If you crossed Punch and Judy with Tom and Jerry, but replaced Jerry with say... a cockroach, then you can somewhat arrive at Ralph Lee's Communications from a Cockroach: archy and the under side[sic]. The production, seen earlier this season at HERE Arts Center, will end the first leg of its New York City's parks tour July 1 then start up again Aug. 4-Sept. 15.
Based on poet and New York Evening Sun writer Don Marquis' cockroach-and-cat duo, Archy and Mehitabel, puppeteer Lee strings them up and gives them life. In Communications from a Cockroach, the poetic roach Archy conjures up a world of fantasy in which he explores art, love, life and of course, roach poison.
Director-designer Lee, who founded the internationally-known Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, has won numerous awards for his work in performance and puppeteering. He has garnered two Obie Awards, a Bessie Award, two American Theatre Wing Design Awards and two citations for excellence from Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA), an international puppetry organization.
Lending their hands to Communications from a Cockroach, being presented by the Mettawee River Theatre Company and The Shakespeare Project, are George Drance, Tom Marion, Margi Sharp and Sam Zuckerman. The show also features an original score by Neal Kirkwood.
Here is a tentative listing of where you can catch Cockroach: June 28-July 1 - Sakura Park, Morningside Heights, Manhattan at West 121 St. and Riverside Drive
Aug. 4-5 - Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island at 1000 Richmond Terrace
Aug. 9-12 - Jefferson Park, Battery Park City, Manhattan at Chambers St. and West Side Hwy.
Aug. 18-19 - Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx at the Van Cortlandt Mansion (West 242 St. and Broadway)
Aug. 23-26 - Fort Greene Park, Fort Greene, Brooklyn at DeKalb Avenue and Cumberland St.
Aug. 30-31 - Sunset Park, Sunset Park, Brooklyn at 41 St. and Fifth Avenue
Sept. 1-2 - 6:00PM - Socrates Sculpture Garden, Astoria, Queens at Vernon Blvd. and Broadway
Sept. 6-9 and 13-16 - 7:30PM - Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, Morningside Heights at West 110 St. and Amsterdam Ave.
All performances are free to the public, begin at 6:30 (unless noted otherwise) and are subject to change. For more information or updates call the Shakespeare Project Hotline at (212) 479-7710.
— by Ernio Hernandez