Friday, July 23, 2010

Cats in Manila: pre-gala press peek

Of all days, YouTube decides to be unreliable today, when I have a bunch of fresh video clips for uploading, taken during the final presscon for Cats in Manila before it opens tomorrow, July 24.

Somehow the uploads always get aborted midway through. Freaky--and frustrating. The clips include three musical numbers performed on the spectacular set now about to greet theatergoers at the CCP Main Theater--Lea singing a snippet of Memory from Act 1, John O'Hara slinking his way through Rum Tum Tugger, and the entire cast performing a bit of Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats.

I blame this part from Jellicle Songs for hopelessly hooking me on the soundtrack many moons ago. The parade of descriptives was, to a boy in high school in love with words, charming and ingenious, and a witty way to introduce the quirky conceit of the play--that while this was ostensibly about cats, they were actually stand-ins for a society and ecology of a more human kind. Us in fur. So you get the whole variety: Practical cats, dramatical cats, pragmatical cats, fanatical cats, oratorical cats, Delphi-oracle cats, skeptical cats, dyspeptical cats; romantical cats, pedantical cats, critical cats, parasitical cats, allegorical cats, metaphorical cats, statistical cats and mystical cats, political cats, hypocritical cats, clerical cats, hysterical cats, cynical cats, rabbinical cats... (Recognize yourself there somewhere?)

Anyway, the vids later, if dang YouTube rights itself. Some other highlights via pictures:

A portion of Cats-Manila's ticket sales was pledged to the Philippine National Red Cross. After the sneak performances, Red Cross chairman Rosa Rosal went onstage to receive the check donation amounting to P2.3 million pesos, which was handed to her by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions (aka Cats producer) CEO James Cundall, along with his local counterparts Francis Lumen of All Youth Channels and Bambi Verso of Concertus. Sarah Meier hosted the short program.

Lea, with John Ellis (Old Deuteronomy), Shaun Rennie (Munkustrap) and John O'Hara (Rum Tum Tugger) at the brief press conference in the lobby after the sneak performances. It took a while for them to emerge from backstage, since it wasn't easy to get out of their elaborate costumes and makeup. The actors need at least two hours every time to put them on, said O'Hara. And the performers do the makeup themselves. In the beginning, a makeup artist does one half of their faces, then they have to learn to replicate the look on the other half. That usually leads to some strange-looking cats, said O'Hara, especially when the show has new cast members just getting the hang of the routine.

Gone are the Cinemalaya banners and buntings of as late as last week. In their place, the iconic black and yellow motif of the world's longest-running musical now dominate the spaces of CCP, including the dinky food kiosk at the corner of the Main Theater lobby, now completely redone. These guys are nothing if not thorough.

The show runs until August 22 at the CCP's Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. Call the ticket hotline (+63-2) 8919999 or visit


beektur said...

Ah, the poetry of TS Eliot. Pero for a production in Pinas bakit walang isiningit na siopao at siomai cats? :D

Anonymous said...

Hi Gibbs,

Are the video clips online yet?


Anonymous said...

it is good na may mga staging ng foreign groups sa pinas. some theater groups do not really like this pero it gives a chance to educate our audience on how a technically polished show really looks like. it is good na kumikita ang cats, malay mo next time, into the woods na by an australian group. or cabaret.

Anonymous said...

May buzz na phantom daw ang sunod! Kinikilig ako. sana totoo. hehe

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