Judith Kerr, the German-born British writer of one of the largest selling children’s book of all times, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, among other books like the ‘mog’ series was a cat lover from her childhood. Even as an eight-year-old, her fascination for felines was very evident as she was not content with having a pet cat; she wanted to BE a cat herself. Years later, as a young mother, when she takes her toddler to the zoo, they come across a streak of three tigers lazing around in their enclave and her little daughter asks Judith if the tigers would like to come home for tea?
‘Tigress’ is a short screenplay from writer Martin Keady. Keady tells a story that is as much about a bestselling story as it is about the even more ‘best-loved’ storyteller. Keady starts his story when the storyteller is eight years old. As Keady follows Judith through the difficult events of her childhood, he picks up slices from her life that portray the troubled times the little girl has sailed through, without realizing its gravity. The clever use of historical events to indicate the periods of his story, like the landslide victory of Hitler in the elections and the fall of Dunkirk, give us a clear indication of the passage of time. Keady creates a serious undertone marred with the rise of the Nazis, the holocaust and world war II. Keady uses all this turmoil to demonstrate how Judith Kerr found her home in Britain and stayed a true ‘Londoner’ who loves her home ‘town’.
‘Tigress’ is a screenplay that should go on to become a delightful short that will be a tribute to Judith Kerr, her life and her love for cats. ‘Tigress’ is a historical sketch, a biographical account and a fantastical fairy tale, all woven seamlessly into the back story of a much-loved story. For a narration that has stayed within the historical facts, Keady creates a fitting end by imagining a scenario where cat lover Judith Kerr walks into Cat Heaven.