Newspaper columns are seldom the stuff of stage. But archy & mehitabel weren't the stuff of your everyday newspaper column. The pair were the invention of New York columnist Don Marquis. Archy, a cockroach, was a poet in a previous life. As for mehitabel, archy recounts: "who were you / mehitabel i asked her i was / cleopatra once she said well i said i / suppose you lived in a palace you bet / she said and what lovely fish dinners / we used to have and licked her chops."
Blending humor and social commentary, the columns began in 1916, ran for a decade, and had a long life in cult-favorite book reprints. Actor and playwright Gale McNeely's A One-Man Archy & Mehitabel, a blend of "banter, song and soliloquy," is a Pittsburgh premiere as Pitt Rep's season-opener.
A One-Man Archy & Mehitabel Fri., Sept. 10-19. Henry Heymann Theatre, Forbes Avenue at Bigelow Boulevard, Oakland. $12-25. 412-624-7529