Thinking globally and acting locally is the goal for University of La Verne’s Theater Arts new interterm class Green Cabaret taught by Director of Theater Steven Kent. Kent currently teaches several theater classes including Introduction to Theater and Acting Studio, in which he teaches students like Jalysa Harris basic theater fundamentals. Green Cabaret will focus on world issues like global warming, war, racism and sexism. The class will conclude with an original musical written by the students. The show is scheduled for the first two weekends in February, so that students and faculty can see the finished result.
Green Cabaret – a theater class that will create an original musical dealing with such issues as global warming, ecological devastation, war, erosion of civil liberties, racism, sexism and homophobia – will be coming to the University of La Verne during January interterm.
Director of Theater Steven Kent created and will be teaching the Green Cabaret class.
“I think we are in a critical stage in our planet,” Kent said. “Theater is a tool for social change.”
Throughout his career Kent has used theater as a tool for progressive social change. His past projects include “Tender,” a play about the death of a mother from pollution in the workplace; and “The Montana Gay and Lesbian Story Project,” which helped to get a repressive Montana law declared unconstitutional.
Another play he directed titled helped to create awareness of women and AIDS in Los Angeles.
Kent has been involved with many other projects dealing with racism, war and other controversial issues.
“Confronted with such huge issues, we are often overwhelmed by confusion and daunted by a sense of powerlessness,” Kent said. “It’s time we do something about the state of the world.”
The purpose of Green Cabaret is to “provide knowledge, to make the connections between issues, and to stimulate a sense of anger, common cause, humor and hope which will galvanize the participants and the audience to direct action,” according to the flier advertising the class.
Theater and music have been and are utilized by many people around the world as a means to spread messages and move people to act, Kent said.
They have a long history of effectiveness in social movements, Kent said.
The arts have the power to “create understanding and empathy, to inform and inspire,” the flier reads.
Examples include the gospels sung by the slaves during the Civil War or the music of 1960s against the Vietnam War, Kent said.
Kent said the final show will deal with difficult issues in a comedic-musical way; it will be a nightclub kind of show.
Students need not be theater majors or minors to participate in the Green Cabaret project.
No previous experience in theater is required to join the class.
“(This class) gives students not involved in theater a chance to be involved,” Kent said.
The students involved will write their own musical and it will be “totally original,” Kent said.
“It will give students the chance to take initiative to do their own theater ,” he said.
Many students at the university are already showing interest.
“It’s interesting how people use theater to raise awareness about controversial issues going on in the world today,” Becky Martinez, freshman psychology major, said.
Sophomore Elizabeth Landin agrees.
“Theater to raise awareness is a good way to reach and move you,” she said.
“Actually it’s pretty interesting that Kent can mix music and theater to send out a message,” Jennifer Romero, a freshman psychology major, said.
The production will be shown in Dailey Theatre during the first two weekends of February.
The class will be offered for four units and is listed as Theater 410.
For more information about the class, call Steven Kent at (909) 593-3511, ext. 4557 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maria J. Velasco can be reached at email@example.com.