Noen tiår etter alle andre har jeg endelig oppdaget musikalen Cats, skrevet av Andrew Lloyd Webber i 1981. Jeg kan likegodt innrømme at jeg tidligere bare har kjent den av omtale som Mr. Sheffields store fiende i teveserien The Nanny, som jeg fulgte slavisk en lengre periode.
Men det er en grunn til at Cats gikk så lenge og frarøvet Sheffield alle hans inntekter. Morsomme sanger, gode kostymer og storslagne dansescener er alt som skal til for at jeg begynner å smile. Og samtidig er denne musikalen en adaptasjon – nemlig av T. S. Eliots barnebok Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939). De forskjellige karakterene og sangnumrene er basert på diktene i denne boken, som tar for seg hver katts unike og særegne navn. Bokens første dikt heter «The Naming of Cats»:

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey–
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter–
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover–
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

Og siden det plutselig var helligdag og jeg ikke har mat, her kommer et deilig nummer fra musikalen også:

Kristin Storrusten

Kristin Storrusten er organisasjonskonsulent i Norsk Bibliotekforening, leser sabla masse bøker og har en mastergrad i litteraturformidling.

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