Puss in Boots/El gato con botas
A bilingual opera based on the classic tale lights up the New Victory Theater.
Thu Sep 16 2010
Puss in Boots (El gato con botas)
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5
There are plenty of rags-to-riches stories, but few whose plot hinges on the footwear of a cat. In "Puss in Boots"—the fable at the center of the New Victory Theater's season opener—a poor miller inherits a cunning kitty who assures him that a pair of feline boots will improve the man's fate. Donning new kicks, the cat sets to work on winning over the king, appropriating an ogre's castle and securing the hand of the princess for his master.
"Puss proves that with imagination and wit, you can create a new life," says the show's director, Tony Award nominee Moiss Kaufman. "He encourages children to dream big."
Dreaming big seems to have been the point when Kaufman conceived of this show. In lieu of the catchy tunes found in most children's musicals, an operatic score serves as the backbone. Written in the 1940s by Spanish Catalan composer Xavier Montsalvatge, the music is lighthearted (it even features portions of lullabies). Its libretto will be performed in English—and on October 7 and October 9, in Spanish—by five opera singers standing onstage. While they croon, puppets created by Blind Summit Theatre will act out the story. The puppets move not with broad gestures, but rather with subtle mannerisms that evoke both humor and pathos. "Our puppets become fully rounded characters," says puppetry director Mark Down. "We try to ask, How deeply can an audience feel about a puppet?"
By activating kids' senses and emotions, Kaufman hopes to stimulate their creativity, too. "With children you have a resource that is not as available with adults: imagination," he says. "You have to make a work that uses that imagination and invites them to have their own vision." And as Puss proves, a little bit of vision can go a long way.
Puss in Boots/El gato con botas runs Oct 2--10 at the New Victory Theater.