• Written, directed, and performed by Joseph Keckler. Cat Lady is included in the anthology, Animal Acts: Performing Species Now, edited by Una Chaudhuri and Holly Hughes and published by University of Michigan Press. Performances staged at the University of Michigan's Duderstadt Media Center, March 21-23, 2013.

Transcript

  • WEBVTT

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    [APPLAUSE]

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    >> I am not a cat lady,

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    my mother declares,
    a bag of Whiskas under her arm,

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    and a Maine coon at her feet.

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    She marches through the laundry room to
    answer the lament of a portly calico,

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    who is kept locked in the pantry.

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    No, you stay out here, Don Diego,
    she cautions the Maine coon.

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    Mrs. Gummidge has yet
    to reconcile herself to other cats,

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    thus she remains in self-imposed
    exile here in the pantry.

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    She manages to slip into Gummidge’s
    chamber without Don Diego.

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    Well Gummidge,
    you didn't finish your white albacore.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Why didn't Gummidge finish her white

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    albacore, pray tell?

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> She directs the question to the calico,

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    while referring to her
    in the third person,

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    the way in Batman,
    Alfred speaks to Bruce Wayne.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Master Wayne wishes not to entertain

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    any guests this evening.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Gummidge desires that I take this

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    tiresome tuna away, and present her
    in its stead with some fresh Whiskas?

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Or perhaps some Science Diet?

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Gummidge needs a new snacky.

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    She moves from butler talk to baby talk.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Her finished with that tuny.

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    She done.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> She

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    emerges from the pantry, the foam plate
    of abandoned albacore in one hand,

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    the now slightly lighter package
    of Whiskas in the other.

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    She's wearing a calf length pink
    cotton skirt, and a discarded t-shirt

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    of my brother's that bears, down
    the front, the word paranoia six times.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Her hair hangs down to the middle of

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    her back, though it's gradually
    becoming more and more gray, for

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    years it was a deep copper, with just
    two silver streaks framing her face.

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    The streaks had become a lineament
    of her icon in my childhood.

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    Several of my classmates believed her to
    be a witch, citing the strange strands

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    of silver, symbols of age that stood
    in contrast to her still youthful face.

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    Though she has some wrinkles now, her
    lips remain overly full, defiantly young.

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    Only weeks ago, a Walmart one hour
    photo clerk mistook her for my wife.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> She is an age chameleon.

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    Sit down, Carol, she says to my aunt,
    the sister of my father who waits for

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    her in the kitchen.

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    I'm just gonna run upstairs and
    quickly change.

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    Take your time, says Carol.

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    Now, my mother is usually
    an obsessive hostess,

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    assaulting guests with hot chocolate and
    pillows, items of sustenance and

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    comfort, but
    Carol comes over almost every day now.

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    She's slender, with recently bleached
    blonde hair and red lipstick.

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    She had once embarked on
    a Broadway career, but aborted it,

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    opting to marry and raise a family.

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    She is, however,

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    revered among community theatergoers from
    throughout the greater Kalamazoo area.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Her

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    husband Jerry recently had an affair with
    an amateur country western singer, Debby.

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    >> He is now divorcing Carol, and
    she has taken to self-medication,

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    frequently preparing cocktails of
    vodka and various anti-anxiety pills.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> My mother returns.

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    She's wearing a luminous
    gold short-sleeved shirt,

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    a purple skirt with intricate
    black designs and alligator boots.

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    Want to visit Gummidge?

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    Oh, not right now, Sherri, in a bit though.

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    I'll see plenty of her.

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    Carol has agreed to help my mother take
    Mrs. Gummidge to the vet's this afternoon.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> She's awfully forlorn, you know.

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    A one time poet, mixed media artist, filmmaker and high school English teacher,

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    my mother has not created work since
    our house burned down in 1987,

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    destroying her reels,
    assemblages and manuscripts.

