Ralph Lee's Mettawee River Theatre Company returns to the Outdoor Garden of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine with Lee's "Communications from a Cockroach: Archy and the Under Side," drawn from the Archy and Mehitabel sketches written by noted humorist and poet Don Marquis for his daily column in the New York Sun starting in 1916.
The illustrious Archy is a cockroach who possesses the reincarnated spirit of a free-verse poet and who finds his means of expression by jumping from key to key on Marquis' typewriter. He shares with us his misadventures as well as those of Mehitabel, an alley cat with the soul of Cleopatra. Archy, Mehitabel, and their lowlife acquaintances face the bewildering challenges of the modern world with humor and determination.
The production incorporates a wide array of puppet critters operated by actors in full view of the audience, from fleas, tarantulas and crickets to an ancient Egyptian mummy - straight from the nooks and crannies of early 20th century New York.
According to Ralph Lee, director/designer of Mettawee River Theatre Company: "Although most of them have more than four legs, the characters created by Don Marquis are bursting with humor and wry observations of human nature. They took the stage by storm in our original production, and here they are again, in a expanded version of the show."
"Communications from a Cockroach" was originally co-produced by the Mettawee River Theatre Company and the Shakespeare Project in 2001. In addition to Mr. Lee's puppets, masks and set, the production has costumes designed by Casey Compton, and an original musical score by Neal Kirkwood, performed by musicians Dennis Sullivan (vibraphone), Ed Rosenberg (saxophone) and Amelia Grossman (double bass).