A Bohemian Cats Theatre Tarot vignette. The Three of Pentacles
Bohemian Cats,  Bohemian Cats theater tarot,  Bohemian Cats' Theatre Tarot,  Dressed cats,  dressed cats

Hey diddle diddle, a cat and a (stupendously rare) fiddle.

A rare fiddle was at the heart of Fritz Purrski's performances

A hush always descends over the house for the third act in “Smitten by the Kitten”. The slightly trite love story of a noble indoor cat falling for a feral street urchin comes to a climax when Clawdio, in his best finery, comes out to play the violin to accompany the twilight meowing of Catterine, a hungry calico of decidedly less than noble lineage.

What adds to the scene’s breathtaking quality is that Fritz Purrski, a virtuoso who claims Birman descent, portrays Clawdio. Fritz owns a rare Catavarius violin – one of the world’s most valuable. While Fritz may be a less-than-inspired actor, his playing is simply divine.

Catterine begins the scene by perching atop the outer wall of Clawdio’s luxurious yet loveless seaside villa. She searches for seafood scraps while wailing plaintively. Instead of shooing her away, Clawdio stands before the breaking waves and plays – what else – a sombre nocturne.

Catterine must decide whether to trust Clawdio and approach him or once again run off into the quickly descending cold and damp evening.

The off-stage sound effects of the waves slowly intensify as Clawdio’s fiddling gets faster and more complex. Finally, the two are side by side, accompanying each other as the piece concludes. They then retreat together to the villa’s patio, where a feast of salmon roe and fresh tuna has been laid out.

Of course, the food is mere props. A small smoke machine fills the theatre with warm wafts of a particularly fishy eau de cologne called English Channel No. 5. The theatre has a promotional deal with the fish and chips shop down the street, which sees increased sales after this play.

Fritz did not come from wealthy roots, and he sort of stumbled into his career in musical theatre. Just how he actually acquired the valuable Catavarius is a tale that few people know. Many have heard a story, but the popular version is a bit thin on truth.

What really happened takes us back a few years to when Fritz was just another musical cat trying to get by. But then fate smiled on him. He stumbled into a pawnshop hoping to find a cheap violin so he could play on the street corner for tossed coins. Spotting a slightly beat-up older violin, he inquired about it. Otto, the pawnshop proprietor, didn’t know much about it. The violin had come in with etchings and bric-à-brac from an abandoned house.

(Otto wasn’t the pawnshop proprietor’s real name. He just liked that from both inside and outside his shop, the name OTTO on the shop window looked correct. He considered it to be clever advertising.)

The violin cost a bit more than Fritz could really afford, but the tones were incredible. So Fritz made a down payment and took it home. As he cleaned it and applied a new coat of varnish, he discovered the faded pawprint of Catavarius on the label hidden inside the maple backplate.

He decided to keep this discovery a secret until after he made the final payment. He didn’t even play the violin in public for fear someone would spot it and the pawnshop owner would demand to have it back.

Once he fully owned the violin, he concocted a story about a family heirloom, filled with invented musical relatives and elaborate details going all the way to noble cats in far-away Burma, wherever that was.

The Catavarius was too fine to use for street busking, so he sought out a theatre that saw the benefit of featuring it on stage to attract music connoisseurs. But Fritz didn’t want to let it out of his paws, and this forced him to learn how to act.

A few friends thought it odd he never mentioned any of his family’s rich history before, but he brushed these concerns away with talk about nine lives and his family’s desire for privacy to protect their (invented) fortune. Otto never made the connection and even came to a performance. He didn’t recognize the violin as the one he had let slip through his paws.

To read more about the making of this image, and the Three of Pentacles card, please see our blog post HERE.

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