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    [NOISE] Duderstadt coffee
    >> [LAUGH]

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    >> Since that time, however,

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    she has devoted herself to the 24
    hour a day interactive performance

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    installation of caring for,
    integrating herself into,

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    taking over, and
    dramatizing the lives of cats.

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    While critics, historians, neighbors,

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    and the mailman all classify this as
    quintessential theater of the cat lady.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> My mother often entitles the piece,

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    I am not a cat lady.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> This could be understood

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    as a surrealist’s strategy.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Akin to that Magritte employed in

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    his image of the pipe, accompanied by
    a caption which reads, “This Is Not a Pipe.”

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    Or perhaps I am not a cat lady is in
    line with the philosopho-religious

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    texts of Simone Weil, who asserted that
    contradiction is the test of reality.

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    My mother, the cat lady who is not,

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    wishes to keep her relationship to
    the cats unexplained, to create a void,

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    a momentary evacuation of meaning where
    something unpredictable might happen.

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    A vacancy could be created and
    God could show up to fill it.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Who knows?

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Similarly,

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    my mother summons the void
    in her baby talk to cats.

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    A militant grammarian, she's prone to
    suddenly deny her understanding of past,

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    present, subject, object,
    effect a speech impediment, and

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    recite Elmer Fuddian incantations.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> I remember once doing my middle school

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    algebra assignment at the kitchen
    table in the company of my mother and

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    our cat, Cubby.

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    A former stray with one ear,
    who had taught himself to sit up, and beg,

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    and wave for treats, play fetch, and
    a variety of other circus bear tricks.

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    As Cubby blankly watched my pencil, in
    the erratic movement of equation solving,

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    my mother announced in baby talk,
    Cubs don't do arithmetic.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> No, him don't do arithmetic.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> She pushed her lips out in a half pout,

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    half kiss, tensing her mouth,
    she spoke in spite of the tension,

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    Cubs don't do arithmetic.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Him don't do arithmetic,

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    him don't have the time.

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    [INAUDIBLE]
    [LAUGH]

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    >> She repeated the phrase over and

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    over again.

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    Chanting it, distorting the words more and
    more each time.

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    Pursing her lips more intensely.

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    She spoke as if she simultaneously wanted
    to be Cubby, to make out with him,

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    and to eat him.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Just gobble him up.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> She would have cuddled with him,

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    if she could have been sure
    she wouldn’t have let herself go,

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    in a Lenny-like moment of over-exuberance.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Instead she cuddled

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    morbidly with language itself.

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    As Warhol dissolved the aura of celebrity,

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    through his serial
    representation of famous faces,

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    as the Marquis de Sade used his
    character's repetition of criminal and

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    perverse acts,
    to purge those acts of their meaning.

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    So, my mother, through use of repetition,

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    flushed all the logic out of
    the fact a cat can't do math.

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    >> [LAUGH]

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    >> Don Diego is named
    after Zorro's alter ego.

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    A dandyish fellow that nobody
    ever suspects of being Zorro.

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    Why no one would, watching our Don Diego
    daintily nibbling on his Fancy Feast.

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    Imagine that when he ventures outdoors,
    he becomes a virile and mysterious hero.

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    >> [LAUGH]

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    >> Mrs. Gummidge is named after
    the widow in David Copperfield.

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    Our Gummidge also weeps.

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    Perpetually, in her own plaintive mew.

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    >> [LAUGH]

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    >> The Doctor Moreau of interior decorating,

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    my mother sits among strange
    mixtures of animal prints,

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    in her dark laboratory of excess.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Zebra print pillows populate the sofa.

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    A deep orange leopard rug spreads
    across the living room floor.

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    And peacock feathers peek out,
    from the Chinese ceramic umbrella holder.

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    The alligator boots,
    my mother has put on her feet

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    are the variable in today’s
    experiment in hybridity.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> She strokes Cleopatra,

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    the chubby Siamese who sits next to her,

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    on one of the five luxurious cat beds
    set up for Cleopatra in the living room.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> She

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    continues to psychoanalyze
    the cats before Carol,

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    who nods quietly and
    smiles her actress's smile,

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    the corners of her mouth rising up and
    tilting slightly downwards at

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    the last moment, like a firework streaking
    up to the sky and failing to explode.

