Desert Companion

Zeit bites: Cocktail theater

catsmeow1.jpg

Cat's Meow
Photography by Richard Brusky

The Velveteen Rabbit bar on Main Street will be the setting for director Troy Heard’s version of the Jazz Age murder mystery, The Cat’s Meow. Steven Peros’ play is based on the real death, in 1924, of a guest aboard William Randolph Hearst’s yacht, in the company of glamorous Hollywood figures. The production will flow throughout the bar, as though viewers were at the party. We asked Heard about the show. 

What about this play lends itself to this immersive staging? Stepping into Velveteen Rabbit is like falling into a rabbit hole: It’s dark, quirky and unique. You feel like you’re in a private club. That’s what made The Cat’s Meow a perfect fit. You feel like you’re at an exclusive party hobnobbing with the elite, and that’s exactly what it would’ve been like aboard Hearst’s yacht. 

Are there special challenges created by the site regarding such basics as positioning the audience?  During rehearsal, we were very conscious of “spreading the love” — if one part of the bar had prime viewing of a scene, we made sure the next scene favored the other end. But the audience response after our workshop was great. Folks said that even if they couldn’t see one moment, they still caught it, and it added much to the cocktail-party atmosphere.

Support comes from

7p, Sundays August 7-September 4, Velveteen Rabbit, $25, brownpapertickets.com/event/2567899

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