59:  Our Rehersell

Barn OwlWe met near my sister’s barn to reherse our play.

There was none to see but an owl that lodges with her.

Linkin has this next by heart, and will spread it abroad:

The Most Lamentable Comedie of the Earl of Ox-Foot, containing the pitifull murders of a cook and the old Earl of Hamton, and the bloodie ends of Lord Purrlie, the Queen, Ox-Foot, and his Hungrie Cat, Lion Rampant.

To be played in our Field by the Right Honourable the Earl of Southampton his Cats.

All know their speeches, but we wished to try ourselves with the kitlings.  (We have but one maggot now, because my sister’s other kit was trod on by a fool cow, to her great annoyance.)

Act I.  On the ground.

Enter hungrie Lion (me), who tells of Ox-Foot’s return from Italy, and of his killing a cook.

Three kitlings make a show of what I tell.  Behind me two practise fighting. When a third joins them, the black kit (like to Nero, but with a tail) kills him.

Lion recalls the taste of the cook’s blood:

When first I lapped this sanguine sauce, it seemed

I sat at Purrlie’s laden board.  In life,

this cook had farced old Purrlie’s pigeons fat,

made garnishes, stirred glistening gravies,

and dressed baked peacocks in their bravest plumes;

slipped lobsters from their shells.  O, luxury.

A black cat looking thoughtful.
Nero, who plays Ox-Foot. Gib’s rival poet, and collaborator.

Enter Ox-Foot (Nero) singing:  Venetia, Venetia, chi non ti vede non ti pretia.

Then he boasts of Italy’s hot queens and his singing boy (a tender kitling), and calls on all to marvel at his tail new-trimmed to let his farts fly free.

Thence to the pirates who attacked his ship (a fight enacted by kits) and stole his Italian treasures.  And of how he hates his ugly wife and daughter.

All in Nero’s mighty lines, that I do so envie.

Enter the Queen (my sister).  She greets Ox-Foot as I have writ before.  Exeunt.

Lion, left hungrie, vows revenge.

Act II.  On a roof, for which the wall at our Field will serve.

Enter Young Hamton (the kitchen cat), complaining of the stinks of starveling poets. 

Enter the Ghost of Old Hamton (my sister) with Maggot (my little niece).

While the Ghost calls for revenge, three kits below the wall show him lying inebriate while his wife and Ox-Foot drop a maggot in his ear.

Ghost:

Avenge my guiltless death! Thus was I slain.

False Ox-Foot’s cursed maggot ate my brain.

A dark brown cat, looking serious.
The Kitchen Cat from Place House, who plays Young Hamton.

Young Hamton: O horrible, more horrible, most horrible!

Exit Ghost.

Maggot:

Now he hies him back to hell,

but we maggots know full well

all the vices flesh is hire to:

it was Ox-Foot that did sire you.

Exeunt.  

Act III.  On the ground.

Enter Hamton, with Lion.  Lion tells him Ox-Foot has come to visit, feigns to leave, but hides instead.

Hamton says he knows not what to do.  Kill Ox-Foot now?  Or, if Ox-Foot is his father, why trouble hisself?  And did the Maggot speak true, or was she a devil come from hell to lure him to damnation?

Enter Purrlie (Linkin).  He tells Hamton to marry Ox-Foot’s daughter that is Purrlie’s grand-daughter.  Hamton runs off to find Ox-Foot, pausing to tell all (save Purrlie) that he fears this offered bride may be his sister. 

A ginger and white cat.
Linkin, who plays Purrlie. And does publicity.

Purrlie, believing hisself unobserved, boasts of all his honours and employments, of his kits wed to Earls, and of his fine fur-lined robe:

Now is this coat I took as bribe from rats

made glorious by the pelts of slain cats.

Then, hearing Hamton return with Ox-Foot, he too hides.

Lion:  Murdered cats?  Monster!  He deserves to die.

Act IV. On the ground.

Enter Hamton with Ox-Foot.  Ox-Foot tells Hamton he cares not whether he weds his daughter.  He lacks a son, so begs Hamton to scruff his ugly wife for him.