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    Now Carol is afflicted with a rare
    condition called Sjogren’s syndrome,

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    which makes one unable to produce tears.

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    When she feels the urge to cry, she
    must put drops of saline into her eyes.

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    In life and on the stage, she is
    an actress incapable of summoning tears.

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    She often arrives on the porch,
    Visine in hand,

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    coming to present my mother with a new
    plot to sabotage Jerry or win him back.

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    Sherri, I've got it.

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    We can plant a camera in his apartment,

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    and catch him in the act.

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    Or maybe I should just
    write him a long letter.

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    Tell him that I love him.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> What do you think?

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Carol brings plans to my mother like

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    densely tangled knots.

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    My mother carefully unties each one.

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    While she often talks Carol
    out of her outrageous plans,

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    she sometimes trumps Carol
    with cabals of her own.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> A couple of weeks ago, enacting a plan

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    of my mothers, the two broke into Jerry's
    office in the middle of the night

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    to steal financial documents.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> On Carol's more manic days,

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    she greets my mother on sustained pitch,
    in her rich mezzo-soprano voice.

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    And the two exchange operatic dialogue for
    several moments, before Carol inevitably

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    goes careening into an aria about
    the tawdriness of Jerry's mistress.

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    >> [LAUGH]

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    >> [MUSIC]

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    That Debbie is a slut!

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    She shrieks.

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    Carol talks about the divorce obsessively.

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    She refers in a histrionic
    southern accent,

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    to the upcoming hearing as “my trial.”

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Oh Sherri, you gotta come to my trial.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> And testify.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> You could say.

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    Why, Mr. Jerry and Miss Debbie?

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    Why yes, I saw them two, together.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Today though, Carol is subdued.

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    Not despondent, not at peace, just still.

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    Well, acquainted with the pantheon
    of pussies that people my mother's

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    mythologies, She does not mind
    listening to the stream of anecdotes.

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    I don't know what to do with Gummidge,
    my mother sighs, rising from the sofa.

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    She walks across the room,
    to an antique cabinet.

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    The only heirloom that survived the fire.

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    She's sick moaning all the time.

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    I think we're making the right decision,
    taking her out to the vet's.

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    Yes, affirms Carol.

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    My mother draws a silver Jacobson's
    department store box, from the cabinet.

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    She sits back down and opens it.

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    It is filled with photographs of cats.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> My mother is not a linear person, and

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    the images are not
    organized chronologically.

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    She shows Carol pictures of Little Fox,

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    the cat to whom she used to sing
    her original lullaby, Cuddle Cats.

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    In retaliation to my father saying he abhorred the word cuddle.

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    >> [LAUGH]

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    We’re just a couple of cuddle cats,

    206
    00:15:24.779 --> 00:15:26.500
    Cuddling all day long

    207
    00:15:29.040 --> 00:15:41.100
    We’re just a couple of cuddle cats, that’s why I’m singing this song


    208


    209
    00:15:41.100 --> 00:15:49.700
    Cuddling, cuddling, cuddling all day long

    210
    00:15:50.000 --> 00:16:00.000
    Singing, singing, singing our cuddle cat song

    211
    00:16:00.000 --> 00:16:40.000
    [SINGS THE SONG REPEATEDLY]

    212
    00:16:40.067 --> 00:16:50.000
    >> [APPLAUSE]

    213
    00:16:52.214 --> 00:16:53.894
    >> Repeat indefinitely.

    214
    00:16:53.894 --> 00:16:59.220
    >> [LAUGH]
    >> My

    215
    00:16:59.220 --> 00:17:03.570
    mother shuffles past a photograph
    of a cat that catches Carol's eye.

    216
    00:17:05.200 --> 00:17:07.948
    Which one is that, she asks?

    217
    00:17:07.948 --> 00:17:12.020
    Hm, my mother hums.

