The Cat Demon

2018. Mar 29.

Our audiences can enjoy this comedy of subletting by Karafiáth Orsolya and Bella Máté, directed by Göttinger Pál, with Szemenyei János and Homonnay Zsolt alternating in the titular role.

The Cat Demon team
(photos: Kállai-Tóth Anett)
After housing the Dorian Gray musical, which gathered a cult following in the 1990s, from March 16th, the Emmerich Kálmán Hall will be the venue for a raucously funny musical comedy. The performance is full of surprises, in addition to its mysterious joke of a genre, not least because for multiple members of the creative team, this is their first time working in the Operetta Theatre.

Homonnay Zsolt as The Cat Demon
The director of the performance, head director of the Nyíregyháza Móricz Zsigmond Theatre Göttinger Pál is also working in the Budapest Operetta Theatre for the first time. He said he?s curious and excited about starting rehearsals, even though he knows the company, what?s more, he attended the Academy of Film and Theatre Arts together with Peller Anna and Szemenyei János. Musical theatre is not terra incognita to him, after earning his diploma he directed the operetta Mickey the Magnate, but he stages operas and musicals as well in Budapest, Cluj Napoca and a number of Hungarian towns. ?I have dabbled with the genre, but I don?t consider myself a bona fide musical theatre director,? he demurred, before elaborating his plans for Cat Demon in 2018.  ?The performance will be playful, filled with humour. It?s about a single woman aged around thirty, who rents a new apartment and tries to understand why he life is not going the way she wants it to. She has to struggle with various annoying obstacles, from failed relationships to IKEA furniture that?s impossible to assemble. This makes her very relatable and incredibly likeable. Anyone who?s had a day where from dawn to dusk misfortune piled upon misfortune, who staggered from roof leaks to missed meetings to busted tires will understand that after a while, we start to suspect that some conscious and malicious spirit is playing tricks on us. This is where the Cat Demon comes into the picture."

?I play with my claw extended? - Szemenyei János in character
The playwright Karafiáth Orsolya has been fascinated by the world of legends, myths and fairytales for a long time, she found the story of the Cat Demon in a collection of Tibetan legends. First, she wanted to process the theme in a magical realist novel, but then she ended up creating a musical. What else inspired it? She partially created the protagonist Orsi as a reflection of herself: ?I also had a kitten names Rigó, and I borrowed the characters in the play from my surroundings.? She said, revealing the inspiration behind the curious figures living in the little sublet house.  The Cat Demon?s character ? although originally it was genderless ? is a man in the musical, a man who causes heaps of trouble and complicates Orsi?s life even further. The author has published multiple successful books, both prose and poetry, but this is the first time a work of hers benefits from a classical theatre environment. Previously, Karafiáth?s works were read in public performances, but were not staged theatrically.

The extravagant purple and blue costumes of Cat Demon were designed by Kovács Andrea, deriving inspiration from the premier?s venue, as the characters are going to wear the colours and decorations of the interior of the Emmerich Kálmán Hall. But that is not all, they will also have marvellous props and wigs, for example Oszvald Marika will wear, among other things, an entire chandelier.

The composer Bella Máté, who has reached impressive heights despite his young age, winning the Junior Prima Award among other things, has created incredibly diverse and colourful music to match the witty plot: ?Multiple genres meet in this performance, including the classical Hungarian operetta, but we will also evoke the style of English-language musicals. The music of this performance is unique, because each character has their own musical universe: some express themselves in Hungarian folk, while others sing Sondheim pastiche.?

In the title role of the March premier, Homonnay Zsolt as well as the guest artist Szemenyei János will play the title role, the heroine will be brought to life by Peller Anna, Faragó András portrays the old alcoholic Uncle Máté, Oszvald Marika plays the vain, money-grabbing Aunt Bori, while the role of András, the permanently depressed writer goes to Bálint Ádám. The dramaturg is Lőkös Ildikó, the set designers are Csanádi Judit and Kiss Gabriella, the musical directors are Mihalics János and Furák Péter, the choreographer is Gulyás Anna, the director is Göttinger Pál.

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