Cabaret sensation Sharron Matthews presents dark, sexy and honest stories in Full Dark: Part Deux. Earlier this year, Matthews became Buddies in Bad Times’ first-ever cabaret artist-in-residence as part of the theatre’s artist-residency program. It promotes queer performance by providing “space and time in the theatre along with dramaturgical, technical, production and administrative support,” Matthews says, noting this effectively means she has a “space to put on new stuff in front of people without the stress of solo producing.”
She took full advantage of her new position in the March workshop Full Dark, which focused on serious, edgy stories (akin to Grimms’ Fairy Tales) about topics such as bullying, dangerous sex and growing up fatherless. Matthews used a method she calls “songalogues”: like monologues but told with the aid of music from artists like Florence and the Machine, Beyoncé and the Righteous Brothers.
Full Dark’s material was only partially rehearsed, left somewhat raw so audiences could see firsthand how a performance becomes polished. Matthews presented one piece about what happens after death without knowing how it would finish, creating an ending onstage. She says she thought, “Oh my god, this is how it ends!” just before “the audience went wild!” The second installment of the show, Full Dark: Part Deux, employs the same methods but features all new material. Matthews provides an example of a piece she might do: “I think I’ll do a dark, kinky version of Little Red Riding Hood that explores the premise ‘What if she knew what she was going into the forest for?’”