    218
    00:17:12.020 --> 00:17:12.630
    The gray one.

    219
    00:17:14.300 --> 00:17:19.808
    In the photograph, the cat appears to be
    gray, though as it was taken in black and

    220
    00:17:19.808 --> 00:17:24.587
    white, the cat could have in real
    life been deep cream, pale orange or

    221
    00:17:24.587 --> 00:17:25.883
    perhaps, brown.

    222
    00:17:27.602 --> 00:17:29.095
    I don't want to talk about that one.

    223
    00:17:29.095 --> 00:17:32.230
    >> [LAUGH]
    >> My mother abandons

    224
    00:17:34.110 --> 00:17:37.440
    her gentle nostalgic tone.

    225
    00:17:37.440 --> 00:17:38.670
    Why not?

    226
    00:17:38.670 --> 00:17:40.200
    What's his name?

    227
    00:17:40.200 --> 00:17:40.890
    Asks Carol.

    228
    00:17:42.110 --> 00:17:46.000
    My mother speaks a z word name
    that Carol forgets immediately.

    229
    00:17:47.370 --> 00:17:50.985
    Then she pauses, and
    inhales slowly through her nose.

    230
    00:17:50.985 --> 00:17:56.868
    [NOISE] My second husband
    was a painter and a drunk,

    231
    00:17:56.868 --> 00:18:03.601
    he used to come home and
    throw his paints against the wall.

    232
    00:18:03.601 --> 00:18:11.670
    One night, he came home and threw that
    cat against the wall. He killed it.

    233
    00:18:11.670 --> 00:18:13.540
    Carol gasps.

    234
    00:18:13.540 --> 00:18:16.030
    My mother silently returns Carol's gaze.

    235
    00:18:18.150 --> 00:18:20.730
    There have been three people
    I haven't been able to save,

    236
    00:18:21.950 --> 00:18:23.230
    that cat was one of them.

    237
    00:18:25.360 --> 00:18:28.800
    The first two were my best friends,
    David Grant,

    238
    00:18:30.050 --> 00:18:35.760
    we were best friends in high school and we
    both went to the University of Michigan.

    239
    00:18:35.760 --> 00:18:39.894
    He was an art major, he had
    an original Warhol in his apartment.

    240
    00:18:41.501 --> 00:18:46.213
    And Patricia Alexander, we sang The House
    of The Rising Sun together for

    241
    00:18:46.213 --> 00:18:50.470
    the high school talent show.
    Then she went to school out of state.

    242
    00:18:52.230 --> 00:18:55.840
    Both of them got married
    shortly after college and

    243
    00:18:57.000 --> 00:19:00.576
    I lost them.

    244
    00:19:00.576 --> 00:19:02.703
    To marriage?

    245
    00:19:02.703 --> 00:19:04.620
    Asks Carol.

    246
    00:19:04.620 --> 00:19:09.857
    David was gay but he was in denial,
    he went ahead and married,

    247
    00:19:09.857 --> 00:19:15.499
    and then he separated from his wife and
    moved out to San Francisco,

    248
    00:19:15.499 --> 00:19:19.161
    but he couldn't deal with his sexuality.

    249
    00:19:19.161 --> 00:19:23.420
    He jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge.

    250
    00:19:23.420 --> 00:19:28.836
    And Patricia, one night, her husband

    251
    00:19:28.836 --> 00:19:34.590
    found her hanged in the shed, a suicide.

    252
    00:19:35.870 --> 00:19:36.810
    I've never believed it.

    253
    00:19:38.650 --> 00:19:43.740
    For years, I've had dreams about her
    being trapped under the stairs and

    254
    00:19:43.740 --> 00:19:45.110
    me not being able to save her.

    255
    00:19:46.270 --> 00:19:50.780
    Sometimes, in the dreams,
    I'm inside of her.

    256
    00:19:50.780 --> 00:19:55.073
    Trapped inside her body, and
    trapped under the stairs,

    257
    00:19:55.073 --> 00:20:00.005
    trying to call out, trying to make noise,
    and not being able to.

