Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Member Spotlight: Oron Stenesh

In prelude to our upcoming Cabaret Fest on October 1st & 2nd, we will doing regular features on a handful of our members. What better way to shout out who we are and what we do.

PictureThe first without apology is Mr. Oron Stenesh; a proud Kalamazoo MI native who found his way here via New York. He has launched numerous solo pieces such as The Big 3-O, Olection, HerniO; Stories of Strains and the O Train at landmark places like the Duplex in NYC or the Bryant Lake Bowl here in town. His colorful presence is infectious. For each personal profile we are asking Why Cabaret? and also a Favorite Cabaret Moment snapshot while on stage:

Why Cabaret:
I love cabaret because it's such a personal and distinctive artistic expression. I come from a musical theater background, but I find it really fun and empowering to take the artistic reins from casting directors, artistic directors and producers and do my own show. Why sing a traditional 16 bars to try to land a supporting role in a regional production of “Hello, Dolly!” when you can reinvent “Ribbons Down My Back” as a coy uptempo about summer flirtation? I describe cabaret as theatre without the imaginary fourth wall between performer and audience. The audience is an active participant and the show works best as a conversation. And instead of in a play, when an actor takes on a role, in cabaret, the role played is one’s authentic self. How thrilling and fabulous!

As for my vibe, I like to mix it up with a variety of music – usually some music theatre tunes, some standards, a pop song here or there, tongue in cheek. I mess with the lyrics sometimes to give a song my own spin. I traditionally do a spoken word poem. And I weave this all together with stories and anecdotes from Life. This celebration of impromptu, honest thinking and creative freedom are what drew me in and keep me interested. I’m totally energized being up on stage. I love doing my thing, entertaining my audience and pushing the limits of humor and pathos with a show.

Cabaret Snapshot:
I think one of my more successful gambits was within my show Olection (which chronicled my fictional run for the presidency in 2007-08).  I did a bit about how much I love Bea Arthur and called out her roast of Pamela Anderson on Comedy Central. Bea roasted Pam in her own words, reading from Pam’s book “Star,” and it’s amazing. I figured I’d try the same, so did a dramatic reading of Sarah Palin’s book “Going Rogue.” I also rewrote the lyrics to a song from “Annie Get Your Gun” sending up Sarah and Todd and some of the ridiculous antics of late summer ’08 with “Yes, You Can Get VP With a Gun.

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