I was awakened by the loud mewling and yowling of cats this morning. Yes, these were a cantankerous lot, the kind that are most likely to scratch your eyes out and bite you with razor-sharp teeth. They are also rather spoiled, as I could not, for the life of me, get angry at them. And as much as I wanted to throw my shoe at them to shut their yaps, you see, they had every right to get mad.
What was the fuss about? Well, they’re mad because I did not bring them to watch CATS.
Yes, CATS the Musical has finally made it to Manila.
It wasn’t really my idea to leave them home. Blame A and Alex, who both didn’t want to be seen carrying small furry creatures of the stuffed kind. If I had my way, I’d have lugged all of them around and posed them everywhere for pictures the way I used to. However, common sense ruled my head (why? oh, why?) and I decided to have them stay home and simply watch the DVD. Big mistake, it seems now, especially when this unruly clowder* threatens to wake up the whole household with their loud, desperate cries.
“We want to watch CATS! ” cried the Chrissy the cat, obviously the most belligerent and most dramatic (takes after her namesake, I think) of the lot.
“We are CATS too!”shouted Kitty Beethree, the youngest and a certified crybaby.
“Cats for CATS! CATS for Cats!” they chanted in unison.
My, I have a full-scale cat strike in my household. I turn my head and see the Bee sisters adamantly waving our used tickets to the show. They insist I buy them new tickets, persistent kitties, they are.
Kitties White, Cory, and Chrissy, on the other hand, try to appeal to my good nature by impressing me with their most outrageous Jellicle garb for the show. But wait, kittens, why are you dressed like Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker and Sleeping Beauty? You must be in the wrong show!
It must be tough on them, knowing that the run of CATS (Now and Forever) in Manila will end in eleven days. Tickets are hard to come by as shows are always full and tickets are sold out, from its opening on July 24 to its final show on August 22. When A, Alex, and I watched last Friday night, CCP’s Main Theater was filled to the rafters. We had good seats for the show (orchestra, right, six rows down) so we had quite a lot of interaction with the cast members. Mr. Mistoffelees even flicked his tail a few times in A’s face (good thing A didn’t end up coughing a hair ball) and we got to see the cats up close, with their fabulous make-up and wonderful costumes. When the cats sang these lines: “Do I actually see with my own very eyes/A man who’s not heard of a Jellicle cat?/What’s a Jellicle cat? What’s a Jellicle cat?” they all pointed to A, causing him to shift and squirm uncomfortably in his seat, haha. As for me, I think I had my mouth open in awe the whole time as I marveled at how lifelike, ehr, catlike, their costumes were.
I can’t single out a favorite cat in the entire show. They were all very impressive and in full command of the stage. Ms. Lea Salonga performed the role of Grizabella the Glamour Cat and did it with the ease of an old stagehand. Always technically proficient, she brought the audience to near tears as she sang “Memory.” John O’Hara as Rum Tum Tugger and Adrian Ricks as Mr. Mistoffelees stole the show with Rum Tum Tugger’s lovable swagger and Mistoffelees’ magical dancing feet. Was I the only one who noticed that Adrian Ricks never sang, not a word? He let his whole body- his face, his head, his waist, hips, arms and legs- do the work for him and he was absolutely superb. And lastly, there was Alyse Jai Davies as Sillabub, who was met with thunderous applause when she stood up and sang the poet Pete Lacaba’s Filipino adaptation of Memory (Moonlight/Turn your face to the moonlight/Let your memory lead you/Open up, enter in/If you find there the meaning of what happiness is/Then a new life will begin):
Liwanag, harapin ang liwanag
Ang iyong ala-ala ang gabay na sundin
Sa liwanag, ligaya ay matatagpuan
Bagong buhay ay darating
I sang along with the songs of the show, the lyrics suddenly coming alive in my head as years of CATS indoctrination finally came into good use. I remember long afternoons when my younger sister played the musical on cassette tape over and over again, such that even now, I still know much of the libretto by heart. Seeing CATS come alive for me and sharing this experience with my son and husband was another dream come true. It was just too bad that the “real” cats couldn’t come, heehee.
*clowder- group of cats, also “clutter”; larger groups can be called a “clan” whereas babies from the same mother is a “litter”