    258
    00:20:02.193 --> 00:20:04.100
    I think she was murdered by her husband.

    259
    00:20:06.540 --> 00:20:09.800
    I'm the one who lost myself to marriage,
    but I got out.

    260
    00:20:09.800 --> 00:20:16.290
    I fell in love with Lawrence way too
    young, I was 18, and I was pregnant.

    261
    00:20:16.290 --> 00:20:21.644
    He was very well read and very handsome.
    He started beating me as soon as

    262
    00:20:21.644 --> 00:20:28.001
    we married, especially in the abdomen.
    It's a miracle Norm wasn't miscarried.

    263
    00:20:29.615 --> 00:20:33.620
    He broke my hands, he broke my nose,
    he beat me until I was unrecognizable.

    264
    00:20:34.920 --> 00:20:36.780
    One day, Lawrence made me a sandwich.

    265
    00:20:37.790 --> 00:20:42.748
    I thought, how uncharacteristic.
    Braunschweiger.

    266
    00:20:42.748 --> 00:20:47.573
    He had hidden an enormous
    amount of LSD inside.

    267
    00:20:47.573 --> 00:20:51.320
    For hours, I saw only red and green.

    268
    00:20:52.980 --> 00:20:59.656
    Stepped into the bathroom, looked in
    the mirror, and saw a reptile gazing back.

    269
    00:21:03.532 --> 00:21:07.430
    One morning I packed up some things,
    whisked up Norm and got out.

    270
    00:21:08.480 --> 00:21:11.970
    I became unrecognizable on my terms.

    271
    00:21:13.390 --> 00:21:17.940
    I changed my name from
    Sharon Hartsorn to Sara Delassie,

    272
    00:21:17.940 --> 00:21:21.385
    an English ancestor of mine who's
    among the signers of the Magna Carta.

    273
    00:21:21.385 --> 00:21:26.730
    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Then, after the second husband,

    274
    00:21:28.020 --> 00:21:33.650
    I finally married Jim and had Joseph,
    14 years after having Norm.

    275
    00:21:34.910 --> 00:21:39.430
    When I married Jim I just threw
    all my old names together.

    276
    00:21:39.430 --> 00:21:48.958
    My legal name is Sara Christina Sharon
    Christine Hartsorn Delassie Keckler.

    277
    00:21:48.958 --> 00:21:54.991
    >> [LAUGH]
    >> My mother chuckles at her many names.

    278
    00:21:54.991 --> 00:22:00.133
    Carol feels the urge to cry and begins
    to root nervously through her purse of

    279
    00:22:00.133 --> 00:22:05.295
    medications, pulls out her Visine drops,
    and drowns her eyes in saline.

    280
    00:22:05.295 --> 00:22:11.714
    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Well, Carol, the hour approaches.

    281
    00:22:13.459 --> 00:22:18.615
    Let's do it, says Carol,
    dabbing at her Visine tears with a tissue.

    282
    00:22:18.615 --> 00:22:22.440
    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Carol waits on the porch,

    283
    00:22:22.440 --> 00:22:28.260
    as my mother has instructed. She lights
    an extra-long Marlboro cigarette

    284
    00:22:28.260 --> 00:22:33.380
    while my mother single-handedly wrestles
    Gummidge into a cat carrier at the back

    285
    00:22:33.380 --> 00:22:38.240
    of the house, loads it into the silver
    station wagon and pulls up the car.

    286
    00:22:42.850 --> 00:22:47.740
    When my father, a lanky man with
    a few wisps of hair remaining on

    287
    00:22:47.740 --> 00:22:52.100
    his mostly bare head arrives home,
    no one is there.

    288
    00:22:53.290 --> 00:22:58.580
    He's coming home from the grocery
    store he manages. He places a carton

    289
    00:22:58.580 --> 00:23:03.820
    of milk, a package of sliced turkey breast,

    290
    00:23:03.820 --> 00:23:09.080
    and a bag of apples into the refrigerator
    before exhaustedly sitting down

    291
    00:23:09.080 --> 00:23:13.060
    at the kitchen table,
    a sea of the last two weeks' newspapers.

