If all you know of the theatre and cats is the spectacle of Andrew Lloyd Weber, then you may have missed last weekend's limited engagement of the Amazing Acrocats at the Boxcar Theatre. After being alerted by a friend, we immediately bought tickets, rightly thinking that a Saturday night show would sell out. Here, for your enjoyment, a gallery of the all their feline feats.
After huffing the powerful catnip on offer at the merch booth and declining thematic furry headgear, we headed inside to chat with the crowd of cat fanciers eager to exchange pet photos via iPhone. Tips on feline personality were shared, sympathetic looks were given for those not allowed hairball-hacking housemates: this was going to be fun. And then a good five minutes before the house lights came down, suspension of disbelief gave way to reality: trained cats? How the hell does that work?
Samantha Martin, the animal-loving behaviorist-carnie responsible for the show, explained how reinforcement (click trainers and lots of salmon) allows the untrainable animals to be trained...up to a point. Martin claims that training is a positive challenge for cats, and for humans cultivates patience.
Therein lays the charm of the show: the cats would do their tricks—when and if they wanted to. And if they didn’t, we would still adore our furry overlords. As the French essayist Montaigne once posited, “When I am playing with my cat, how do I know that she is not playing with me?”
Based out of Chicago, Martin rescues cats and places them into loving homes, making this the only show where you can adopt a member of the cast. A trio of kittens was rescued off of I-80; two were placed in care, while the third still tours with the troupe. To date, 90 cats have found homes across the country, and Martin quips she's still single: "You get a good three months before they catch on; you can only hide this sort of thing for so long."
Along with images we snapped during the show, here are several videos featuring the cats in actions:
Tuna and the Rockcats!
Cat on a skateboard!
And last but certainly not least, cat on a ball!