Lion sees his chance to be avenged on Ox-Foot and Purrlie together.  Oh what joy, to set one at the other!

He bites Purrlie’s tail.  Purrlie leaps from his hiding place.  Ox-Foot, knowing his plot to get a son is discovered, kills him.  Purrlie dies slow, as they do in plays:  Will you murder me? And: Alas, I am slain!  And: Farewell, fur robe, and all my honours.  All!

Hamton: Have all run mad but me?  O, horrible.

Exit Hamton.

Enter Queen:

Good Ox-Foot, who has killed this old fat cat?

Forsooth!  Who ripped his ears and left him flat?

Ox-Foot answers that her beauty must be matched with truth: it was Hamton that killed Purrlie.

The Queen is joyed.  Now she has reason to cut off Hamton’s head.  She wants his hair, because hers has all fell out.

Exeunt

Act V.  The roof (wall).

Enter Hamton, who says he knows not what to do.

Enter Queen, who says he must go to the Tower and await his execution.

Enter Maggot:

Be not too hastie, bald madame,

Ox-Foot’s brat is eke your shame.

He scruffed the Countess, that is true,

But this young Earl was birthed by you.

Enter Ox-Foot.

The Queen calls Ox-Foot a false knave.

Ox-Foot says that the Countess, being a woman much given to scruffing, would not bring up their brat as hers without he scruffed her too.

The Queen is offended, and has at Ox-Foot.  In their fight each receives a mortal wound, and dies.  Slow, with speeches.

Enter Lion.  He bewails his hunger.  Purrlie’s blood tastes of nowt but ink.  He laps the Queen’s and Ox-Foot’s, and tells of the sins therein.  Then he dies, poisoned by their wickedness.

Enter kitlings all.

Hampton:

See how these hordes of imps come hot from hell

to carry off their souls.  Their bodies?  Well,

the earth will not receive them, Heaven knows.

Consign them to the dung-hill, food for crows.

Exeunt.

Two dappled cats sitting together.
Gib and his sister. Playwright/actor/manager and Ghost/Queen respectively.

“What a fool tale,” sayt my sister, when we was done.

“The lackwits called for a tale of blood and scruffing,” sayt I, “and that’s what they get.”

All is ready.

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28 thoughts on “59:  Our Rehersell

  1. Soul Gifts June 23, 2016 / 8:01 pm

    I sort of got stuck at the image of the trimmed tail so the farts could fly free. Gibs has put a lot of work into the drama. Hope it is well received on opening night 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi June 23, 2016 / 8:10 pm

      Gib has a good collaborator in Nero, and an energetic cast. We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed that the kittens continue to behave themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Claudio LeChat June 23, 2016 / 9:26 pm

    I would love to get a cat troupe together to stage Gib’s play. I particularly like Hampton’s closing lines. Too bad that they have now dismantled the pop-up Globe here in Auckland.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi June 23, 2016 / 11:25 pm

      You could do a more intimate version at home, Claudio. But you would, of course, need a wall you could jump up on if you have it in mind to play Hamton yourself.

      Like

  3. camilledefleurville June 23, 2016 / 9:57 pm

    Just love it. I put it on my FB pages , Google+ and twitter. Funny, erudite. Some Shakespeare behind it????? ( 🙂 ). The kittens are awfully well behaved for kittens.The Queen is Queenly and I hope the Owl made a row of applauds when the rehearsal was over!

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi June 23, 2016 / 11:53 pm

      I think Gib was influenced by the playwright Thomas Kyd, who wrote a popular play called ‘The Spanish Tragedy’, which is credited with starting the craze for revenge tragedies. Kyd may also have written an early version of ‘Hamlet’ that Shakespeare based his ‘Hamlet’ on. I believe Shakespeare adapted some of Gib’s work too, though I’ve no idea how he got access to Gib’s papers.

