BILL Manhoff’s The Owl and the Pussycat is not the kind of entertainment you will want to watch if you’re looking for a calm and light-hearted play. The play, Repertory Philippines’ final presentation for its 64th season, is a clash of sensibilities.

This two-character romantic comedy directed by Michael Williams, portrays the extreme differences between Felix Sherman (Paolo Fabregas), a self-righteous and ambitious writer, and Doris Wilgus (Miren Alvarez), an aggressive prostitute and pretentious actress and model.

The story, set in Felix’s apartment where two book shelves rest on both corners of the living room and a poster of George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman hangs on the bricked wall, gives an impression of a well-read and intelligent owner. As it turns out, he is just as dumb and pretentious as his unwanted visitor, Doris.

Felix is disturbed at 2 a.m. by loud knocks on his door and finds a furious Doris blaming him for her being kicked out by her landlord. Earlier, Felix, believing in his civic duty, reported to her landlord that Doris had been entertaining men for money.

The scene sparks a hilarious and cynical romantic relationship between the two.

Fabregas fits his role as an intellectual. His spontaneous comic moves never fail to earn hearty laughs from the audience. Although, he seems self-conscious and had several still moments at the first part of the play, he eventually outdoes himself.

Alvarez, on the other hand, is versatile. She can be as funny as she can get when she acts dumb, and can deliver dramatic lines while watching a melodramatic show on television.

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Bittersweet

Felix and Miren are very opposite characters. They epitomize the war between the intellect and emotion, the struggle between educated stupidity and innate wisdom, and the conflict between conservatism and liberalism.

In the play, Felix and Miren try to make things work, starting from physical attraction to intellectual intercourse. They even plan their suicide.

After all things fail, they realize that they have to correct their mistakes and eventually realize what’s common between them—their pretentiousness. They then expose each other’s lies and make-believes.

Fabregas and Alvarez, meanwhile, exemplify chemistry and harmony. They execute every scene well. Even if they are the only characters in the play, they do not bore the audience.

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