22 characters. 5F; 7M; 10 Either; Flexible casting; 15 pages in length. Approximately 15 minutes running time. A canine Cabaret play (with classroom materials) written by August Mergelman. (3 Credits)

The Cat Noir is a cabaret play. Rocky is a bloodhound with a knack for exterminating vermin; Hannah is a German Shepherd who desperately wants to rid her infamous cabaret of some unwanted guests—namely, a trio of fascist Rottweilers. When the General of the Rotts throws Rocky a rubber check for an earlier job, Rocky becomes especially eager to help his new-found femme fatale with her dilemma. The notorious Gigi Dubois, the leader of the French Poodle Resistance, along with Schatzie, Rocky’s trusty sidekick, play pivotal roles in Rocky’s scheme. This fantastic play also includes added materials including improvisation and acting exercises, a project for students and questions for discussion and research. You can find these other fantastic plays by August Mergelman in our Script Library: Spider Besider, Fancy Nancy & the Ants, Persephone, The Magpies, By Jove, A Merry Interlude at Camelot, Mum’s the Word, The Vixen, Couth, Pantalone’s New Pantalones, The Honest Impostor, The Weaver Girl & the Cowherd, The Dragon & the Pearl, Polly Peachum & the Pirates, Lady Scottish Play, Penny from Heaven, Trade Trade Secrets, Jackie & the Beans Talk, North Paws.

As a playwright, August Mergelman has one simple goal: to bring classical works to the modern audience. It seems that so many of the world’s great dramas are obscured by their own magnitude. August does not believe that any of history’s great playwrights would truly want their works to be intimidating or bewildering. First and foremost, they were showman; they crafted their works to be engaging, challenging, and most importantly, entertaining. As a fourth-generation Colorado native, August is proud of his western heritage, which is manifest in several of his western settings. His works have been featured in the Playwrights’ Showcase of the Western Region and the Rocky Mountain Theatre Association’s playwriting Competition.

Excerpt from the play:

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Rocky Hamelin — a sleuth; a stray bloodhound
Schatzie — his trusty sidekick; a dachshund
Announcer — a voice on the radio
General — the leader of the Rottweilers
Hannah Headley — a femme fatale; a German shepherdess
Adolphe — an uncouth Rottweiler soldier
Rudolphe — another
Randolphe — another
Da One — an irreverent twit
Da Two — another
Da Three — another
Gigi Dubois — the leader of the French Poodle Resistance
Cat One — a tough alley cat
Cat Two — another
Paperboy — sells newspapers
Bernie — an avant-garde dog
Rat One — a Rat Pack member; a crooning rodent
Rat Two — another
Rat Three — another
Gretel — a cabaret chorine
Gretta — another
Gretchen — another

(The action takes place in a city that, politically speaking, has gone to the dogs.)

(In front of the curtain, Rocky sits at his desk down left, listening to the radio. A microphone stand is down right.)

Rocky
(To the audience.) It had been a lean week for me and my sidekick. Under the Weimaraner Republic, this town had sky-high inflation. After them came the Rottweiler Regime—efficient, but savage. The economy still chugged along. We were waiting for the check for the last job we did. Until it came, we could barely afford to listen to the radio.

(He turns up the dial. Hannah enters right to the microphone. She sings “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home?”)

Rocky
Ah, but to listen to that sweet voice howl a tune…

Schatzie
(Peeks in left.) Hey, Rocky, she’s singing your song!

Rocky
Ah, if I knew a dame back home who had chops like that, Schatzie, I never would have strayed. Has the postman come yet?

Schatzie
Not yet, but when he does, I’ll make such a racket his teeth’ll rattle.

Rocky
Never mind that. Just be on the lookout for that check.

Schatzie
Right! (Exits left.)

Rocky
(To the audience.) On the street, I’m what they call a stray. My body wandered into this distant and decadent city because it’s attached to my nose, and I have a nose for adventure.

(Hannah exits right.)

Announcer
(Enters right to the microphone.) We interrupt this live broadcast to bring you another comforting message from our autocratic sponsor, General Rottweiler…

(Announcer exits right while General enters right.)

Rocky
(To the audience.) A message from that galoot is about as comforting as a bubble bath to a cat.

General
(At the microphone.) Citizens, in order to better keep the peace, the government will now be eavesdropping on most of your telephone conversations and imposing a curfew of ten o’clock for cats. Any cats who are found wandering the streets after that hour will be taken to the cat pound. Remember, we take these measures for your own safety.

