Do you want to have a really good time? Head to the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse to the Mad Cat Theatre Company’s Production of “Cat Lady.” Written by and starring Kristina Wong and directed by Paul Tei, this zany play had the opening night audience roaring with laughter. Paul Tei’s creative genius is at its peak in this hilarious play based on Wong’s cat, Oliver, and his pleasure in “spraying” her -- and everyone else for that matter. Wong is pulled into the world of lonely cat ladies as she ponders the high rates of depression and suicide among languishing Asian-American women. She rants about this to anyone who will lend an ear, willing or unwilling.
The fun starts from the very first moment the audience sees Kristina onstage, escalating when Jessica Farr and Noah Levine show up, deliciously playing the parts of pickup artists who want to ensnare Kristina in their shallow, all promises, ‘bait,’ ‘hook,’ ‘release’ games of non-commitment. The pair do so with relish. Wong, Farr, and Levine have a chemistry on stage that spells success.
A generous buffet was offered before the first curtain call to the audience on premiere night. Guests nibbled on fruits, tuna sandwiches, salad, cheeses, crackers, and sipped wine or drank beer. Bottled water was also available.
Ann Kelly, Executive Director of Mad Cat, feels incredibly blessed to be working with Paul Tei and his team of talented actors and designers. She has five cats: Lizzie, Kizzie, Dizzie, Wizzie, and Tito. Kelly, with her long blond hair, could easily play a leading lady.
Paul Tei, who I interviewed last year during his play, “The Hamlet Dog & Pony Show”, is a combination of good looks, sheer genius, and lightning wit. He received his MFA in directing from the respected Theatre School at De Paul University and is the Artistic Director and founder of The Mad Cat Theatre Company. Tei has directed the company’s productions of “The Hamlet Dog & Pony Show”, “Macbeth & the Monster’, “So my Grandmother Died, Blah Blah Blah (Author), “Going Green the Wong Way”, “Broadsword”, “Viva Bourgeois” (Adaptation), “Mixtape” (Co-Author), “Some Girls”, “Mister Beast”, “Animals & Plants”, “Mr. Marmalade”, “Terminal Baggage” (Co-Author), “Waiting for Godot”, “Matt & Ben”, “Action”, “Artful Dodgers” (Author), “Betty’s Summer Vacation”, “Trembling Hands”, “Fell in Love with a Girl”, “Cope” (Author), “The Box Boomerang”, “Seventy Scenes of Halloween”, “Shoot”, “Portrait”, “Here in my Car” (Co-Author), and “Shepherd’s Pie” (Co-Author). Tei was born and grew up in Miami. He resides in Los Angeles. This is Mad Cat’s 13th year.
Wong is a solo performer, writer, and social commentator named “One of the Seven Funniest Eco-Comedians” by Mother Nature Network according to her bio on the Mad Cat playbill. She’s the creator of five solo shows and one ensemble that have toured all over the globe, being performed in The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, the Public Theater, REDCAT, Mark Taper Forum, La MaMa, ETC., The Comedy Central Workspace, and many others. Her “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” has toured in over 40 states. Her creative genius work has been awarded with grants from Creative Capital, The Map Fund, and more. Wong needs a whole book to list her accomplishments, but suffice to say that she’s enormously talented. Her ordeal as an Asian-American in “Cat Lady” has the audience simultaneously laughing and thinking throughout the entire play.
Oliver the Cat is played by versatile actor Ken Clement, who never met anyone he didn’t want to spray. He pounces around with his stinky elixir, ready for Kristina every time she opens her mouth to spew facts about Asian-American women. Clements’ presence is welcomed by the enthralled audience upon his antics. The veteran actor is one of the founding members of Mad Cat and his credits include “Here in my Car”, “Shepherd’s Pie”, “Shoot”, “Broadsword”, “The Hamlet Dog & Pony Show”, and “The Oval Portrait”, which also happens to be his favorite. Ken has received the Carbonell, Silver Palm Awards. There is a particularly funny scene where Oliver the Cat interacts by spraying the audience, which audience members lapped up.
Jessica Farr (Pick Up Artist, Assistant Director, and Choreographer) is a graduate of NWSA, MXAT, and Fordham University. She can exude comedy with just a twitch of her nose. Her deep stare channels Ricky Ricardo in his intense but crazy scenes with Lucy. I interviewed Farr last year, when she was in “The Hamlet Dog and Pony Show”. For her Cat Lady performance, she wore a pink pastel fuzzy cap which was so soft that it felt like you were petting a real kitten.
Noah Levine, whose interview is in the following article about, is making his Mad Cat debut. He is tall, lanky with limbs that seem never-ending. He graduated with a BA in Theatre Performance from FAU in 2004. His local credits include “Kutumba”, “Miami Shakespeare”, “Mosaic”, “MTC”, “Promethean”, “Showtime Boca”, “Slow Burn”, and “Thinking Cap”. He will be returning to the latter next month in “The Rover”. He lives in Coral Springs with his wife.
Contrary to most plays, where the actors rely on props a major part of the time, “Cat Lady” is more about actors leaning on themselves, a great script, and each other to deliver a joyful time to an appreciative audience.
Opening Night January 4 at 7:00 pm (food & drink with show starting at 8:00 pm)
Thru January 20
Shows Thursday to Saturday at 8:00 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm
The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse
A Mad Cat Production
Presented by Miami Light Project
404 NW 26 Street in Miami (Wynwood)
General Admission $30
Student with Valid ID $15
Opening Night $45
Preview Night $15
(all tickets have applicable service fees)
For tickets: www.madcattheatre.org, https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/32115 or call OvationTix at 866.811.4111.
Mad Cat is a 501 (c) (3) not for profit organization. All donations are tax deductible. For more information: www.madcattheatre.org