archy and mehitabel

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“The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the human race. “ - Don Marquis

This show is performed and written by Jeff Culbert (based on the work of Don Marquis) and directed by Jayson MacDonald. A cockroach and a cat consider and riff on themes of revolution, seduction, suicide, cosmology and gastronomic unification theories in this lovely collection of the witty and wry observations of their creator, the early 20th century writer Don Marquis.   

Jeff Culbert revives the work in this romping, delicious and satisfying tale of two friends of different temperaments and their views on life.   archy (who types by jumping on individual typewriter keys and therefore can’t produce upper case lettters) scuttles about, dutifully relaying the dire warnings from the insect world of a coming revolution against man.  The way the insects see it, it’s eminently reasonable to overthrow man’s domination and destruction of an otherwise perfectly good planet.  mehitabel the cat is a  sensual being, full of lust for life and love, feisty and ferocious when the occasion calls.

“Persian pussy from over the sea demure and lazy and smug and fat, none of your ribbons and bells for me, ours is the zest of the alley cat.”  Culbert takes lush lines such as this and weaves them into a captivating story that takes aim at human foibles and yet rejoices in living life to the fullest.  “Toujours gai, toujours gai” is the refrain sung by mehitabel and, to her very end, she lives it.  

Jeff Culbert’s stage presence, physicality, timing and beautiful voice are a pleasure to experience in this unusual tour de force.  I had no idea what to expect.  You can expect very good theatre.  Go see it at Havana!

Click here to see some of Don Marquis’ writings.

By Lisa Barrett