Review: CAT'S PAW at Beck Center For The Arts

Angst-inducing CAT'S PAW effectively performed and staged at Beck

By: Sep. 28, 2023
Review: CAT'S PAW at Beck Center For The Arts

William Mastrosimone, the author of CAT’S-PAW, now on stage in the Studio Theatre at Beck Center, states, In the early 80s I was shocked by the questionable methods of some activists who called themselves environmentalists. At a protest in the Northwest, so-called environmentalists drove 12-inch nails in trees scheduled to be felled so that a logger’s chainsaw would be snagged and the logger injured. That nasty tactic cost a man his arm. A good cause was vitiated. When a car bomb exploded by mistake under misguided activists in California, I saw a clear demarcation between passionate activism and criminality. That was the inspiration for the play.  The ends never justify the means— or do they?”

Director Bill Roudebush in his program notes relates, “CAT’S-PAW, written in 1984, is a play conceived forty years ahead of its time. We weren’t listening back then. Today, even with the most recent events in Flint, Michigan, and East Palestine, Ohio, surrounding our consciousness, so many are still denying the reality of pumping poisons into our environment.”

He adds, “This play, unnoticed in its own time, predicts . . . our present dilemma, as well as the toxic politics, threats and media that engulf and amplify our continued lack of action to address the problems we still continue to ignore…Of course I want to direct one of the most impactful plays I have ever read!!”

The play focuses on Victor, the head of a group called Earth Now!, responsible for a bomb attack at the EPA in which 27 people have been killed. He, along with a confederate, has kidnapped an EPA official and is holding him hostage in a DC warehouse. He has a television news reporter led to his lair so she can tell the world why he has done what he has done.

“Victor's obsession is the destruction of the world's water supply and, with it, the final destruction of the human race by pollution.  When the reporter asks if he feels any guilt about the death of the 27 innocent people, he replies that hundreds of innocent people die every hour because of what mankind is doing to its water supply and do the people responsible feel guilt for this?

The Beck cast includes local talents, Chris Richards plays Victor, Lara Mielcarek, as the reporter, Jessica, Michael Dempsey is Darling, who is being held as a hostage, and Grace Favarro who portrays Cathy, Victor’s naïve loyalist. 

Each is excellent in developing a realistic character.  Richards, especially. He is spooky.  His eyes glint, he is maniac in his obsession to his convictions.  His nervous twitches and intense body language are down-right scary, as is his explosive temper.  I would not like to meet him in a dark alley or have a disagreement with him! 

Director William Roudebush displays laser-focus instincts.  The pace is fast, the stress-inducing action is intense.  He creates a drama with high angst.

(Note the theatre recommended CAT’S-PAW for ages 16 and older due to subject matter, onstage violence, and substantial adult language.

Capsule judgment:  CAT’S PAW is a powerful script, filled with tension and angst.  It gets a very well-conceived and developed production at Beck.  It’s definitely a “go see!”

Dates:  September 22 to October 22, 2023.  For tickets call 216-521-2540 or go to Click Here 


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