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"Give all your kindness, all the good you have accumulated, to spectators" is the guiding principle of the Moscow-based Yuri Kuklachev's Cats Theatre. Its actors being exclusively toms and pussies, this is a theatre for all ages: children, their parents and grandparents are equally amazed, watching, their mouths open in surprise, what's happening on stage.
Kuklachev's successful debut on the Moscow circus arena immediately brought him into prominence. The audience burst into laughter when he came out onto the arena with a cat on his shoulder. His number disproved a widespread opinion that cats couldn't be trained. Today Kuklachev is one of Russia's most favorite and brightest clowns and animal trainers.
Thirteen years ago he decided to set up a cats theatre in Moscow. The Cat's House troupe numbers over 100 mewing actors of nearly all existing breeds. Once Kuklachev picked up cats in the streets, but now he breeds them. He agrees, however, that one cannot train cats, but says it's possible to find common language with them and then teach them something. All his cats do on stage stems from their natural behavior. Cats prefer night rehearsals, which is a little bit inconvenient for a trainer because he also has to work at night. Age doesn't really matter. Kuklachev's eldest artist nicknamed Sokol turned 25 recently. A nickname depends on personal traits. A cat, which is fond of potatoes, was nicknamed Kartoshka (potato). Another cat got the nickname Morkovka (carrot) because of her bright red fir. Some cats are pensioners: after performing for years, they "resigned", but often they run onto the stage when they hear a familiar tune. All cats live in spacious rooms - people may come and see what how "actors" spend their free time. Kuklachev confessed that he had learnt much from his pets.
"One must really love animals to work in our theatre", he says. "Normally, cats behave quietly and never harm people. They are so amazing, they must have come from some outer world to soften our hearts. Cats prompted me to write a book called "Lessons of Kindness". It contains reminiscences, amusing pictures and funny stories, and it's also an attempt to teach children to listen to their hearts as may cats taught me - to hear silence, to see the invisible, to see with one's heart…"
Official Website: http://www.moscowcatstheatre.com/