artists-- as opposed to Artists-who-are-Catholic-- are, or should be.

Not that I blame her for taking the role. I would, had I a scrap of stage talent, and Sally Bowles is, in general, a fascinating and even likable character. But though Alisha may be a Catholic and an artist, I don't think the two exactly intersect in this case.

But, anyway, kudos to her for landing (and apparently nailing) such a big role!

Seraphic said...


Sally Bowles is a CHARACTER in a play about how corrupt and immoral and despairing Germany was in the 1920s and 1930s. At no point does "Cabaret" suggest that Sally Bowles is a right-on role model.

Seraphic said...

And I can assure you that Alisha, whom I have known for about 10 years, is a very orthodox, orthoprax Catholic indeed. Perhaps if you read the Catholic Register article...?

Alisha said...

Thanks for the plug, Seraphic!

Re: the acceptability of playing Sally Bowles, it's definitely an understandable point, you bring up, Sarah. There are many things I consider before taking on a character or doing a show. The main thing is - what does the piece say, overall, about reality, about truth? Is there redemption? If not, why?
My question to you would be this: why is it problematic to play such a character? Such characters exist in the world - there are women who have abortions, who are promiscuous, etc etc. As an artist I have a responsibility to tell the truth, to act the truth of these things. As a Christian, I have a responsibility to the overarching Truth of reality, which is personified in Christ. That may not be possible in an explicit way at all times, but I have to make sure that I am not part of something that tells a lie.
Seraphic pretty much already said it but here is my take on the piece:
Cabaret tells the truth backwards. In other words, the consequences of the characters decisions hardly show their decisions to be morally neutral. The audience is supposed to see in Sally a likeable version of themselves or many people in society. She is loveable because she is so vulnerable, so lost, so naive. She is also, at the end of the play - after losing the person she loved (however imperfectly), after killing her own child, after ignoring the mounting evil around her in the Nazi party, utterly bereft and devastated. Her decision to ignore the truth and her inability to recognize love, accept it, her brokenness - partly her fault, partly due to her ignorance, results in death.
To me, this paints a clear picture of what we are when we are without Christ: we are bound to make a mess of things.
The brilliance of Sally is that we can understand why she makes the choices she does, and still love her - and yet she is a warning against escapism.

Alisha said...

I recently had the possibility of auditioning for a new musical being workshopped. The role was of a "virgin courtesan", a highly moral character who sacrifices herself for those around her, and whose virtue is going to be compromised if her friends don't rescue her. She is a far more laudable character in than Sally. However, I could not in good conscience participate in the show because of how it portrayed the church - as repressive, an organization that hides the truth, and does not bring freedom. In that sense, it tells more of a lie than Cabaret, which paints a true picture of what the world looks like without the redemptive action of a Saviour, what happens when we ignore truth, when we are dancing as Cliff says, fast asleep.

Canadian Doc said...

Must Catholic Artists only portray nuns, then, to send the right message? I have to agree with Seraphic on this one.

Sarah said...

Alisha, thanks for your explanation. :) And I agree, that there's nothing wrong with bringing to light-- through art, or any other means-- an ugly truth.

To Seraphic and Canadian Doc... I already said I didn't blame her for taking the role. I just meant I didn't know if "Catholic Artist" was the right label, here. No harm meant. I'm not vilifying Alisha, just giving my opinion, so everyone can chill out. ;)

Seraphic said...

Well, you see, names and identities are powerful, personal things. And Catholic artists are constantly attacked by other artists for being Catholic and by Catholics for being artists.

Also, "she's not a writer, she's just somebody who writes" is a classic put-down, so "She's not a Catholic artist, she's an artist-who-is-a-Catholic" also looks like a put-down. Fighting words, in fact. Although we were not attacking you (whom we don't know, unlike Alisha you are untraceable, and all but anonymous) but your idea that it would be inappropriate to define our friend (and family member) as a Catholic artist.

We all had a big discussion about Catholic artists just a few days ago, so that is another context.