Scrambling with “Cats”

Posted in Uncategorized on November 3rd, 2011 by jerry

Okay, we’re at it again.  After 30 years of creating creature-theater haven’t we had enough?  Apparently not.  This holiday season we open “Cats.”  No, it’s not your Andrew Lloyd Webber version – far from it.

In Imago’s ZooZoo we’re not trying to recreate the animal world.  We’re looking at the human condition and the animal is our vehicle.  This is not anything really new to our culture – Disney and Pixar have been doing it for decades.  What makes Imago stand out is the minimal style we bring to the stage and the use of mask theatre.

We have created over 30 original productions.   They have ranged in scale from massive multimedia to mixed forms with giant budgets and ones with small budgets for one-person plays, however nothing compares to the difficulty of creating the short form.   By short form, we mean a piece that last 3 to 5 minutes with the intent of capturing a universal slice of life.  It is painstaking and difficult work.  It is no wonder that our basement at Imago Theatre is stuffed with over half million dollars of creatures - our editing room floor.  Those creatures, however wonderful never quite found their place on the Imago stage.  A giant 25’ caterpillar that transformed into gigantic butterflies, however spectacular, couldn’t compete with a simple creature like the “Larvabatic” a worm that performs incredible acrobatic feats.

Let’s hope the “cats” find their place in the Imago world.  Only hours and weeks and months of trial (which began last spring) will determine that.   Or we might get lucky as we have with a few pieces.  The “Larvabatic” which took six months in design to create, only took three hours in rehearsal before it stole the show.

ZooZoo opens (with “Cats”) on December 8.