THE OLD NEW NORMAL, Chapter 3: Looking Fur-ward

By Liz McLeod

Again Your House Manager


“The time has come,” declared Miss Carol T. Cat, “to discuss the future.”

I rolled over in bed, squinted, failed to make out the hands of the clock in the pre-dawn gloom, and strongly disagreed with Miss Carol’s expressed opinion.

“Nevertheless,” Miss Carol continued, sinking her claws into my cheek for emphasis, “the time has come. I have prepared a number of suggestions for future theatre program which you will no doubt find stimulating.”

“I don’t do programming,” I moaned, attempting to release claws from cheek. “I can’t even program you. Leemeelone an’ lemmesleep.”

“I have reviewed the Strand Theatre’s programming since reopening,” she continued, “and I find much worthy of praise. "In The Heights" and "Summer of Soul" brought the joy of music to a populace weary from months of pandemic ennui. These programming selections are to be commended. I also found “Dream Horse” to have been a heartwarming and wholesome motion picture experience – but with one significant shortcoming.”

I knew what was coming, and, since I lay flat on my back with a large, ferocious felid atop my chest, I was in no position to protest.

“There were, in that film,” she continued, in a voice almost as sharp as the claw now shifted to a place just northeast of my jugular vein, “a number of species depicted. Equines were of course, prominently featured – but conspicuous by their absence were felines. Do you have an explanation for this?”

“Cats don’t race,” I mumbled. “They hardly even move. Except at 4 in the morning.”

“I find, in fact, that none of the motion pictures featured at the Strand over the past month have in any way featured felines. I find this unacceptable, and I direct you to take steps to remedy this shortcoming at once. To aid you in accomplishing this goal, have prepared a series of selections for consideration.”

I groaned, because what else can I do?

“Number One. ‘Cat People.’ I imagine that a motion picture depicting hew-mons happy in their service to their feline supervisors would prove quite successful with your patrons.”

“We showed that in 2005,” I sighed.   “It’s not about that at all. It’s a horror picture. You wouldn’t like it. Cats don’t come off too well.”

“Hmph,” growled Miss Carol. “Then I direct that you have all existing prints collected and burned at once. Such propaganda can only harm feline/hew-mon relations. In any event, consider then selection number 2. ‘Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.’ As all felines know, much rest and relaxation can be obtained upon a comfortably-heated surface, and doubtless the film would prove educational for hew-mons desiring to provide their supervisors with a pleasant and edifying home environment.”

“That’s not what it’s about,” I moaned. “It’s – well, never mind what it’s about. There’s no cats actually in it."

“Then I direct that you file litigation at once against the producers of this sham for false and misleading advertising. Such practices delude the patron and degrade the profession.”

“Look,” I exhaled, attempting to sit up. “We’ve got a lot of great stuff coming up in the weeks ahead that everyone is really sure to like, OK? Our next film is a documentary about the life and career of Anthony Bourdain. It’s produced by Morgan Neville, the same filmmaker responsible for that Mr. Rogers documentary a few years back, OK? So you know it’s going to be interesting, illuminating, and memorable. And then after that we’ve got a really interesting science documentary about the search for a previously-unknown species of whale identified only by its call.”

“I approve of films dealing with aquatic creatures,” declared Miss Carol. “I find them most flavorful. I would suggest, however, that a film dealing with a large yellowfin tuna may prove to be more to my taste. Preferably served with a rich, savory sauce.”

“Look,” I began, but my pointed reply slipped away like a blanket on a hot night.

“Upcoming film choices are satisfactory,” Miss Carol continued. “I shall await your report on patron response to these features with great interest. However, I call to your attention a film released in 2019 that I recommend for consideration. It is entitled, with gracious simplicity, “CATS.”


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