DTF – The dog’s frolics
Picture the scene – during the planning stages of a theatrical production, one hanger-on catches the director’s eye. He’s not involved directly in the production, but his demeanour and look are so impressive, he’s asked to audition. Being a game sort, he gives it a shot, and the director is so blown away, the mystery actor is immediately cast. Never mind that their character didn’t exist in the script. Rewrites, darlings, rewrites. How could you resist him? Look at his eyes, his presence, his fur.
His fur? Oh yes, this is the story of how Toby the dog came to be in Pan Pan’s production, The Rehearsal, Playing the Dane, currently playing at the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival.
“Toby is the star. He’s fairly adorable,” says Nick Costello from Pan Pan. “Way back when we were organising the festival programme launch we were trying to think what we could do in relation to the Pan Pan show. A picture of a man with a brochure isn’t very engaging so I had a friend who was part of the professional dog breeding and showing world, and he came up with Toby. We had no idea if he was going to work, but we put a huge paper ruff on him and a crown and he was just amazing. The director saw him, and he was invited along to the rehearsal. It wasn’t part of the original concept.”
Now, though, the mutt is threatening to steal the show.
“When you arrive along to the theatre he’s playing around the stage, chasing these presumably plastic skulls around the place,” says Costello. “Working with a company like Pan Pan, you always hope to discover the new talent in the next generation. You just don’t expect them to be a dog.”
We reckon Toby’s a shoo-in for best supporting actor in The Irish Times Theatre Awards. You read it here first.