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LAist Interview: Son of Semele Ensemble Finally Flies Free!

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Heidi K. Hendrickson (Laura Carson) and her 150 cats.

Writer Aaron Henne and director Edgar Landa of LA's Son of Semele Ensemble have reenvisioned your neighborhood crazy cat lady in a whirlwind eighty-minute play, full of movement, rhyme, sock puppets, and cartoon nudity. The result is KING CAT CALICO FINALLY FLIES FREE, playing now through Sunday at SOSE's Beverly Boulevard black-box. (They've got all of us going with the alliteration.)

Notable moments include dead kittens, fresh from the Frigidaire, singing "Memory" from the other unfortunate famous cat play, and a Hazmat technician vomiting upon entering Heidi's hell-house.

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LAist talked to Aaron and Edgar about animal endangerment, physical theatre, and the risks and rewards of working with an ensemble. Oh, and lucha libre characters.

Where in LA do you live, and how long have you been here?

Aaron: K-Town. In L.A. for ten years with a brief sojourn in Tuscaloosa, AL.

Edgar: I live dead smack in the middle of Hollywood behind Sunset Gower Studios. Been here for 3 years now although I am an L.A. native growing up in the barrio-burbs southeast of downtown L.A.

How did the initial idea for KING CAT come about? What excited you about this concept and this play?

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Aaron: I was talking to a friend and she mentioned an episode of "Animal Cops" where there was a takedown of an animal hoarder's home - vivid pictures of feces infestation, debris piles and absolute squalor. I was also going through some personal upheaval at the time (moving from house to house, couch to couch, with no real HOME), so it seemed like a match made in heaven. Mostly, I was enticed by the idea that we consume and collect as a means to keep the world at bay. Then, we, as a society, laugh at these extreme folks and their absurd foibles - failing to recognize, of course, that THEY are US.

Edgar: Aaron Henne wrote the play, and who knows what goes on in that twisted mind of his. I love that he plays with structure and language and is not handcuffed by traditional ideas on plot, narrative, and realism.