“Cats” by Andrew Lloyd Webber, director. Jakub Szydłowski at the Entertainment Theater in Chorzow. Magdalena Mikrut-Majeranek writes on the portal Teatrologia.info.
photo: Arthur Wacławek / material. theater
Cats They seized the theater in Chorzow! On a moonlit night, under the cover of darkness, they secretly took to the local stage and will not leave it for long. True, because it is one of the best performances of this season in the theaters of Silesia. Costumes combined with beautifully decorated choreographic bombs and beautiful vocals are a spectacle that will not go unnoticed.
Webber’s musical performances are considered one of the greatest commercial successes in history. World premiere Cats It took place in 1981 at the New London Theater in London, and the Broadway play appeared a year and a half later. In 18 years Cats it has been shown there almost seven and a half thousand times. Polish audiences were able to see the play only in 2004 at the Roman Musical Theater in Warsaw, directed by Wojciech Kępczyński, and already in 2007 it was removed from the billboard. Now it’s time for the Chorzów version. It should be added that Entertainment is the second theater in Poland to undertake this work.
Entertainment Theater is a sure thing when it comes to musicians. The products produced here do not differ from those shown on Broadway or West End. The final premiere, presented by the Chorzów scene, is an offer for the whole family, a visual feast, a carnival of emotions and, above all, great fun. Iconic Cats – Musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, libretto by Trevor Nann, translated by Daniel Wyszogrodzki, directed by Jacob Szydłowski (he played the role) Cats In the form of Ram-Tam-Tamka). Whether Cats will repeat the success of other Webber musicals staged here Evita if Jesus Christ is the Super Star (ALSO On the sunset boulevardremoved after two years), Which we have been able to see on the stage of the Entertainment Theater for almost ten years? There are many signs of this.
The Chorzów stage made the audience wait for a long time, a year and a half for the new mega-premiere. Excellent then Masked nuns Directed by Michał Znaniecki from September 2020, Alan Menken has finally come to the time of another musician who will attract a number of viewers to the Chorzów stage for a long time. The latest proposal from the Entertainment Theater in Chorzow is not a repetition of the London premiere. Producers had some freedom here, and resolutely used the opportunities provided by the license to adapt the music to the needs of the Polish audience.
The latest premiere is not an example of a classic representative of the genre. Cats have an unusual structure for music. There is no romantic story here and it is not a line of action. Libretto is a collection, based on poetry Old Possum’s Practical Cats Book TS Eliot. The play consists of songs featuring individual characters of the cat group.
The play begins with an audiovisual projection, through which we get to know the world from the point of view of a domestic cat. Dachowiec visits Chorzów, and when he reaches the lobby of the Entertainment Theater, a scene is captured by a pack of cats, and we only look at the cat’s life through the keyhole. The movement of the musical film takes place in the center of the industrial city. This is shown by the heat pipes and skyscrapers in the background. It is probably one of the largest cities in America, because there are emergency exits (fire exits) outside the buildings, and the apartments are heated by steam. We are not aware of this, but somewhere in the dark alleys of the dark city, the cat’s life continues in its own way. Pretending to be tools, they play in tails, cause trouble, dance with giant fish boxes, clean, cook soup in giant pots, make balls, and even duel over bones. Although cats go their own way, they live in a group with their own rules. There is a hierarchy here that lepers follow silently. The highest authority cat is Nestor (Tomasz Eat) – famous for his noble, calm, Solomon’s sentences. He agrees with the return of the prostitute daughter Grizzelda (Wioletta Białk), who left the cat family many years ago. In the impressive scene of the reconciliation, the cat, formerly one of the big cat ladies, climbs into the elevator and ascends to the cat’s sky (what a poetic ending). Ram-Tam-Tamek (Piotr Brodziński) stands out among the group of cats – charismatic, gradually, he is the leader of other cats. There’s also Makiawel (Marek Szajnar) – a dark cat whose presence makes other cats feel a little scared. His appearance is always accompanied by infamous music that points to the nature of the dachshund. Where there are cats, there are mice! They can also be seen in the excellent, fun cleaning scene in Chorzow. Cat Semaphore (Marek Chudziński) is also excellent, and the scene where the wheels of the steam engine create colorful umbrellas is a masterpiece.
Wioletta Białk is great in the song Memorybut the infamous Makiawel and the song are also worth mentioning Makiawel – bad cat, or a song full of many surprises Mephistophelix – Magic Cat and is filled with reflection Roof song. We also have pyrotechnic effects in the scene where the magic cat is seen. Tomasz Pałasz provided them. I guarantee that they will surprise many spectators. Webber’s perfect music for TS Eliot’s poems, Ewa Zug’s musical and vocal direction, presents the theater in Chorzow at the highest level.
Musical performances prepared by the Entertainment Theater always amaze with their stage design and costumes. This time it is the same. Incredible costumes designed by Dorota Sabak-Ciołkosz (like in the cartoon!) Together with the design and lighting direction of the dessert create an amazing atmosphere. The view reminiscent of the starry sky is especially delicious. Sabak-Ciołkosz has designed more than 30 costumes, each of which is slightly different – both in color and texture of the treasure. And makeup! A huge team had to control him. This work deserves the highest praise, because thanks to this team, artists have become real stage cats.
photo: Arthur Wacławek / material. theater
However, the choreography of Yaroslav Stanek and Katarzyna Zielonka comes to the fore in the play. He is a master. Tight, hard, extremely plastic. The choreographers are loaded from the first minute of the play, and this accusation leads to the capture of the Chorzow scene. The team is excellent at dealing with complex laps. Sometimes it seems impossible to make noise while performing such difficult acrobatics – let alone read regularly. It is worth noting the daring scene of “naughty people from Park Rose”, ie Beata Voytan (as Mungo Jerry) and Alexandra Djas (as Pummpernikiel), who jump in the safe, bend, do acrobatics and so on. At the same time, they sit in a chair and read as if they were resting.
Cats are individual and character animals. Although they like to live in a group, they like to be different. It’s no different than stage cats. The choreographic duo of Staniek and Zielonka gave each character an individual movement, gesture and style of movement. They are also great at working with the crowd, because on stage we observe a galaxy of cat stars – more than 30 artists! Everyone has a different task and their actions are unique. Thus, it was possible to give the characters an individual character. The cast is not insignificant, thanks to which singers from all over Poland perform on the Chorzow stage. Sometimes it seems that the stage is too small for them. The main thing is that the dancers also took part in Patrick Rybarsky’s cat movement seminars, and as a result, their movements really look like cats.
Entertainment Theater is in the game again! It is a play that touches on the last premiere. It’s just high-level entertainment. One we have been waiting for a long time.
Cats. Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber; libretto: Trevor Nunn; poems from Old Possum’s Practical Cats Book TS Eliot, translation: Daniel Wyszogrodzki; choreography: Jarosław Staniek, Katarzyna Zielonka; set design and lighting direction: Grzegorz Policiński; costumes: Dorota Sabak-Ciołkosz; music and vocal direction: Ewa Zuq; ballet director: Natalia Gajewska; Entertainment Theater Orchestra. The Entertainment Theater in Chorzow was developed in collaboration with The Really Beneficial Group Ltd., premiered April 27, 2022.