Woof, Bark, Arf?

September 26, 2009

The quest continues!

October 5 and 6, Tempe Little Theatre is holding auditions for “Sylvia,” a play by A.R. Gurney about a pair of empty-nesters and the dog that comes between them.  That’s right, a non-musical!  And since I’m a bit young for the empty-nester wife, I’ll be shooting for the role of the dog, a poodly mutt originally played by Sarah Jessica Parker on Broadway.  (A production, incidentally, that I saw while living in NY – Matthew Broderick was sitting in the row in front of me!  It’s good to have a roommate who works at the theatre putting on the play.)  SJP was delightful, and I have always remembered the line where she  looks adoringly at her master and says, “I think you’re God, if you want to know.”  The key to Sylvia is that Sylvia isn’t played as a dog running around on four legs.  She IS a dog, but she mostly keeps the doggie behavior to a minimum.  Instead, she represents the frisky new lady in her master’s life, creating a rather loony and fraught love triangle.

Of course, there’s the small problem that I am NOT a fan of dogs.  I mean, I can appreciate the idea of dogs, and I always cry during that scene in “Armageddon” where the mom and son are hiding in the little nook in the freeway tunnel and the dog comes leaping to safety over like five cars while a fireball explodes behind him.  Sniff.

But in fact, there are only two dogs I have ever liked.  One, Che, my childhood friend’s Doberman who must have been about 80-years-old and was the sweetest, most well-behaved dog I’ve ever known.  Two, Peekie, my Grammie’s little black poodle, also old and sweet.  I like old, sweet dogs who do not jump on me, slobber on me, growl at me, JUMP ON ME, or live next door and bark all the freaking time.

Confession:  I am a bird person.  So I guess my audition may be a little avian-based.  But as long as I remember not to flap my wings, I think I could capture a basic sort of petsy whimsy.  Right?

But here’s my real dilemma – the audition notice says that the audition will consist of cold readings from the script (I have the script in my hand and plan to read it at least three more times, so I’m not too worried about that) and… improvisation.  !!!!  The horror!  I HATE improv…almost more than dogs.  No, definitely more than dogs.  My crazy husband is so good at improvising that he was actually part of two successful improv troupes in Seattle – but me – I freeze.  I do not possess that just-let-go gene, which allows you to dismiss any cares about what people think of you and say and do whatever your instincts tell you.  Argh.  Right or wrong, I really do care deeply what people think of me, want them to like me, and tend to cower under a table whimpering when I think I’ve disappointed someone…just… like…a DOG??  HEY!  Hey hey!  There may be hope for me after all.

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6 Responses to “Woof, Bark, Arf?”

  1. ml Says:

    Best of luck with audition. Hopefully this leads to-Quest Part#3:Mama lets her inner dog out!

  2. Beth H. Says:

    this dog with minimal dog behavior role sounds really interesting. curious.

  3. nathanyates Says:

    I think that’s actually “Independence Day” with the dog in the tunnel. ;o)

    Break a leg!

  4. nathanyates Says:

    Wel, it’s not the end of the world. (apocalyptic jokes – always a killer)

    Besides, both movies definitely classify as “dude flicks,” so you get a pass.


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