    292
    00:23:14.510 --> 00:23:19.089
    He begins idly reading one of them
    through his square-framed glasses.

    293
    00:23:20.780 --> 00:23:24.740
    He remains here for
    a half an hour before my mother and

    294
    00:23:24.740 --> 00:23:29.343
    Carol come bursting through the door,
    cat carrier in hand.

    295
    00:23:32.813 --> 00:23:34.835
    Roxy has an announcement to make.

    296
    00:23:34.835 --> 00:23:38.080
    >> [LAUGH]
    >> My mother declares.

    297
    00:23:39.720 --> 00:23:41.430
    Who’s Roxy?

    298
    00:23:41.430 --> 00:23:43.814
    My father asks.

    299
    00:23:43.814 --> 00:23:46.040
    Roxy is a cat.

    300
    00:23:48.360 --> 00:23:50.798
    You got another cat?

    301
    00:23:50.798 --> 00:23:53.772
    Yes.

    302
    00:23:53.772 --> 00:23:57.932
    His expression moves
    from puzzle to perturbed.

    303
    00:23:57.932 --> 00:24:01.745
    Jesus
    >> [LAUGH]

    304
    00:24:01.745 --> 00:24:02.920
    [LAUGH]

    305
    00:24:02.920 --> 00:24:04.200
    >> Would you like to meet her?

    306
    00:24:06.500 --> 00:24:07.470
    Suppose so.

    307
    00:24:09.440 --> 00:24:14.111
    My mother unfastens the wire door to
    the cat carrier and a calico scampers out.

    308
    00:24:14.111 --> 00:24:19.955
    Well that's Mrs.
    Gummidge, my father exclaims.

    309
    00:24:19.955 --> 00:24:25.090
    >> [LAUGH]
    >> It was determined at the veterinarian's

    310
    00:24:25.090 --> 00:24:31.470
    this afternoon that the cat known as
    Mrs. Gummidge is not eight years of age,

    311
    00:24:31.470 --> 00:24:37.140
    as previously imagined, but
    is rather a sprightly one year old.

    312
    00:24:37.140 --> 00:24:42.394
    It was also determined at the
    veterinarian's that the cat known as Mrs.

    313
    00:24:42.394 --> 00:24:46.500
    Gummidge had a nasty sliver
    lodged in her side,

    314
    00:24:46.500 --> 00:24:50.355
    causing her to cry and
    act generally like a curmudgeon.

    315
    00:24:50.355 --> 00:24:54.272
    >> [LAUGH]
    >> As this cat's age has been clarified

    316
    00:24:54.272 --> 00:24:58.277
    and troubles assuaged,
    she wishes to put forth a new image.

    317
    00:24:58.277 --> 00:25:05.177
    >> [LAUGH]
    >> And asks now to be known only as Roxy.

    318
    00:25:05.177 --> 00:25:10.904
    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Roxy

    319
    00:25:10.904 --> 00:25:17.430
    is moving out of her cell, and
    into my house, Carol announces.

    320
    00:25:17.430 --> 00:25:20.500
    She had previously toyed with
    the idea of adopting Mrs.

    321
    00:25:20.500 --> 00:25:25.065
    Gummidge, thinking that two sad
    women might make one another happy.

    322
    00:25:25.065 --> 00:25:30.969
    >> [LAUGH]
    >> The way two wrongs make a right.

    323
    00:25:30.969 --> 00:25:34.616
    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Now that Gummidge has appeared,

    324
    00:25:34.616 --> 00:25:37.836
    now that Roxy has appeared,
    rather, she revises her logic.

    325
    00:25:37.836 --> 00:25:41.135
    A happy cat might cheer her up.

