By Emily J. Weitz
The idea of a variety show feels nostalgic. These days, a night out usually means choosing between music, theatre, dance, or comedy. But the idea of The Eclectic Cabaret, a production of Our Fabulous Variety Show (OFVS), means you don’t have to choose. OFVS is bringing it back to the classic variety show, and the core players who participate in the OFVS productions each bring unique talents to the stage.
“We have a lot of different styles,” explains Kasia Klimiuk, who founded Our Fabulous Variety Show in 2010 with Anita Boyer. “We have a core group of players, and then we have featured acts. As performers we all did so much, and we wanted to create a platform to showcase our talents.”
Originally, the show was supposed to be a one-time thing. Klimiuk and Boyer were planning to run a half-marathon in Las Vegas to benefit Crohn’s Disease and Colitis, and they needed to raise money. So in the fall of 2010, they pulled together their friends and they put on a show at the Southampton Cultural Center. They raised about $3,000 for their cause, and they realized the demand was there.
So was the supply. There is an abundance of talented people here on the East End, eager to share their gifts. From Samantha Slithers the snake charmer to whip master Rick Gold, there are plenty of shows that simply don’t fit into the neat boxes of music, theatre, dance, or comedy. They come together now, in their sixth production for a cause since 2010. This year, the performance will benefit Your Day Away, a non-profit that gives a day of pampering and relaxing to parents of children with special needs.
Our Fabulous Variety Show is also a great outlet for young performers from local schools who are looking to take their craft to the next level. Rebecca Dwoskin, a Pierson student who has been in several high school theatre productions, is now a player with the OFVS team, and she’s thrilled to be a part of it.
“I love trying different things,” says Dwoskin, “and OFVS is just so fun, unique and it really is a blast to be a part of. As a performer, OFVS has shown me many different aspects of performing that I didn’t even know were options.”
Rick Gold plays the role of whip master, which is something he never really envisioned himself doing. Not the whip part, but the performance part. As for the whip, Gold has been interested in bull whips since he was a kid.
“I was 11 or 12 years old when I read ‘Exodus’,” he recalls, “which is about the influx of Jewish refugees into Israel. There was a character who fought with a bull whip, and being a 98 pound weakling, it sparked my imagination.”
He didn’t do much about it, but when he was 18, Gold visited family in Montana, where you can buy a bull whip at any local hardware store.
“I bought one, he says, “and I started to practice. I hurt myself many times by hitting myself in the back of the head. Then, it went into storage. Many years later, I saw a mail order catalogue on how to do rodeo style whip cracking.”
He was back in the game. Gold usually practices his whip cracking in the privacy of his own back yard, and he compares the exercise he gets from it to a Tai Chi practice. In that way, it’s a very personal practice. But Gold is also a photographer (he has a show coming up at the Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton in July).
Last year, he got involved with an annual show at Asahawagh Hall called Love and Passion. The bull whip made an appearance in his work, and other participants in the show were intrigued.
“When people saw the whip, they wanted to see what I could do with it,” he says.
Two of those interested individuals were Klimiuk and Boyer, and when they saw Gold perform, they asked if he wanted to participate in their variety shows.
“I got roped into this,” says Gold, “and it’s just a joy. I see this variety show as two hours of joy. Two hours of people expressing the joy of living. From many different view points from romantic to exuberant to enthusiastic, it’s about sharing a celebration of life.”
Our Fabulous Variety Show’s Eclectic Cabaret will take place this Thursday and Friday, June 20 and 21, at 8pm at Guild Hall at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. Proceeds will benefit Your Day Away (www.yourdayaway.org). Tickets can be purchased at http://ofvs.brownpapertickets.com or by visiting www.ourfabulousvarietyshow.org.