LA Weekly’s “Pick of the Week,” LOLPERA, is a “giddily absurd” opera with a score referencing everything from Gilbert and Sullivan to 80’s power ballads. The libretto is assemblaged entirely from the internet’s “biggest inside joke”: the multi-user-generated captions and images of the LOLCAT meme. Set in dystopian Catcotopia 2084, LOLPERA is the story of our epik quest for meaning in our modern world… told entirely through stupid cat pictures.
LOLPERA is an epik clash between low-brow humor and high art; a “gesamtkunstwerk” that asks important questions about this our modern world: Can we find meaning in the meaningless? Will what we create ultimately destroy us? Can we really has Cheezburger?
The year is 2084. Welcome to our Brave Mew World.
“Loosely — and I mean loosely — stitching together a libretto from captions found on I Can Has Cheezburger, the wildly addictive website featuring (mostly) felines, silly poses and bad grammar, writers Ellen Warkentine and Andrew Pedroza have pulled off an epic win with giddily absurd rock opera LOLPERA … What nudges these proceedings beyond, say, Point Break Live! … is a smartly composed score and an underlying confidence in human intelligence. Referencing the likes of Mozart, The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Les Miz, The Matrix and Erwin Schrödinger, LOLPERA recasts this cutesy meme and its titular sandwich as vehicles for the universal quest for meaning and hug time.”
– Mindi Farabee, LA Weekly
“[LOLPERA] plays out to music which is intriguing and worth hearing more than once, mixing jazz idioms with classical references in a compelling score … LOLPERA is ambitious, exciting, hip, and down-to-earth.”
– John Farrell, Press Telegram
“By displaying the jumbled aesthetics of our digital age through the lens of the LOLcats spectacle, the entire production mimics our own fruitless searches for meaning and identity on the Internet”
– Sarah Bennett, Fake Bad Taste
“Ellen Warkentine and Andrew Pedroza’s Long Beach-based performance experiment LOLPERA takes what is essentially internet junk culture—the leftovers from contemporary society’s collective brain—and processes it performatively through the tropes of epic opera. The libretto is taken entirely from text found in user-made lolcat images, and brilliantly scored in a way that honors the broken hilarity of the lyrics while transporting them to soul-stirring depths of grandeur.”
“So what do you get when you go beyond making lolz and decide to take the whole memetic phenomenon and turn it into a full-blown, self-reflexive opera whose libretto is comprised of those very captions sung by the kittehs made human flesh and composed into a story producing not just meming for its own silly sake but the kind that has meaning, the kind that matters. If you’re LN&AND (as creators Ellen Warkentine and Andrew Pedroza are sometimes known) and cast under the direction of Jessica Variz, an answer to that 66-word question can be communicated by just one: brilliance.”
-Greggory Moore, Greater Long Beach
“…Will it be one of the most memorable productions ever? Quite possibly. Is this the best production open right now? Abso-&$*#&-lutely.”
Marlon Deleon – LA Examiner