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“A Man and His Cat”

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Burt, Andrew Somerville (American playwright, 1973-____), “A Man and His Cat,”

a 35-minute drama in English, set in the living room of a modest country home, suburban New England, U.S.A., late afternoon, winter, 2001,

2m1f (+ 1 cat sitting passively);

  •  © 2001 by Andrew Somerville Burt;  •  script/rights available from Andrew Somerville Burt, 245 Fort Lee Road, Leonia, New Jersey 07605, U.S.A., e-mail burt_andrew@hotmail.com, telephone (home) 201-944-7317.  •  Cited by Andrew Somerville Burt via ftp January 22, 2001; Burt says,

  §  Dramatis Personae James Winters (m), 58, sometimes ‘Jim,’ Margaret’s husband, gruff but affable war veteran, a bit heavy and stooped, with evidence of past strength; Margaret Winters (f), ‘Margie’ or ‘Marge,’ James’ wife, who died a few years ago from an undiagnosable illness; Thomas Winters (m), 21, “Tom,” the only son of James and Margaret, killed in a war seven or so years ago, somewhat frail, artistic, gentle, graceful, emotional—clearly thin and somewhat passive like his mother, tall and attractive like his father, with whom he is at odds for not being strong; Whiskers (male cat or effigy), 15, James’ muse and subconscious.

  §  Synopsis “Comfortable in his living room, James reads a novel about World War II, intermittently discussing wartime. His composure and the surroundings bespeak his long and interesting life. Throughout, Whiskers, an elderly cat, lolls passively on a chair by the fireplace. James speaks to Whiskers as if to himself, as if thinking to himself. James’ reminiscences appear in projections while he drifts between states of consciousness. (Film sequence 1) Tom is a young man before the war playing with other children outside of the Winters’ home. Flashbacks show James and Margaret in their youth. (Film sequence 2) Tom is a teenager playing basketball. (Film sequence 3) Tom, in the Air Force, appears at the time of his death.

  §  Comment “Film sequences intersperse James’ dialogue and scattered memories. Props invoke his surroundings, some of the memories, and dreams. •  The strength of this work lies in the subtle combination of film and theatre for both have equal significance. Some film sequences may be stock footage; others must be new footage. All images, grainy and washed out around the edges, should fill the back wall of the set.  •  This work has not been produced.”

  §  Themes death, family, father-son relationship, love, war.

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Page mounted February 8, 2001, and updated February 9, 2001, by the Webmaster.

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Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online


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