Mettawee River Theatre Company Presents COMMUNICATIONS FROM A COCKROACH, 9/7-16
Master puppet and mask maker Ralph Lee presents his Mettawee River Theatre Company in "Communications from a Cockroach: Archy and the Under Side," for two weekends, September 7-9 and 14-16, 7:30 PM, in the Outdoor Garden of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, entrance down the path at 111th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.
Don Marquis' main characters are Archy, a cockroach with the soul of a poet, and his spunky pal Mehitabel, an alley cat with the soul of Cleopatra ("toujours gai, toujours gai - there's a dance in the old dame yet"). They and their cricket, tarantula, flea and other critter friends are depicted in Ralph Lee's remarkable puppets, worked by a company of actor/singers in full view of the audience. Original music score is by Neal Kirkwood, and will be performed live on vibraphone, saxophone, and double bass.
An Excerpt of The Statement That Introduced Arcy in Don Marquis' Columun, 1916:
"We came into our room earlier than usual in the morning, and discovered a gigantic cockroach jumping about upon the keys.
He did not see us, and we watched him. He would climb painfully upon the framework of the machine and cast himself with all his force upon a key, head downward, and his weight and the impact of the blow were just sufficient to operate the machine, one slow letter after another. He could not work the capital letters, and he had a great deal of difficulty operating the mechanism that shifts the paper so that a fresh line may get started. We never saw a cockroach work so hard or perspire so freely in all our lives before. After about an hour of this frightfully difficult literary labor he fell to the floor exhausted, and we saw him creep feebly into a nest of the poems which are always there in profusion.
Congratulating ourselves that we had left a sheet of paper in the machine the night before so that all this work had not been in vain, we made an examination, and this is what we found:
Expression is the need of my soul.
I was once a vers libre bard
but I died and my soul went into the body of a cockroach.
It has given me a new outlook upon life.
I see things from the under side now.
Thank you for the apple peelings in the wastepaper basket,
but your paste is getting so stale I can't eat it."
A Few More Quotes from Don Marquis:
"Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday."
"If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; But if you really make them think, they'll hate you."
"A pessimist is a person who has had to listen to too many optimists."
"Life is one damned kitten after another." (Mehitabel the Alley Cat)
"my youth i shall never forget
but there's nothing i really regret
there's a dance in the old dame yet
toujours gai toujours gai." (Mehitabel the Alley Cat)