Did Shakespeare ever write a part for a dog in his plays? That is, a dog character, not just a reference? Indeed he did. And I have had the opportunity to have two of my bulldogs play the part of Crab in Two Gentlemen Of Verona. The first time was about five years ago, and presently my bulldog Opie is appearing in a very entertaining musical “This Spring of Love” based on Two Gents at The City Theatre in Austin and directed by Jeff Hinkle.
The Things We Do For Love
It is a zany tale about love and loyalty and Lance, who owns Crab, is a stellar example of the lengths that love can drive you to. Played by Robert Stevens, Lance epitomizes the meaning of loyal. Crab’s misdeeds, stealing food from the table and causing a general “stink” for instance, warrant a thrashing. But rather than allow his beloved dog Crab suffer the punishment, Lance pretends to be the offender and suffers Crab’s punishment instead. Of all the characters in the play, it is Lance who remains most steadfast and loyal. He is a bit silly and a tad “off” but Lance’s love for Crab is deep and complex. And who has not had such a relationship with their dog?
My favorite part of the play of course are the bits with Opie on stage. It was nerve wracking in the beginning. Imagine all the things that can go wrong!! But Opie was in excellent hands and I am intrigued with the way the real-life relationship has grown between Stevens and Opie. It doesn’t hurt that he is very dog savvy, having two dachshunds of his own, and he wisely produces from his “magic pocket” an occasional treat.
They can be maddening. They can be naughty. They can be haughty. But when push comes to shove, most of us would stand up and take a whipping rather than see one hair on their head hurt.
Oh, the things we do for love!