    326
    00:25:41.135 --> 00:25:46.610
    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Carol carries Roxy out to the car,

    327
    00:25:46.610 --> 00:25:54.004
    places her in the passenger seat and
    the two drive coolly away.

    328
    00:25:54.004 --> 00:26:01.780
    At 9:30 p.m., my father retreats to bed,
    as he always does.

    329
    00:26:03.500 --> 00:26:09.140
    Shortly thereafter, Cleopatra rises
    languorously from her living room nest

    330
    00:26:09.140 --> 00:26:13.697
    and saunters up the stairs to
    join him in the king-sized bed.

    331
    00:26:16.570 --> 00:26:23.910
    As always, my mother remains indefinitely,
    seated at the kitchen table.

    332
    00:26:23.910 --> 00:26:27.305
    Reading mystery novels and
    sipping flavored decaf,

    333
    00:26:27.305 --> 00:26:30.634
    well into the deep sleep of my father and
    Cleopatra.

    334
    00:26:34.891 --> 00:26:37.905
    She sets her book aside and

    335
    00:26:37.905 --> 00:26:43.690
    creeps out to revel in
    the new space of the pantry.

    336
    00:26:43.690 --> 00:26:49.040
    The erstwhile home of a cat who
    suddenly switched lives and names.

    337
    00:26:50.070 --> 00:26:54.644
    New discoveries through the cat's
    former persona into a liminal zone

    338
    00:26:54.644 --> 00:26:56.981
    between past reality and fiction.

    339
    00:27:03.255 --> 00:27:07.030
    Who lived here, my mother asks herself.

    340
    00:27:09.270 --> 00:27:10.340
    Who was this,

    341
    00:27:12.220 --> 00:27:12.920
    Mrs. Gummidge?

    342
    00:27:15.150 --> 00:27:18.240
    She was a being with no name and
    a being with several names.

    343
    00:27:18.240 --> 00:27:24.020
    She was a Z-word hard to remember with
    a face rendered grey by a limited and

    344
    00:27:24.020 --> 00:27:24.890
    artful memory.

    345
    00:27:26.560 --> 00:27:30.740
    My mother swoops up the bag of Whiskas,
    nearly empty now at the end of the day.

    346
    00:27:31.940 --> 00:27:34.225
    She begins to shake
    it like a giant maraca,

    347
    00:27:34.225 --> 00:27:37.330
    humming a syncopated version of Cuddle

    348
    00:27:37.330 --> 00:27:37.935
    Cats.

    349
    00:27:37.935 --> 00:27:41.300
    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Drawn by the sound of food, or

    350
    00:27:41.300 --> 00:27:46.190
    perhaps by the Latin rhythm,
    Don Diego appears at her feet.

    351
    00:27:46.190 --> 00:27:51.010
    >> [LAUGH]
    >> She does not finish the song, but

    352
    00:27:51.010 --> 00:27:56.190
    pours all the rhythm, the remaining
    morsels of Whiskas, onto a foam plate.

    353
    00:27:58.550 --> 00:28:01.071
    She turns and begins to walk to bed.

    354
    00:28:07.182 --> 00:28:12.328
    Mounting the stairs,
    she pauses, thinking that

    355
    00:28:12.328 --> 00:28:17.728
    she hears the distant cry of a lost,
    hungry feline.

    356
    00:28:24.430 --> 00:28:26.105
    She continues on her way.

    357
    00:28:32.951 --> 00:28:37.950
    The stairs are loud and creaky.

    358
    00:28:39.850 --> 00:28:45.243
    And she barely hears a subtle
    noise of her own soul,

    359
    00:28:45.243 --> 00:28:49.139
    trapped and shifting beneath them.

    360
    00:28:49.139 --> 00:28:56.620
    >> [APPLAUSE]


Cat Lady

From Animal Acts: Performing Species Today by Una Chaudhuri and Holly Hughes, Editors

Info

Creator(s)
Subjects
  • Theatre and Performance
  • Literary Studies
  • Cultural Studies
Date
  • March 22, 2013
Related Section
Keywords
Content Type
Language
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