archy and mehitabel

Origins of the play:
Don Marquis (1878-1937) was a newspaper columnist in New York City who, in 1916, announced to his readers that a cockroach had communicated with him in English by diving onto his typewriter keys late at night. For the next twenty years, archy submitted some 500 reports, written in free verse, telling everybody in the world and the world itself what he thought of them. This play was put together using 19 of these episodes.

A Sample from Archy the Cockroach:

I am going to start a revolution.
I saw a kitchen worker killing water bugs with poison,
hunting pretty little roaches down to death.
It set my blood to boiling. I thought of all the massacres
and slaughter of persecuted insects at the hands of cruel humans, and I cried aloud to heaven, and I knelt on all six legs
and vowed a vow of vengeance.
I shall organize the insects. I shall drill them; I shall lead them;
I shall fling a billion times a billion billion risen insects
in an army at the throats of all you humans,
unless you sign the papers for a damn sight better treatment.

A Sample from Mehitabel the Cat:
He had promised me everything, Archy, that cat had.
He had practically abducted me, and then the cheap crook
threw me down before his swell friends.
No lady loves a scene, Archy, and I am always a lady,
no matter what temporary disadvantages I may struggle under.
To hell with anything unrefined has always been my motto.
But an aristocrat must revenge an insult.

Link to Reviews

Full reviews of archy and mehitabel

Photography by Joe Samuels

Photography by Joe Samuels

Photography by Joe Samuels

CONTACT: Jeff Culbert, , 519-317-5697,

archy & mehitabel
(a cockroach and a cat)

“the best solo show I've seen in a long, long time”
– Edmonton Sun
“Eloquent creatures … engrossing”
– Winnipeg Free Press
½ “Joyous and lyrical, a must-see show”
– See Magazine, Edmonton
½ “There is a lot to learn from this scrappy duo” – Winnipeg Sun
Culbert possesses himself beautifully with the soul and spirit of his creatures.”
Edmonton Journal
“A pure delight”
Ottawa Citizen

“wonderful clarity and style”
Winnipeg Free Press
“vivid and unforgettable” CBC Manitoba
“laugh out loud hilarious” Uptown Magazine, Winnipeg
Montreal Gazette (named the #1 show of the Montreal Fringe)
” This is what the Fringe is all about folks: tiny, perfect theatrical gems that will shine in your memory.”
The Coast, Halifax

archy and mehitabel

written and performed by Jeff Culbert, (devised from the works of Don Marquis)

directed by Jayson McDonald (whose Giant Invisible Robot is also part of the Vancouver Fringe)

produced by Ausable Theatre (London Ontario)

appearing at the Vancouver Fringe

Havana Restaurant Theatre, 1212 Commercial Drive, Vancouver

Friday Sept 9, 6:30 pm

Saturday Sept 10, 4:15 pm

Sunday Sept 11, 7:30 pm

Monday Sept 12, 9:00 pm

Tuesday Sept 13, 7:15 pm

Friday Sept 16, 6:30 pm

Saturday Sept 17, 4:00 pm

The Story

Archy the Cockroach has a troubled relationship with humanity. He was a human poet in his previous life, but as a cockroach, he sees things from the underside now, and he wants to share his perspective and do what he can to improve the world. But his life changes when he goes to a rally of angry cockroaches calling for a rebellion against the tyrannical rule of humanity. From there, he sets out on a journey of discovery, trying on the roles of liaison, peacemaker, reformer and revolutionary.

Mehitabel, by contrast, is a good-times cat with an artistic soul and an unbreakable spirit. She has no interest in changing the world; she just wants to live life to the fullest and on her own terms. Her stories are about dancing on the rooftops and adventures with her boyfriends and scraps in the alley and maintaining both her dignity and her joie de vivre.

Source Material

Archy and Mehitabel and all of the other creatures who join them onstage are played by Jeff Culbert, who stitched the script together from the writings of American poet, humorist and folk philosopher Don Marquis. (Marquis actually claimed that Archy the cockroach did all of the writing by leaping around on the keys of the typewriter.) Almost 100 years after their creation, these are still well-loved characters; in fact, Robertson Davies once wrote an essay about Mehitabel, calling her the greatest cat in literature. For more on the source material by Don Marquis, see

Production History

After premiering in London Ontario at the 2009 Fringe, archy and mehitabel hit the road, and it has now been seen in festivals across Canada and the U.S.: Victoria, Edmonton, Swift Current, Regina, Riding Mountain National Park, Winnipeg, London, Ottawa, Wakefield, Montreal, Halifax, Phoenix, Fresno, Indianapolis and Orlando. This is its premiere in Vancouver.

A promotional video for archy and mehitabel :  .

Photos, reviews and details: .
There, you will also find details about Jeff Culbert's new touring show, The Donnelly Sideshow , based on the famous Donnelly feud and murders of 1880.

CONTACT: Jeff Culbert, , 519-317-5697,