“A cat is not a dog; for a dog is on the whole / a simple soul.”
NINE LIVES by T.S. Eliot – Featuring Helen Khorrami, Kate Zhao, Florian Eisentraut & Derrick Jenkins
The American-British poet and Nobel Prize winner T.S. Eliot is considered the most important figure in twentieth-century English-language literary culture. He was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary & social critic and a true avant-gardist who, with a relatively small amount of writing, produced in a relatively brief amount of time revolutionized the way poetry in English is written.
The best children’s books celebrate lunacy and mischief and their authors are often cranks and weirdoes. T.S. Eliot’s eccentricities were legendary; he was a ritualistic connoisseur of cheese and a costumed-handle umbrella fetishist. He baffled peers and critics alike with his cryptic, somber, bleak, poetry and yet his collection of verse about cats reveals that he had a whimsical side and could be charming when he wasn’t taking himself too seriously.
Eliot belongs to a long tradition of cat-mad artists and christened his pets with such unique names as Bustopher Jones, Bubbles, Xerxes, Wiscus, George Pushdragon, and Man in White Spats. Some claim that Eliot is the original Crazy Cat Lady.
Eliot’s cats come in all sorts; “Some sane and some mad / Some good and some bad” but the focus is definitely on the mad and the bad – such as the highly disreputable master criminal McCavity, as well as Growltiger; “the Terror of the Thames”, and that pair of no good louts Rumpleteaser & Mungo Jerrie; two young thugs who take great pleasure in destroying things.
To amuse his intimate friends and godchildren on their birthdays and other special occasions, T.S. Eliot composed an engaging collection of humorous poems about cats entitled OLD POSSUM’S BOOK OF PRACTICAL CATS – these feline texts have proven irresistible to cat lovers, lovers of nonsense, and admirers of Eliot throughout the English-speaking world, while offering grown-ups a satisfying sophistication and double entendre; a timeless collection of children’s poems for adults. This book formed the libretto of the 1970’s musical CATS. We choose not to perform songs from the Andrew Lloyd Weber show but rather feature popular cat related Songs & Music from the era in which T.S. Eliot created his poetry.
Performance – Monday, November 8 at 20:00 hrs in MERLIN
In cooperation with DAZ – Deutsch Amerikanisches Zentrum, Kulturverein Merlin e.V.
- MERLIN now requires the audience to be 2 G and will only allow persons inside the theatre who supply a certification of vaccination or recuperation.