O Gato das Notas (Cat in Notes), CMT’s first production, which premiered at Expo-98, is a musical transposition of the “Puss in Boots” fable. Its revisions alter the destiny of the characters and brings the story to life with music, dressing it in new theatrical robes.
The work was designed with children in mind, who become more grown up and resistant when treated like kids. So perhaps the educational benefit is more appropriate for adults, especially those who keep their inner child alive. Here is Puss, a wannabe soprano, a specimen declared to be in danger of extinction, whose vocalizations at Professor Cotovia’s house are duly recognized by a rooster and play a large role in the way the story unfolds.
But look out! Before Puss is saved, the Marquis of Malabares will challenge him to a duel and to a duet, he will chase him and sing him arias. In moments of suspense and adventure, this imperilled cat parodies lessons in lyrical singing and asks for help from the Lords of the Flute and the Double Bass, using swing and ragtime tricks. There are also moments of magic: Princess Tafú awakens from her deep slumber, chanting, rejigging, reciting excerpts from poems that inspired Mahler, Strauss and Schubert.
In and amongst there are musical quotations from Mozart’s “Turkish March”, the Portuguese children’s song “Atirei o pau ao gato” (I threw the stick to the cat), cabaret music, rap, music of the absurd and other cultural incursions. In the end, Puss, the Marquis, the Princess and the King join voices and meow forever. In the end, they save themselves and dance to the rhythm of the Gático Samba.