Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Wettest Beak

One from our Voraxical Theatre blog:

Catclaw associate Sherry Deatrick has a new play, The Wettest Beak, currently running at the Rudyard Kipling on Oak Street in Louisville, as part of the Finnigan Festival. The play is the third installment (and we hear there will be a fourth!) in her series that began with Beak Wet, Everybody! and followed by Beak Wetter.

As per our own Voraxical values, Deatrick's idiosyncratic style puts texture ahead of content and character development over story arc. To attempt description of the dadaistic goings-on would do the works an injustice; suffice it to say there's a mutant half-human-half-chicken and a swingin' UPS man who rock the boat for a family of eBay-obsessed apocalypse-minded hillbillies. Our pal George Bailey, who worked with us on A Day in the Life of Eddie Jester, Toulouse-inations and Patrick Amsterdam, did an outstanding job here, both as director and as actor, reprising his role as "Teensy".

The actors rarely stand still in a Deatrick play, tending to leap, swish, and gyrate endlessly like Charles Ludlam characters would be if they were spazzed out on crystal meth in a trailer in Floyd's Knobs. That being the case, almost all the photographs taken ended up in blur-o-vision. (But the actual play was blurry too.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pantomime's Progress

It's beginning to look a lot like Catclaw. As snow piles up outside my window, I've been encamped at home putting together the first draft of Son of Grimaldi, which is finally taking shape through the misty muse of Duvel.

As I predicted earlier, the story bears about as much resemblance to historical fact as Toulouse-inations did to the life of Toulouse-Lautrec. Using as its starting point the tension between the elder Grimaldi and his son (who is expected to carry on his father's craft), we veer into such tangential matters as British secret societies, clairvoyance, guardian angels, nudity, quantum physics (no, really!) and Santa Claus.

- Jeffrey Scott Holland, Catclaw Theatre Company artistic director, 12/11/2010.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Son of Grimaldi" excerpts!

JSH, on his writing blog, provides a couple of quick glimpses at his play in progress, Son of Grimaldi.

Click here!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Call for Plays

It's another Catclaw call for scripts! Short plays, one-acts and full-lengths are being considered for performance. We'll sincerely look at anything we receive, but some helpful guidelines and suggestions from our Artistic Director, Jeffrey Scott Holland, are probably in order:

  • No contemporary politics. We aren't interested in plays about modern political issues or figures. For example, David Hare's very successful play Stuff Happens presents us with Bush Administration figures standing around onstage talking about terrorism and war, for three hours. We're supposed to be impressed that much of the dialogue is taken verbatim from their actual Oval Office discussions. To paraphrase the great Truman Capote, that's not writing, that's just cut-and-pasting.

    A historical political play, on the other hand, would be more likely to interest us. But even then, a dry essay on Warren Harding's political misdeeds would bore us just as dreadfully as one about Bush's.

  • No preachy social issues. There's an unfortunate trend these days towards shorter, simpler, smaller-scale plays that invoke certain buzzwords that look good on certain kinds of grant applications. And so we're seeing more and more plays that consist of just two or three characters (or even just one monologuing his or her heart out) on a minimal set, talking about "relevant social and political issues." If you ask me - and I know you didn't - that kind of "Theatre of NPR" jazz is about as interesting as watching a staged reading of transcripts from the Congressional Record.

    Kia Corthron's Trade (one of the 2007 Humana Plays) consists of two women, one of whom is an American wearing a burqa as a form of protest, sitting around talking about politics in the Middle East. And that's it. I'm Not kidding. According to the Feminist Spectator's review of the show, "Corthron crystallizes issues of identification and empathy that overshadow our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the politics of the Taliban, and the detentions at Guantanamo".

    Well, that's just great. If I wanted to watch CNN, I would have stayed at home and done so.

  • No audience-interactive "figure out the murderer" mysteries. That's a genre we scarcely recognize as legitimate theatre, but it's not our cup of tea regardless.

  • No children's plays. By that, we mean plays for children. But plays that give serious, even starring, roles to children are welcome.

  • No plays that call for strobe lights, video monitors or music cues of contemporary pop/rock music. We don't do strobe lights. We don't do video monitors. We just don't. Plays that specifically require modern pop/rock will be jettisoned - partially because we don't want to bother with the copyright issues but more importantly, because we don't want to associate ourselves with those bands/artists. (We once had a director who, over our objections, wanted to use not just one but several songs from a Katy Perry CD in a play. Katy Perry, of all things. To put it mildly, Katy Perry is a perfect example of the kind of culture we are trying to get as far away from as possible.

  • No "argument" plays. Avoid plays that rely heavily on people yelling and screaming and arguing. The real world is already filled with obnoxious and irrational people; we don't need to see more of the same onstage. And putting these arguments in a setting with ethnic stereotypes will guarantee we don't even finish reading it.

    Alrighty then, get the picture? (Say "yes, we see.") If there's anything left in your word hoard that this extensive hate-list didn't disqualify, you might already be a winner. Dust off that pretentious surrealist play you wrote about the ghost of a 19th century Russian princess who ends up developing an obsessive relationship in 1933 with a British Freemason and safari hunter who now lives in Ohio and works in a bank that turns out to be a front for a pagan religious cult with charming but eccentric rituals.

    Direct e-mail submissions to
  • Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    Son of Grimaldi

    Catclaw's artistic director Jeffrey Scott Holland is currently working on several new plays, including one tentatively titled Son of Grimaldi, about the relationship between 19th century clown Joey Grimaldi and his son, Joey Jr. who tried unsuccessfully to follow in his famous father's footsteps.

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    "Suspension of Disbelief" Returns!

    After a hiatus, Jeffrey Scott Holland's Suspension of Disbelief column for Theatre Louisville is back. This week, JSH looks over the newly-announced 2010-2011 season schedule for Actors Theatre of Louisville, including suprising entries like Mystery of Irma Vep and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom...

    (pictured: Ma Rainey and her band)

    Monday, March 22, 2010

    Invasion of the Cherry Sisters

    One of our favorite bold-surrealist turn-of-the-century Victorian vaudeville acts, The Cherry Sisters, are the subject of Dan O'Brien's wonderful play The Cherry Sisters Revisited, currently playing in Louisville as part of the Humana Fest.

    Everything about the show screams Catclaw, so how could we not love it? Seriously, this play sums up just about everything that we're about, so please go and see it. We had kicked around the idea of doing this play ourselves over a year ago, or perhaps a Cherry Sisters revue of our own, but ATL's production is surely the definitive standard by which all future versions should be judged. Oh hell yeah. Amen. Selat.