Just so stories for little children – Rudyard Kipling.
Programming / to stage
You’re going to end up throwing rocks at me, aren’t you?
Another story so well known!
Ah yes, I know. But stories that are so well known are known for something.
And I’m very keen to keep them alive, and to see them on a stage if possible.
This one, if it is created by the gods of puppetry, shadow theatre and light – it will still be an easy : full theatre – with me enchanted and delighted somewhere in the room by the way.
This story comes back to me – strangely enough – in autumn, when it snowed on the summits and the wind full of ice froze us to the bone.
It’s the time when all the “cats who go away by themselves” all go (yes, all – ok, almost) to the same place: to my window – and make their miserable eyes to come in to warm up, eat a little, sleep there – we can share, what? , can’t we?
Of course my son doesn’t resist and of course, every night they are there, on the stairs, on the sofa, in my bed – especially when they have the incredible luck to have the colour of my blanket and I see them too late.
It is my lost fight against cats that brings me back every year to this Kipling story that had so amazed me.
The cat that walked by himself, that’s it ? The free cat, so seducing.
The cat ? an insolent beast, tiny and weak, which allows itself to be afraid of nothing, and to invent its pathetic tricks to get what it wants: warmth, milk, a cushion.
What he teaches us in this story is the absolute intoxication of freedom. He is able to leave and go and enjoy life somewhere else, just because the air is pure and the path full of sunshine. Would we, who dream of freedom so much, be capable of it?
Everything remains behind you, the words, the family, the friends, the failed loves, the old dreams, the ambitions you thought you believed in, and you don’t care, because in front of you there are lots of paths that you choose at random.
And that’s why, even though it sounds so well known, I want to see this story again, on a stage.
Because it’s a story about the incredible taste of freedom.
Kipling hides nothing, and that’s where he is an immense and incredible author: the cost of this freedom is loneliness. He says that to the children.
He also tells this lie to himself of those who have freedom and who dream of love: yes I’ll make your baby laugh … – and the baby laughs, and the cat purrs.
And the cat is bored: all the other wild animals of the wild forest have gone to join the men.
So why not him?
But he needs to save his honour – here he is, so human, our pretty cat, who loves his freedom, his solitude – and who finds it hard to recognize that he also loves, perhaps more, home, love, company, warmth: all this is witchcraft of a woman!
Well, because all paths are equal, we can also choose the path of shared love. But you have to know that you have made this choice. After, all is all right – well, I think.
Yes yes, I love this story, because it leads us to think about what we do, what we want, what we tell ourselves as stories.
There are versions for the stage – not too many – but we can order some for the stage.
Here is a dance version :
A – Russian- version with puppets :
And so in my series: no, children are not stupid, and there are great texts written for them: obviously, I put Kipling’s texts, and this one in the front line.
—- all because my house is currently full of pointy-eared monsters!
Featured Image : The cat that walked by himself, painted by Yoko Akino