Cabaret, an annual event presented by Lawrence International (LI) and the international student community, has been one of the most anticipated performances in the Lawrence community. The 40th annual Cabaret will take place on Saturday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 10 at 3 p.m. after a long period of preparation which began last Fall Term. The annual student performance features dances, instrumental and vocal performances and fashion from around the world.
More than 100 students, including domestic and international students and even friendship families, have joined in preparing this large event since the Fall Term. The board members of LI planned ahead to review the previous performances of Cabaret, book the Stansbury Theatre and overview the general sequence of the future performances. The hard work finally starts when the performers take part in Cabaret by practicing and embodying the performance. Through the hard work of planning and practicing, Cabaret offers students a chance to experience the different cultures on campus and represent the significance of their own.
“All these students, both international and domestic, come together from different backgrounds and different countries to collaborate to put up the show,” said sophomore and Community Building Chair Tamanna Akram, from Bangladesh. “I think Cabaret shows a good example of collaboration, something Lawrence is really proud of.”
“I think it is the perfect time for other students to learn other culture,” added Jordanian freshman Jawad Alweleidat, who is also performing in the Jordanian performance. LI board members and performers, including Akram and Alweleidat, value the cultural significance and collaboration of both domestic and international students.
By emphasizing cultural significance, Cabaret also provides an excellent opportunity for international students to represent their own countries as well as others. South Korean junior and LI Publicity Manager, Peter Kim initially joined the fashion show last year and now helps represent the Bangladeshi and Jordanian culture by dancing and wearing their traditional clothing.
“This year, I’m on the LI board to help out with the stage, two fashion shows—South Korean and Bangladesh—and two dances—K-Pop and Jordanian,” said Kim. Although preparing the several different performances at once may seem overwhelming and time-consuming, he said it is still fun and worthwhile to contribute to cultural diversity of Lawrence University.
Like Kim, many students first take part in presenting the traditional clothing of different countries and then extend their involvement by becoming backstage staff, dancers and so forth. The process of preparing Cabaret itself conveys the important value of cooperation and cultural diversity by allowing many people to engage in the preparation.
Cabaret does not only entertain with riveting, unique performances, but also helps the audience contemplate the meaning of culture and enshrine the value of cooperation and unity in the Lawrence community. Discussing the cultural diversity of Cabaret, Nepalese junior and LI President Bimalsen Rajbhandari also highlighted the educational aspect of the show.
“Even in Jordan, there are many different identities in that small community,” said Rajbhandari. “Even though we put up a Jordanian performance, we don’t think we can fully convey what the whole country is thinking about. This particular performance only represents the tiny fraction of each country and obviously the whole world.”
Cabaret helps people understand cultural differences, even those embedded within a single country, and revisit the true meaning of culture itself. As many people have endeavored to prepare this large event, LI board members and performers believe this upcoming show will indeed pay off by offering a fascinating cultural experience to all of its audiences.