If South Florida theaters were planets, Miami's Mad Cat would be off in a separate galaxy. The gritty, award-winning ensemble works out of a small performance space on lackluster Biscayne Boulevard, putting up shows that are unique to this region. They're mostly about ordinary South Floridians with basic problems of survival. Mad Cat's style is as distinctive as its substance. While other theaters present splashy shows with flashy sets and costumes, Mad Cat puts total focus on performance, with a consistently high level of acting quality. I don't know how this happens, but I'd bet that the main reason is Mad Cat's artistic director, Paul Tei, who, as an actor himself, understands the actor's process and puts that empathy to good use in show after show. Tei doesn't merely stage Mad Cat plays -- pushing the furniture around and setting lighting cues -- he directs the performances, beat by beat. The result never looks calculated -- there's a free, improvisational feel to Mad Cat's acting style, which often feels more like realistic movie acting than the more arch, formal theatricality found in other venues. The company's confidence pays off -- whether or not every show is a success, Mad Cat always delivers talent,... More >>>