Midget in a Catsuit Reciting Spinoza

Carey HarrisonThe Woodstock Players uit New York zien als hun missie “to bring challenging theater to  the Hudson Valley with productions of new and original work.” Twee weekenden deze maand, van 17–19 en van 23–26 juni brengen ze in het Byrdcliffe Theater in Woodstock een nieuw toneelstuk (“de wereldpremière”) van Carey Harrison: Midget in a Catsuit Reciting Spinoza. Het speelt in de jaren ’30 – ’40 van de vorige eeuw en waarin samen worden gebracht Salvador Dali, Hermann Goering, de 300-jarige filosoof Baruch Spinoza (vertolkt door Mikhail Horowitz), en God.

Carey Harrison heeft al heel wat stukken en hoorspelen op zijn naam staan (40 radio dramas, 36 stage plays, 16 novels and over a hundred plays for television – cf hier).
Lees hier over de wat oubollige inspiratie die tot Midget in a Catsuit Reciting Spinoza leidde, maar het is uiteraard het resultaat dat telt. Zien wat de recensies gaan zeggen.

Rollen/Characters zijn
Professor Sir Arthur Midget, also appearing as Tommy the Cat, Arnie the Guard, Carl Schmitt, Albert Einstein, and God
Mary-Jane Hammond, also appearing as Dick Whittington, the Principal Boy
Hermann Goering, also appearing as Mrs Sausagemacher, the Pantomime Dame
Salvador Dalí, also appearing as Adolf Hitler and King Rat, the Villain
Baruch Spinoza, also appearing as Idle Jack, the Lazy Boy
Munich party guests, Auschwitz inmates, Pantomime Rats

Er zijn negen scènes:
1. Beginners Please
2. Goering Sells A Painting
3. The Painter Meets His Muse
4. Spinoza On The Bench
5. King Rat Kidnaps Dick
6. Carl Schmitt Explains Spinoza
7. Goering Interviews The Eternal Jew
8. The Love Song Of Salvador Dalí
9. Inside The Gas Chamber

Ik vond het script. Het stuk begint zo:

LIGHTS UP on an empty space with a recumbent form delineated in light. The recumbent form is a very large CAT, lying on its side with its head in one hand, propped up on an elbow, pensive. Inside the catsuit is ARTHUR MIDGET, baronet, actor, and professional philosopher. He speaks as if explaining a matter to the audience.

MIDGET: As long as the human Mind perceives things from the common order of Nature...

He thinks for a moment.

MIDGET: ... it does not have an adequate, but only a confused and mutilated Knowledge of itself, of its own Body, and of external Bodies.

A sound system crackles into life. Then a voice comes. Monotone. Not very excited.

VOICE: Beginners please. Beginners on stage for Act One please. All Act One beginners please.

No reaction from MIDGET.

MIDGET: Hence we understand that we are simply determined in our ideas - this is the point Spinoza is trying to make - by our fortuitous and haphazard encounter with things in the external world, as my esteemed colleague Professor Perkins puts it. Am I, whom you see before you, to be taken for a cat? A cat certainly - rather than a horse. But if I am to be taken for a cat, am I therefore a cat? Am I, or am I not, 'really' a cat - in the world of theater, where cats can speak?

...

Spinoza zal dus in ieder geval met een professor in de filosofie te maken krijgen.

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