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LOLcat opera brings internet culture to the stage

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 An opera based on LOLcats, one of the internet's most well-known memes, is garnering unexpected amounts of praise and attention. (

Ceiling Cat said, "Let there be Libretto," and so there was LOLPERA; an absurd yet highly acclaimed opera based on an internet meme.

"LOLPERA is an epik clash between low-brow humor and high art," reads the show's website. "Call it 1984 set in a virtual litter box. Call it Brave New World with bad grammar. Just please, please, don't call it Cats."

Created by Long Beach artists Ellen Warkentine and Andrew Pedroza, the show is set in dystopian 2084 where residents of "Catcotopia" communicate with each other only in "LOLspeak."

The script is composed entirely from text found on the website I Can Haz Cheezburger - the web's leading compendium of funny, captioned and intentionally grammatically incorrect cat photos.

A cast of 20 trained performers also dance and sing alongside images sourced from the LOLcats meme, which originated in 2006. LOLcats still stand as one of the Internet's most successful and iconic cultural symbols.

But in an age where one can earn a LOLcat PhD, buy a LOLcat bible, and have their wedding vows read in LOLspeak, the news of a LOLcat opera may not seem entirely surprising.

What's shocking and delighting to many is the depth, quality and related success of an internet cat opera on the theatre circuit.

Los Angeles weekly chose LOLPERA as its pick of the week when it premiered in Long Beach last October, and reviews from its current run at the 2012 Hollywood Fringe Festival have been overwhelmingly positive.

"LOLPERA goes beyond Lolcats-influenced things, digging deep into the social significance of the Lolcats, turning seemingly innocuous refrains such as "I has a bukkit" and "no mor badz" into existential quandaries, and making one cat's love of "cheezburger" into a metaphor for religious dominance throughout history," wrote L.A. Weekly's Sarah Bennett.

Theatre review blog "Musicals in LA" called the show "ridiculous," but admits that there is more to LOLPERA than one might expect.

"Inescapable parallels are drawn between the kittehs' search for meaning in the fragmented world of the future and today's over-stimulated, excess-driven society...Once the music is over and the laughter has ended, you may find yourself pondering LOLPERA's bigger questions."

The musical ends its run in Hollywood at the end of this month before hitting the New York City Fringe Festival circuit in August.

Would you be interested in seeing an opera about LOLcats? If you could create your own theatre piece about something unexpected, what would it be?

Tags: POV

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