The Krazy Kat Projekt

A staged live music and cartoon film performance

George Herriman’s “Krazy Kat” conquered the art scene as the very first comic strip 100 years ago and continues to this day to be greatly admired by connoisseurs of the genre. Now Ensemble Musikfabrik initiated the worldwide first film and music production based on the great American comic classic, with new compositions from the American composers David Lang and Oscar Bettison, as well as music from the composer, theorist, visionary, and instrument maker Harry Partch. On 22nd of October “The Krazy Kat Projekt” had its premiere at TONLAGEN – Dresdner Festival der zeitgenössischen Musik. Subsequently the production opened the festival NOW! Parallelwelten by the Essen Philharmonic and had been presented to the Cologne audience in the concert series “Musikfabrik im WDR”.

The newly drawn and animated comic episodes from animation artist and director Paul Barritt tell new stories of Krazy, the goodhearted and mouse-love-sick cat, and Ignatz, the scheming and devious mouse in an original and unparalleled way, driving the two main characters to greater and greater levels of craziness. Paul Barritt is cofounder of prizewinning theatre company “1927”, which enchants with a mixture of live performance and animation and attained great success with amongst others their production of W. A. Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” at the Komische Oper Berlin and their newest piece “Golem” at the Salzburg Festival.

In addition to the two commissions given to David Lang and Oscar Bettison – not for film music, but to develop their own musical versions of the cat and mouse game – the eleven part Partch cycle, “Eleven Intrusions” (1949/59), was heard in Europe for the first time. In a short documentary film the film historian and journalist Daniel Kothenschulte furthermore told the story of the cartoonist George Herriman (1880-1944) and his main characters.

Harry Partch | Eleven Intrusions (1949/50) | European premiere

David Lang | Hammerspace (2014) for ensemble | world premiere

Oscar Bettison | Animate Objects (2014) for ensemble | world premiere

Films by Paul Barritt and Daniel Kothenschulte

Commissioned Kunststiftung NRW, Philharmonie Essen, HELLERAU - Europäisches Zentrum der Künste Dresden and Ensemble Musikfabrik

Paul Barritt | direction, cartoon film, stage, script
Derek Andrade | assistant direction, cartoon film
Daniel Kothenschulte | documentary film / „News Reel“
Mirjam Baker | assistant documentary film / „News Reel“
Beate Schüler | dramaturgy

Ensemble Musikfabrik
Clement Power | conductor

Picture 1, 4, 7 © George Herriman, original
Picture 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 © Paul Barritt, film stills (2013/14)

When Love Hurts - A Tribute to Krazy Kat

When Love Hurts - A Tribute to Krazy Kat | Trailer