      Liked by 2 people

    • camilledefleurville June 24, 2016 / 1:01 am

      I had forgotten about Kyd and “The Spanish Tragedy”! There is a very good book in French about the Elizabethan and Jacobean tragedy that I read a few years ago. I shall have to have a look at it to follow Gib. By the way, the portraits of the different actors are very realist! The miniaturist is a great artist. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. April Munday June 23, 2016 / 11:53 pm

    Oh, the joy that is Thursday lunchtime.

    It’s a great play. As in every Elizabethan/Jacobean play I’ve ever seen I can’t keep track of the characters or their motivations. I love it. I particularly enjoyed the bit where Lion Rampant was killed by the poison of their wickedness. A fitting end indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi June 24, 2016 / 12:22 am

      Gib certainly achieved a good pile-up of bodies at the end. I wish a wider range of Elizabethan/Jacobean drama was available on video; it’s hard to find anybody other than Shakespeare.

      Like

    • April Munday June 24, 2016 / 1:09 am

      Duchess of Malfi? Aren’t there videos of Marlowe’s plays or Johnson’s?

      Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi June 24, 2016 / 1:32 am

      I saw the Duchess of Malfi on film not too long ago (a Globe production, I think) but when I went to the library looking for Marlowe on DVD, no luck. No Jonson, either. I was hoping to be able to borrow a few!

      Liked by 1 person

    • April Munday June 24, 2016 / 4:34 am

      The Duchess of Malfi from the Globe was on TV last year. I managed to miss most of it for reasons I can’t remember. Possibly I’d recorded it and something went wrong. But it was the beginning that I missed. Having never read it, I couldn’t work out what was going on.
      I just checked my library’s catalogue and and it doesn’t keep them either.

      Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi June 24, 2016 / 10:06 am

      I’d hoped there might be some sort of DVD collection of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, similar to the BBC Shakespeare Collection, but no such luck. 😦

      Like

    • toutparmoi June 24, 2016 / 10:09 am

      A great part for Gib’s sister (had she lived long enough).

      Liked by 2 people

  5. daveply June 24, 2016 / 3:13 am

    Tragic – and confusing. I look forward to the reaction of the lackwits.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi June 24, 2016 / 10:49 am

      Well, the lackwits won’t be able to complain that there’s not enough blood!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Mick Canning June 24, 2016 / 3:21 am

    That is a mean body count, I must say! I trust they will play The Globe in London, so we might get tickets.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Robyn Haynes June 26, 2016 / 6:11 pm

    Blood and scruffing indeed! I love the way the characters die with long speeches.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Claremary P. Sweeney June 28, 2016 / 3:42 pm

    This was quite exiting and Roxie is beside herself because she wants to play the Queen. She’d also like to borrow that cow and introduce her to ZuZu. I loved all of the elements of English plays mixed in. Gib has done a lofty job.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi June 28, 2016 / 6:45 pm

      What a pity we don’t have the whole play, but as Gib’s the only cast member who can read I can see why he didn’t bother to write it all down. Otherwise, Roxie could have organised her own performance, offered a part to Zuzu, and rearranged the ending so that it’s the Queen rather than young Hamton who survives. And if an accident occurred during the production – well, that wouldn’t be Roxie’s fault.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Claremary P. Sweeney June 29, 2016 / 12:37 am

      Enter ZuZu! Cue falling scenery! Bring forth the clumsy cow! 🙀
      Roxie has been practicing the Queen’s death scene with much dramatic flair. 😹She’s considering writing her own original play with a slight bit of plagiarism mixed in. And she’d like me to remind you that nothing is ever Roxie’s fault.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. dornahainds August 1, 2016 / 4:27 am

    I do there’s a Book Deal in this fabulous creation for you, Toutparmoi!

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi August 1, 2016 / 10:22 am

      I’m not sure there’d ever be a huge readership for an Elizabethan cat?

      Like

    • dornahainds August 2, 2016 / 3:43 am

      Well, there might not be a huge audience for Elizabethan cat, but surely there must be something for the Elizabethan/Shakespearan humor… Truly this series is a delight that should be reprinted on paper too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi September 4, 2016 / 10:45 am

      I’m expecting the Folger Shakespeare Library to contact me any day now.

      Like

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