Why is high school considered such a crucial and defining point in a person’s life? That’s the question that Amalia has been asking – and answering – for her Senior Signature Project. Her query has led her on a musical journey of self-reflection, set to culminate in a one-woman cabaret performance.
“I saw many parallels between a cabaret and a Senior Signature Project,” Amalia says. In both cases, she notes, the performer or student needs to make an impact on a target audience and go through a process of self-discovery to be successful. “For both a cabaret and SSP, there’s so much self-reflection involved. Bay is really about self-reflection and the learning process, and SSP was a great opportunity to combine these values with my own interest in performing.”
Amalia’s one-woman show grapples with the various themes that characterize high school. “High school is the first time we’re responsible for making many of our own decisions…it’s challenging to make tough decisions, to choose between what’s best for you or what other people think is best. And it’s the decisions we make that really define us, rather than our successes or failures.” The show’s title, “The Invisible Yellow Brick Road,” questions the idea that there is only one path to success. “The imagery of the yellow brick road suggests that if we follow a set path, we’ll get where we want to go, wherever our own ‘Oz’ is. But what happens to those who aren’t on this path? Do our experiences in high school have to determine who we’ll become later in life?”
During a cabaret, the performer often shares personal experiences that led to why she or he chose particular songs; Amalia’s show follows a similar format. Each song explores a different pressure that high school students face, including the pressure to fit in, to achieve certain goals or to look a certain way.
As Amalia has created and rehearsed the show, her mentor has been invaluable. “My mentor is my voice coach, Scott Lacy, who is an incredible talent. He’s trained as both a pianist and singer, and is experienced in performing and music directing. His expertise constantly astounds me.” Scott’s deep knowledge of cabaret will come in handy during the performance as he’ll be accompanying Amalia during the production.
In closing, Amalia, who will attend Muhlenberg College to major in musical theater this fall, shares one last insight into the art form of cabaret: “Cabaret is different from voice recitals, where the focus is on the performer’s voice, and different from musicals, where the performers portray other characters. Cabaret is more personal and intimate, and the performer’s objective is to play themselves rather than someone else…which can be a very challenging thing! Day-to-day, we all play different versions of ourselves, and have different masks we put on. Cabaret helps us figure out who, exactly, we are.”
See Amalia’s show, “The Invisible Yellow Brick Road,” on Sunday, June 7 [please note there has been a change in date from May 24 to June 7] at 5:30 p.m. at the Hotel Rex in downtown San Francisco (562 Sutter St. at Mason St.). Admission is free, but you can email Amalia at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a seat.