by Stephen Sachs
In honor of National Cat Day, I celebrate Nathaniel Hawthorne — the fat, furry feline I rescued from a shelter to co-star in our Fountain Theatre production of Park Your Car in Harvard Yard starring Robert Symonds and Elizabeth Reilly in 1995.
The script called for a fat cat to be brought on stage. I searched animal shelters throughout LA. until I discovered Nathaniel stuffed in a cage in Glendale. “That’s him,” I said, and brought him back to the Fountain. Nathaniel hung out with us in the office all day during the run. At curtain time, he would be brought downstairs to the theatre and wait backstage for his cue. At the proper time in the play, Bob Symonds would carry the cat out on stage for his one scene. After the performance, Nathaniel was returned upstairs and slept in the office, enjoying the actor’s life. This routine happened nightly.
Well … the production was a smash hit. We moved the show to the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble on the West Side. Nathaniel could not stay overnight at the Odyssey. Therefore, four times a week, the cat was put in a car at the Fountain, driven across town to the Odyssey, would do his one scene with Bob and Liz, and then be driven back to the Fountain that night. For three months. When the Odyssey run was finally over, Nathaniel lived at the Fountain, yet another out of work actor. He spent the remainder of his life with us as a happy and well-loved theatre cat at the Fountain.