Cabaret includes a lot of action on a stage in a nightclub. We wanted it to feel seedy, but also a little old-world. Wood and wood beams with red drapes and brick seemed to be the right combination of textures. Footlights built into the stage floor allowed flashy yet old-fashioned effects, as well as the ability to make people look ghastly and attractive all at once. They were under a metal grill so that they could be stepped on safely. Small set props like a bed and tables and chairs came and went from upstage to create apartments and hotel rooms, with simple lighting effects providing places like train cars.
There were cabaret tables at the extreme back corners of the audience areas, with entrances near them. When the setting was the club, the entire theatre became the club. At other times, the stage was a place for normal dramatic action, and the fourth wall came down.