Completing the first draft of a new play and I’ve created a character called Catgirl. The description, Youth.

Catgirl lives on a ladder, is illuminated by the moon, and reads the opening strains of Beegu. I am writing in a partner, Owlboy, who sits at the edge of the world and witnesses Catgirl’s exit. I wonder what’s going on between them.

This evening, I was having a look at Sophie Herxheimer’s new blog. She included the text to Miroslav Holub’s The Cat, which is extraordinary. It contains what I am looking for, the feeling of exile from the self, extraordinary fairytale landscapes of beautiful desolation, bewitchment, internecine behaviour, ghosts.

Don’t get me wrong, the last thing I want to write is something “emo”. I do not see permanent misery as something beautiful and I do not advocate shoe-gazing, a phrase Louise reminded me of today when we talked about the depiction of gender and romantic love in romcoms. I am attempting to skate a fine line and I wonder what the result might be if this piece was ever staged. My primary example of how to treat the heavy and serious subject of loss, madness, and misery is the wonderfully light Gross Und Klein that was at the Barbican a couple of years ago. Magnificent. It sparkled and tripped throughout and that is what made it delicious. Similarly, the best ever playing of the scene before Konstantin shoots himself in The Seagull was the one I saw directed by Elena and Philippe in Paris. Nina was sparkling like she’d never done before, almost like a diamond but we knew that she was at the height of her brittleness. Konstantin was held and idealistic. “Play him like the Nazi you are!” is the terrible-amazing direction he was given. You recall Cabaret and the first hauntingly beautiful strains of the Nazi soldier? Yes, exactly that. Incredible version of a heartbreaking scene. They danced, and laughed and played games. And that is the only way to break our hearts in the worst possible way.

Translated by George Theiner from the Czech:

The Cat

Outside it was night

like a book without letters.

And the eternal dark

dripped to the stars through the sieve of the city.


I said to her

do not go

you’ll only be trapped

and bewitched

and will suffer in vain.


I said to her

do not go

why want



But a window was opened

and she went,


a black cat into the black night,

she dissolved,

a black cat in the black night,

she just dissolved


and no one ever saw her again.

Not even she herself.


But you can hear her


when it’s quiet

and there’s a northerly wind

and you listen intently

to your own self.


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