Rocky
(To the audience.) To me, he wasn’t just a lot of hot air over the radio, he was a chubby face stuffed with a lot of bombast. If you must know, he was my last client. Only, my clients usually pay me. I recall our one and only conversation vividly.

General
(Crosses and sits in front of the desk.) Herr Hamelin, if you can rid my barracks of that pack of rats, I will pay you most handsomely.

Rocky
Pay me modestly up front, and you’ve got yourself a deal.

General
Impossible. The Rottweiler Reich pays only for services rendered.

Rocky
Well, it better. Anyone who welches on a deal with Rocky Hamelin lives to regret it.

General
Herr Hamelin, one should be mindful of who one is addressing.

Rocky
Likewise, General.

(General exits right. In disgust, Rocky turns down the radio. Murmurs emanate from off left.)

Schatzie
(Enters left.) Boss, you have two visitors.

Rocky
Do they have names?

Schatzie
If they do, they ain’t sharin’ ’em.

(He motions for Hannah and Gigi to enter left, then exits left.)

Rocky
(To the audience.) The pair of ’em pranced in like royalty of the highest pedigree. The one with the perfume paid me no mind and uttered not one word. I didn’t recognize the breed. The other one, the German shepherdess… Well, let’s just say there was a mutual spark between us. Now, was it a spark of attraction or repulsion? The answer is yes. Her big brown eye seemed to say…

Hannah
Watch out, bloodhound. My bite is worse than my bark.

Rocky
(To the audience.) But her other eye was a different color—a cool, calculating color. It seemed to say…

Hannah
But barking is for unsophisticated fools who don’t know how to get what they want.

Rocky
(To the audience.) I suppose a less sophisticated dog than yours truly would have wagged his tail, but I had enough smarts to keep my cool.

Hannah
Mr. Hamelin, I’ve heard so much about you.

Rocky
About you, I’ve heard so little.

Hannah
Then think of it this way—my secretary and I won’t burden you with any chitchat.

Rocky
All right, then. It’s your nickel.

Hannah
I heard from a friend, who heard it from a friend, that the Rottweiler barracks was crawling with a pack of rats—that is, until you showed them to the door.

Rocky
That is, until I showed them to the White Elephant Casino down the street. Now that rat pack plays to a packed house. You see, the trick isn’t crowding them out. The trick is ushering them in somewhere else. Are you having trouble with a pack of rats, too?

Hannah
No, a pack of Rotts.

Rocky
Oh. You don’t strike me as the kind of dog who’d have trouble with Rotts. No offense.

Hannah
None taken. I’m a German shepherdess, after all, and for that reason alone, they count me as one of their own. Now, don’t get me wrong—I’m proud of my breed—but I don’t feel superior to other breeds, and I certainly don’t have it in for cats the way those Rotts do.

Rocky
(To the audience.) Darn it all. I was hoping this femme fatale was rotten to the core. I wasn’t counting on actually having to like her.

Hannah
Mr. Hamelin, I’m going to ask you a yes-or-no question, and the rest of our conversation is going to hinge upon your answer.

Rocky
I’m a good sport. What the heck?

Hannah
Do you know of a specific way to get rid of a pack of Rottweilers?

Rocky
Sister, if I knew how to do that, they’d put up a statue of me in the town square, and—

Hannah
And they’d rename the town after you. I know, I know. But I’m thinking of just three Rotts in particular. They’re cramping my style. Do you know a way of… showing them to the door, permanently?

Rocky
Well, I…

Hannah
Yes or no?

Rocky
No. I don’t know of a way, but I know there has to be one.

(After exchanging a look, Hannah and Gigi get up to leave.)

Hannah
Mr. Hamelin, I appreciate your honesty, and I won’t waste a second more of your time.

Why Subscribe?

kk-question box coloredInside Drama Notebook, you will find a huge collection of well-organized lesson plans, scripts for kids, drama activities, 50 drama games on video and more! Membership is only $9.95 a month. Join today and dramatically reduce your planning time while delivering fresh, innovative drama lessons to your students!

If you are new to teaching drama, this site will be a Godsend!

You will immediately feel confident about teaching drama like an expert. The site guides you step-by-step and provides you with materials that you can use right away with your students.

If you have been teaching for years, Drama Notebook will inspire you with a fresh new approach and innovative ideas!

The site is packed with original, innovative lessons and activities that you will not find anywhere else—and new materials are added monthly.