July 20, 2018 | ° F

Rutgers students showcase unique talents on 'R Factor'


A small gathering of students gathered for Cabaret Theatre’s presentation of "The R Factor" on Friday night. "The R Factor" is a talent show based off of the hit network television show, "The X Factor."

"The X Factor" generally only focuses on musical acts, such as individual artists and vocal groups, but "The R Factor" was open to other types of talent. The talent showcased were stand up comedy routines and last-minute improv skits. The evening only had three performances scheduled, but all in attendance were lucky enough to observe the nine acts of Rutgers students displaying their talents.

The performances were judged by a panel of judges assembled to represent the on-campus theatre community. The panel consisted of artistic directors and executive board members of multiple on-campus drama organizations. 

The competitive nature of the event was not that fierce. It was more of an opportunity for the contestants to show their abilities to their peers, regardless of their level of expertise.

“I think the reason why we do it as Cabaret is we are a student-run organization, and we really want any class level participant to get involved,” Markus Robinson-States, Cabaret Theatre’s Artistic Director and School of the Arts and Sciences senior, said. “We want students to really have a way to put themselves out there, and I believe student theatre is a great way to do that.”

The evening had one performer that truly is a hidden gem of the Rutgers community. Lawrence Maceren, a School of Engineering sophomore, stole everyone’s breathe through his own artistic interpretation of the cycle stack. If you remember, cycle stack is a gym class favorite that is part of the game "Speed Stacks."  

Since cup stacking was the a part of the night’s highlight, that can only mean two things. The night’s performances were either lackluster, or the cup-stacking ability of the contestant was absolutely breathtaking. In an array of color coordination and perfectly choreographed stacking to “The Cup Song” from "Pitch Perfect," Maceren managed to impress Cabaret’s small crowd.

“Back in 2010, I was third place in cycle stack at the world championship," Maceren said. "In 2011, I placed eighth at the world championships. In 2013, I placed fourth at the national championship and finally in spring 2015, I placed third at the world championship in Montreal.” 

It is no surprise that Maceren was granted as the evening's winner, with John Watson, a School of the Arts and Sciences senior, being crowned second for his multiple stand-up routines. Both were awarded gift cards, an assortment of miscellaneous bedroom supplies and office supplies.

Cabaret set out to host this event in hopes of having Rutgers' students talents be exhibited. In that aspect, the evening was a complete success.

“People have such unique and diverse talents," Maceren said. It’s important that everyone has a place to show them off.” 

Nick Demarest

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