I write this from Kaohsiung, the last city in the Taiwan portion of the tour, and as I write this there’s less than a week to go before we go back to Sydney. This is an odd time – there is much I have to do still, from shopping for those last remaining gifts, to shipping a box back to the states filled with the results of previous shopping trips so as to avoid excess baggage and serious back problems, to seeing the things I cannot bear leaving Taiwan without having seen. And though I still have these things to do, my brain has jumped ahead, to going back home over the break, and getting the visas for the next country. And while this is all happening, there’s still a show going on every night. It’s an odd mixture. But, we are here still, and the show goes on, and luckily I do have a few days.
When we arrived in Kaohsiung, we were greeted in the lobby of our hotel by a sign that read ‘Welcome CATS – The Finest Performing Artists in the World’. Well, this was pretty funny to me and the rest, but honestly, over the days, we got sort of used to seeing it, and secretly revelling in the assertion that of all the performers in all the world, we were the very best.
Well, imagine our surprise when, last Monday, a sign appeared in the lobby – ‘Welcome NEMO – The Most Outstanding Performers in the World’. What? Displaced so soon? Thrown out like yesterday’s best performers in all the world?
Yes, Disney’s ‘Finding Nemo – on Ice’ has come to town, and suddenly, we have a sort of sibling rivalry within the hotel between the new group of people who pretend to be animals for a living. Whereas we used to be the only group of Westerners in the hotel, and afforded a special glow as performers, now there are others. And this means competition, and lots of the fish eye in the elevator (well, fish eye on their part, cat eye on ours, I suppose). I even had a brief image of a West Side Story-style Rumble, with the Cats in their unitards, wigs and tails on one side, and the Nemo people in their skates and brightly colored giant foam animals on the other. The skates would make good weapons, but ultimately we could probably just push them over and they’d probably just be stuck there, so we’d totally win, I think.
Well, honestly, nobody really minds their presence as much as me. The Nemo people are Americans and Canadians, which means that suddenly there are many people who say ‘flip flops’ instead of ‘thongs’, and pronounce their Rs, and can wax eloquent on the requirements for a perfect bagel (well, okay, probably not that last one). I have grown accustomed to being the only American around, and frankly, I’m feeling a little territorial. Also, all the oatmeal is now gone from the breakfast buffet before I get there, and I think I know who is to blame. The rest of the cast is pretty excited – for the young ‘uns, it means young nubile American and Canadian girls. For the older boys, it means young nubile American and Canadian men. Some of the cast on the bus home tonight were talking about getting dinner, then heading to the hotel bar to ‘find Nemo’. And I thought, begrudingly, well, they may be Americans, and they may eat all my oatmeal, but at least they lead to new puns. I think we’ve been through all the possible cat ones – although I was pretty proud of my most recent one, which is, because ‘Memory’ is the last big song in the show and sung by Grizabella, that the show ‘ain’t over ’till the cat lady sings’. But it’s getting old.
But still, Nemo better watch their back. It’s cats versus fish, and we’re likely to leave some Disney sushi in our wake, yo.
P.S. Alright, I just got back from the lobby, where I read their sign closer and realized it says ‘Welcome NEMO – the most outstanding performers on ice in the world’. Ha ha, we still reign supreme as land-based performers. Suckas!!