Cats take over stage in E.M.U. Theatre

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Special to the Journal-World

Kevin Siess and Tonia Schoen rehearse a scene from "Missy," one of three plays presented as part of "One Act Over the Line."

Past Event

EMU Theatre Presents: "One Act Over the Line"

  • Friday, June 1, 2007, 8 p.m.
  • Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St., Lawrence
  • All ages / $6

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Dean Bevan is a cat person.

"My parents always had cats while I was growing up, so that seemed to me to be the state of nature," the playwright says.

Recently, Bevan was reading a book written by a friend that featured a human-sized, talking white rat.

"That together with having a cat - which is named Missy - it occurred to me I could have a human-sized, talking cat," he recalls.

The result is "Missy," one of the plays debuting tonight at the E.M.U. Theatre showcase called "One Act Over the Line."

In Bevan's piece (which he also is directing), Missy is a pet cat in love with her owner, Jack, a 20-something young man (Kevin Siess). Through a pharmacological incident, she gains the power of speech and grows to human proportions (Tonia Schoen). Complications ensue, such as Jack's jealous girlfriend and his cat-hating roommate.

"It's been important to maintain the sense of realism in what is manifestly an unrealistic situation," Bevan says. "I remember at one point I was talking with the cast about some little piece of business. I said, 'Do you think we can get away with that, or will it strain credibility?' One of the cast said, 'Well, we have a talking cat here.'"

In addition to "Missy," two other single-act plays will be presented as part of "One Act Over the Line."

"Where Should We Have Our Thanks" - which is linked to "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead" as that play is to "Hamlet" - is a project directed by Rachel Sorrels and written by Dan Born.

"Orangeface," directed by David Butterfield and written by Michael Hogwood, concerns a blended family and the difficulties of a stepfather trying to fit in.

Bevan notes there is "nothing stylistically or thematically" that ties the plays together, other than most cast members taking roles in more than one of the three works.

Despite the premise of his production, Bevan assumes if his own cat gained similar powers that things would unfold quite differently than in "Missy."

He says, "My cat is very devoted to me, but I don't think she would put moves on me."

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