For Emily Leatha Everson, the Cabaret Conference at Yale was a Golden Experience…
Going to the Cabaret Conference at Yale University in 2003 was like getting a Golden Ticket and walking into Willy Wonka’s Wonderland of Cabaret (think more Gene Wilder than Johnny Depp). Every fellow falls into the chocolate river, getting fully immersed in the art of cabaret.
You get to work with and learn from much of the very best talent in the cabaret world…performance instructors (each one a working cabaret luminary), technical mavens, and musical directors (oh, how wonderful they make you and that piano sound). And don’t forget your classmates! Their talent and insight will AMAZE you!
The experience is challenging in every way. The days are long, you want to be on the top of all your material at all times and you will process huge amounts of information. Some instructors moon all over you and others tell you exactly what you need hear (ouch!). But it is a challenge that many of us crave as artists and are ready to meet like Veruca going for that goose that lays the Golden Egg.
My advice to anyone going to the conference is to steady yourself for elation and heartbreak, especially for when you are emotionally spent. Practice your most convincing “smile and nod.” There is no harm in trying to fully understand a comment from an instructor…but never argue. I saw a few classmates try that and it never turned out well. Just smile and nod. Pack away your ego, keep what you can use and let all the rest of it go.
I walked away more confident. I became more of a professional and learned better habits. Every participant introduced enriching ideas and worlds of material. Best of all, the experience changed me in many ways that I can’t articulate…I was just a better.
I heard Leo Buscaglia say “You can’t give what you don’t already have.” Yale gave me a wonderful opportunity to acquire more so that I could have more to give. Get yourself well prepared you’ll have a golden chance to make your way!