Archive for the ‘Dramaturgy’ Category


“Buddy, hush!”


“I said HUSH! I’m trying to sleep!”


Stage Manager: Only a few short months ago, Buddy would not have dreamed of jumping onto the caretaker’s bed in the morning. But desperate times call for desperate measures: Buddy is convinced that if the caretaker does not get out of bed *right now* the world as he knows it will end. He’s not sure why, but he thinks he read it somewhere.

“Umph. Ouch. You’re heavy, Butterbean.  And do you really have to play ‘Great Wall of China’ today?”

Stage Manager: “Great Wall of China” is Buddy’s favorite morning game. You see, the caretaker sleeps on her side, and Buddy loves to walk from her ankles to her shoulder and sometimes back again. Cats have amazing imaginations. Internet scripts require a LOT of explanation.

“Prrrrrrrr.”  *nudges the caretaker’s face with his cold nose*

“Oh, you’re just too sweet. Or something. O.K. I’ll get up now and feed you.”

Stage Manager: The caretaker is a pathetic pushover, but she does have a point. If Buddy ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. And so, led by Buddy doing his best Pied Piper impersonation, she shuffles into the kitchen, where they are joined by Madame Fishfrau, otherwise known as Bear.

“Yow. Yow! YOW! YOWWWWW!!!!!!”

“Bear! Do you see me, standing here trying my best to get your breakfast ready?”

“YoW. yow. Prrrrrrrr.”

Stage Manager: And then breaks forth the glorious sound Bear has been waiting for: Kxxxieeeey. Thupp. Clink! As the cat food can lid is removed, the kitchen fills with the perfume of oceanfish and shrimp in a light sauce (a.k.a. gravy). Bear can hardly contain her excitement. She marches up and down, brushing back and forth against the back of the caretaker’s legs, as though to provide energy in the form of static electricity.

“O.K., goof, you need to move so I can serve you. Here’s your plate.”

“Splurph, psluplrp, shplurfp. fffpt.”

“Bear, can you please tell me why someone who has no qualms about biting into my very large arm will not eat pieces of food that are more than a quarter-inch in diameter? Those perfectly good shrimp are going to waste. Never mind. Just enjoy your gravy.”

Stage Manager: But Bear answers not a word, now that her palate has been satisfied. She pads back to her warm blanket and settles in for the morning nap that always precedes second breakfast. The caretaker searches for Buddy, but he has repaired to his throne and is surveying the front lawn of the palace.

“Buddy, does anyone ever realize life while they live it? Every, every minute?”

Stage Manager: Buddy has no idea. He only knows that he realizes gravy every single minute he slurps it up from the breakfast dish. Every. Single. Minute. And then again as he grooms his face. He yawns and looks away. But since it is my job, I will provide the correct answer to the caretaker’s question: the saints and poets may have a bit more insight than most. Maybe. But probably not, now that I think about it.

“Sorry to wax nostalgic on you, old man. I have to get ready for work now.”

Stage Manager: Buddy softly mews his displeasure over being interrupted in his birdwatching pursuits. He turns toward the caretaker with that special look that can mean only one thing: “You really can’t help disappointing me, can you?” Yep, that’s our town all right.


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It should be clear by now to our gentle readers that Buddy and Bear are thespians of the first order, but a few key moments over the past few days have ensured that no other man or beast can top their theatrical prowess. They have proven that each can become so absorbed in a part that the cat actually becomes the character, at least for a brief, glorious while.

Consider first, our resident opossum, starring in the first ever marsupial version of Hamlet:

Playing 'Possum

Playing ‘Possum

A skillful turn of the head, a careful curling of the ear, an awkward angle of the whiskers, et voilà! There is no more Buddy. There is only Polonius ‘Possum, master of all things thanatotic, or at least soporific. Polonius the not completely unratlike creature, at least when his head is resting just so. Polonius the theatrically dead, over whom might be uttered these semi-immortal words:

To sleep, perchance to dream of chicken gravy,
Yea, that very thought must give us paws.
And if we knew what fardels were, we trow
They would be borne with great aplomb and flair,
But enterprises of great pith and moment
Now lose the name of action, for we nap.
(How difficult is life to navigate
In perfect iambic pentameter!)

And so we leave our friend his nap to take. (Oh great, it’s contagious).

Now in non-iambic non-pentameter, let us gently turn to our fading Southern belle, Blanche DuBear, who does not want truth but magic, preferably the kind of magic that produces salmon simmered in sauce. Blanche does not tell truths. She tells what ought to be truth, and today the truth that ought to be is this: Blanche is not an aging, obese cat. She is a lithe, lovely lady, reclining on her very expensive sofa, ready to receive gentlemen callers and sip lemonade.

Blanche DuBear

Blanche DuBear

She stares intently to the audience’s left, symbolizing her inability to escape her tortured past.  Or perhaps that is where the snack bowl has been placed (to the left, not in the past. Do try to keep up.) Regardless, she depends heavily on the kindness of anyone with opposable thumbs and the desire to feed her. And she has never been deliberately cruel, apart from her tendency to dismember crickets.

As with all fine performances, the curtain eventually falls. Shout “Encore!” if you must, but the cats are both now fast asleep. But even in their dreams they conjure new and better characters for our amusement and delight, thinking all the while, “What fools these hoomans be!”

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The caretaker has finished the main portion of her Big Project and is FINALLY able to return to her important duties. Had her neglect continued much further, the cats would have had no choice but to contact Jerry Springer, though they really didn’t want to resort to such measures because a television appearance would have seriously impacted nap times. The more time the caretaker spent away from the Cottage, the more agitated the cats became. Buddy demanded his ear-scratching time, even when the caretaker was so sleepy she could not hold her eyes open. Bear was more subtle with her cries for attention. She seemed to think that the perfect “cute pose” would melt the caretaker’s heart and garner her undivided attention. But even these gems of cat adorableness could not divert the caretaker from her task:

Epitome of Cute, Pose 1

Epitome of Cute, Pose 1, One ear hidden

Epitome of Cute, Pose 2, Don't you just LOVE me?

Epitome of Cute, Pose 2, Don't you just LOVE me?

Epitome of Cute, Pose 3, I am fading and shall not last the night

Epitome of Cute, Pose 3, I am fading and shall not last the night

The last attempt at cute tottered dangerously on the edge before falling headlong into deep drama. But what is a cat to do when both of her caretaker’s hands are on the computer and there is not even a fingernail free to brush her shedding fur?

So now with the caretaker home more often and focused more on their needs, the cats are settling down. Buddy is a little less demanding, a little less frantic, and a little less destructive. Bear is well fed, well groomed, and well, just more contented all the way around. And the caretaker is just glad to have two friends to greet her when she comes home.

Life is good.

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