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of live pussycats and dead horses

My stay in New York included animals. Of course.

It was pouring down rain on Saturday and it was the best time to hit up Shakespeare & Co. Booksellers at NYU. The theatre section is downstairs and they didn't have what I wanted. But as Mick says: But sometimes, You might find, You get what you need.

The downstairs assistant manager is an insistent pussycat somewhat more than the volume of Meowvatar's. She insisted I sit on one of the low book stools or she'd trip me, then jumped into my lap and flattened it. Big-engine, giant-economy-size purrs. I wound up covered in cat hair [well, my legs, anyway.] She didn't care I had a show to go to. SHE was the show, right? [Not that she was asking, there was no doubt.]

She got all blissed out when I explored her tummy fur and tumbled over and fell .33 meters [one foot] to the floor and jumped right back up onto me again. Ah, the feeling of being wanted. She was very careful with her claws. [Unlike some other pussycats I know :( ]

All kinds of rain sound effects from above us but we were very dry and happy.

We had quite the stage dialogue going: I was purring too.

She fell asleep and I carefully exited up the stairs [not for the first time in my life, either!]

Then: Sam Shepard's "Kicking A Dead Horse" at the Public. Another triumph.

There are three characters. One is a dead horse. She's dead but she has to follow stage directions. The second is a beautiful lady wearing a ten-gallon cowboy hat [which she removes] and very little else [no real need to remove any of that].

The lady has no lines but she has to walk up out of the horse grave and go back down there.
[The horse is not in it.]

The horse has no lines either, not as much as a single whinny, but she has to.... well, you know. She also has to lie very still when she's kicked [thus the title] and has her tail played with. I can see why she passed the auditions, this would be difficult for a human female, too.

The third character is a jaded, frustrated art dealer from New York. He not only has *all* the lines, he talks to other characters inside himself too. He is there on the southwest USA desert (1) lost; or, (2) camping; or, (3) trying to find his roots; or, (4) trying to find valuable artifacts for his gallery; or, (5) all of the above.

Stephen Rea is the lead and he's fantastic and he opened the show in Dublin [Abbey Theatre, ring a bell?] and now in NYC.

The lighting is a designer's dream: twilight, dawn, midnight, electrical storm close; high wind, thunderstorm far away / closer / on top of you / receding. Sometimes hilariously cued to the lines.

Can't tell you what the horse finally does but it is totally awesome and amazing. You've never seen any dead horse like this. You've probably never seen any dead horse in the first place.

Shepard has won the Pulitzer, Obie, Tony, Oscar, all of them. He directed. He was there in the booth and scurried off afterwards.

I was in the front row of a Master Playwriting class he taught, a couple years back. He didn't like me because I asked impertinent questions [that showed I'd read some of his obscure plays like "Operation Sidewinder". Only Ian Hill would have also read that, methinks.]

Anyway I did not sit there in the audience like some dead horse.

But I could do the show, wonder if they need an understudy.

Next time I will bring Downstairs Pussycat Manager. She will not stay in my lap, she will go up on stage and sit on top of the horse. She obviously knows how to find her light. Like all pussycats.

She will also jump down into the grave and steal the show because everyone will only stare at the edge and wait to see when she comes back out.

Come to think of it, I'm still waiting for this one certain pussycat myself.

Who is not dead. I can't see her but that doesn't matter.

I can hear her purring.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 9th, 2008 11:17 am (UTC)
I love bookstore cats. I haven't been to Shakes & Co. for many years now - I'm almost never in that part of the city - but since they opened the basement (which was several years after the store itself opened) there seems to have been a feline manager down there (the one I knew was a less-friendly but gorgeous longhair who lay across shelves with an imperiously royal air and stared at interlopers to his/her domain).

The Shepard sounds . . . like recent Shepard. I love his earlier work - yes, I've read, and do like Operation Sidewinder - but post-Fool for Love he's kinda lost me. Someday I'll finally stage my favorite play of his, Action, which has been a longstanding dream. Actually, that might be a good one for next year . . . thanks for bringing this up!
Jul. 10th, 2008 06:42 am (UTC)

As you probably know, Action and Killer's Head are two short plays that are often on a double bill: seen both twice, widely differing production values. I think you'd fall in love with Dead Horse, they've extended it thru August 10 I believe. The surface storyline is very accessible and some of the tech is absolutely hilarious, both you and Berit would love it [being techies in your genes like I am!]
Jul. 10th, 2008 06:44 am (UTC)
Yep, gorgeous longhair, that's her. She's made lots of adjustments to the "less-friendly" bit. I'm still picking up stray strands of her hair ... umm, fur :)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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