Washington DC was fortunate in the last century to have Margie Seides appearing regularly in town. Although she has moved to New York, she is returning to perform at Blues Alley, Tuesday, 14 October. I feel very lucky that she has consented to do an interview for this blog:
1. Please describe a “perfect” cabaret experience that you’ve had.
I did my show at Signature Theater. The morning of the show I woke up with a temperature of 103. Right before I went on stage I threw up twice. It was the best show I ever did—wasn’t nervous—-wasn’t listening to myself—-I was exactly in the moment all the way through—a perfect cabaret experience.
2. What is a recent song you’ve been struggling with? Have you won yet?
Many of my songs are very wordy and intense. My Husband and I Decided To Take A Car Trip Through New England is one of them. It’s a very theatrical song (kind of a little 3 character play) and I struggle to find the arc while staying in the moment, remembering the lyrics and not rushing frantically towards the end so I can get it over with. I love the song but I’m always worrying about screwing it up. I can’t say that I’ve won the battle yet, and not sure that I ever will. In a way a little bit of a struggle keeps me on my toes while I sing it—-a good thing!!
3. The relationship between a singer and the musical director really is a “cabaret marriage.” What are the keys to making the marriage work? And for the times you need to work with a surrogate, what are the steps you take to get quickly on the same page?
Paul Trueblood and I really do have a cabaret marriage. We’ve been working together for almost 12 years and we adore each other!! Like any marriage the key to making it work is communication and dedication to the offspring (in this case, the show). Paul is a particularly important part of my show. Aside from the music there is a lot of bantering that goes on between us. I’ve never had to do the show with anyone else but I think one thing that might be important regarding working with a surrogate would be to have a book that is exceptionally clear around both music and patter.
There is a moment right before I fall asleep at night that feels particularly delicious. It’s kind of on the edge of conscious and unconscious where I am absolutely relaxed and comfortable. I often conjure up that image as I perform. It helps keep me relaxed and grounded.
5. What is the most pressing need the world of cabaret has today?
The most pressing need the world of cabaret has today is to keep both the public and performers passionate for the art form. In this very technical world the intimacy of cabaret is something we must treasure and nurture.
+1 As someone who is a trained therapist, other than the 50-minute timeframe, what other links to do see between psychology and cabaret?
Certainly communication with the audience /patient is a similarity. On the other hand, with a show it is I who does all the work. In therapy I talk less and the patient talks more. Empathy is a big similarity—In order to connect with an audience or patient you must be able to sense their mood. That is key!!!
Margy Seides, psychotherapist, life coach and singer/comedienne has maintained both a hospital and private practice in the areas of schizophrenia, personality disorder, substance abuse and cardiac illness. In 1991, Ms. Seides was a recipient of the Washington Psychoanalytic Foundation Research Prize. Ms. Seides has been performing her one woman show for the past 11 years in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC, where she appears regularly at the legendary Blue’s Alley. She has been active in the fight against AIDS and has given benefit performances in New York (G.M.H.C.), Philadelphia (A.S.I.A.C.) and Washington, DC (Food for Friends).Ms. Seides was a 1997 Eugene O’Neil Cabaret Symposium Fellow, and a 2004 Yale Cabaret Symposium Fellow. This past summer she was chosen as one of seven participants from across the country to participate in a weeklong performance workshop at the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts Center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Ms.Seides lives in New York City.