I love to stage kitten and I think I’m pretty good at it. I have a certain view on what makes a good stage kitten and here it is.
I think a good stage kitten:
Picks a persona in advance that matches the show and dresses and acts accordingly
Remembers that kittens are performers too and is always “on” and in character whenever in sight of the audience
Is proactive in finding out what each performer needs and never needs to be told twice
Never upstages the featured talent
Is ready for anything and can think on her feet
The first thing to keep in mind, is that stage kittens are an important part of the show and you have a job to do. Be proactive in finding out what the performers and MC will need during the show by explicitly asking each person in the cast what they will need from you and make sure you write down what they say. I like to print out a set list and then write my notes in the margins. I’ll then tape that up just off stage so I can reference it during the show. Another trick I use is to count each wardrobe piece as it’s removed so that I know how many things I need to find when I pick up stripper droppings.
The typical things kittens know to expect to do during a show include setting up props, handing off or being handed props or wardrobe during the act, picking up stripped of clothing, and cleaning up any mess left on stage afterwards. However, a really good kitten also knows to expect the unexpected. When a performer gets stuck in her dress and she signals that she wants help, your job is to swoop in and help while making it look like it was all part of the show. Sometimes someone might even ask you to play a bit part in their act 15 minutes before they go on or the MC might need you to take the mic for a minute. Think fast and be quick on your feet. A good kitten jumps in whenever it’s needed.
The bottom line is that stage kittening is still a performing role so you should plan in advance what your persona will be and then act and dress accordingly. Different shows require different kitten personas and it’s a great way to explore a new character you might be considering for an act. When I kittened at the Coney Island Film Festival, I went with a 1950s circus persona with a showgirl outfit of bright colors, retro nude fishnets, a blonde Marilyn wig, and a cheeky demeanor. At the monthly cabaret show where I’m billed as a “stage maven”, I usually keep it more elegant with gowns and traditional pinup styling and when I go on stage my persona is all about class and efficiency.
Whatever kitten character you choose, commit fully whenever you are on stage. You are lucky because you’ll probably get more stage time than anyone else with the exception of perhaps the MC. Make the most of that opportunity while making sure you don’t upstage the featured performers. A great way to get booked as a performer is to be scouted at a show where you’re kittening.
I hope this helps someone who is either thinking about kittening or wants to improve. If you have any other questions or want to share your thoughts, please either comment or send me an email.