Alan Ames

Best Screenplay



“The King of Cats”

by Christopher R




In the spirit of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” by Tom Stoppard, and it’s implied off stage relationships to Hamlet, Mercutio is a similar tale, the real tale Shakespeare set out to tell, of the pivotal character in Romeo and Juliet; MERCUTIO, “The King of Cats”.

It was a time of uncertain times; the world was in change as families struggled for their fortunes. Into this mixture, and bound by commerce, the entrepreneurial Capulets and the politically seated Montagues are cast as unlikely business associates. As fate has it, the Montagues fortune crumbles as their merchant ships fail to return with their foreign booty. The Capulets however, are successful in their trade growing evermore prosperous and envious of the Montagues political positioning.

It is here that we see the real struggle of the times between these opposing families. Young Mercutio (a Montague) longs to make his mark in commerce, politics and social positioning. Although a distant relative to the Prince, Mercutio must needs make his mark and rise to the occasion of power and wealth with his able mind, fencing skills and dangerously good looks. He is however a youth prone to the growing pains of adolescence and the influences of Mab, the apothecary and Friar Lawrence, a man of philosophy.

Mercutio lives, loves, and dreams of a future of wealth and abundance (with a little help from his friends) which somehow eludes his grasp. In a fit of wit and emotion, Mercutio decides to relieve the Capulets from their burden of wealth by absconding with a recent trade ship’s booty, and inadvertently places Romeo into the conflict with an avenging Tybalt. In Mercutio’s attempt to rectify the situation he engages Tybalt in a fencing match in which he is fatally wounded. Comforted by Mab and her potions of dreams, Mercutio succumbs to death. In retaliation, Romeo slays Tybalt and in death, Mercutio and Tybalt find a future as strange bedfellows.

MERCUTIO “The King of Cats” is an existential look into the actual social-political issues of Shakespeare’s times, and the play he meant to write.


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