Curtain of Light, Tilted Mirror

Keith Garebian

in The Making of Cabaret

Second edition

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199732494
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894482 | DOI:
Curtain of Light, Tilted Mirror

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Because of an epiphany he experienced in Moscow's Taganka Theater, Harold Prince was able to find his central metaphor that was appropriate not only to German society in the Third Reich but to America in the sixties as well. This chapter explains how Prince was able to achieve the physical look of his musical through the lighting design of Jean Rosenthal and the set design of Boris Aronson. Rosenthal's clever lighting demarcated two worlds: the real world (the cabaret scenes and the book scenes), and the limbo area (the mind). The Emcee's material was divided between scenes in the cabaret and metaphorical numbers representing changes in the German mind. Aronson extended Prince's central metaphor by a mirror tilted over the stage to reflect both the performers and the audience. This was the greatest visual coup because it forced audiences to interrogate their own relationship to the play's political and moral significance.

Keywords: Harold Prince; epiphany; Taganka Theater; lighting and set design; Jean Rosenthal; Boris Aronson; Kit Kat Klub; real and limbo areas; tilted mirror

Chapter.  4785 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Popular Music

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