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Roxy Van Beek

first performed on May 19, 2012
Ceol Bar, Brooklyn, NY
performed once in 2012


Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Gregory Crosby, Leah Umansky

Cambridge, MA / Brooklyn and Manhattan, NY


Come explore our literary treasure boxes and find dashes of dialogue, discussion quenchers, prompts ripe for picking, and other surprises. Your hosts, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Rita Banerjee, Gregory Crosby and Leah Umansky will be calling up volunteer readers/performers to the mic every ten minutes for interludes of poetry, 45-second rants, character sketches, and the like. This is a literary masquerade where you don’t know which character from which century will make the next appearance!

The Cambridge Writer’s Workshop Literary Cabaret was part of the 2012 Brooklyn Lit Crawl, which took place in New York on May 19, 2012. The purpose of the event was to bring a new kind of performance style and spontaneity to the act of reading and disseminating poetry. Rather than have performers recite poems to a captive audience, our cabaret hosts navigated the tables and spaces around Ceol Bar to actively engage the audience’s participation.

Audience members were yanked from their seats and asked to recite a poem they pulled out from a magic hat on the spot, or to choose and act out a 13-word horror story. Members of the audience were welcomed to wear masks and read aloud any poems of their own or any that they found under props near their tables. Cabaret hosts also made best use of the space. Diana Norma Szokolayai read a poem in the character of Edgar Allan Poe, Gregory Crosby asked audience members to pick from a black box a chilling 13-word horror story, and engaged in a battle of wills with audience members as to who had the most sinister story to tell. Leah Umansky engaged in duel-dialogue poems, and Rita Banerjee brought theatricality to the house by doing spoken-word performances around a billiard table about paper men, Gustav Klimt and Sweet Georgia Brown.

Audience members also got up from their seats to join in at intervals. One audience member pretended to be lying on his death bed as he read. Another jumped from chair to chair as he read his poem aloud. All in all, it was a spectacular night for poetry, spoken words and the power of the human voice as cabaret music played softly in the background.