Karma has been miffed he’s been left home in the evenings while I rehearse for the first annual Shakespeare In The Grove production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” It’s free to the public and performed at 7:30 pm outdoors at Pecan Grove Park these next two weekends, May 30, 31, June 1, 6, 7, 8.
Other than vet visits, Karma has only been outside one time since he showed up on our back patio, and he trembled and became so upset that I’ve not taken him out since. So I reminded him of that fact. But Karma wanted to know more.
Karma: Magical-Dawg goes Outside. He likes playing Outside, I watch from the window. Does he get to go with you to see that Spear-guy shake? Does he shake his spear cuz he’s scared of Outside, too?
Amy: William Shakespeare doesn’t shake, that’s his name. He wrote the play, he’s not IN the play. Only actors are IN the play. Actors pretend to be romantic and confused lovers, or magic fairies and sprites with wings, or actors entertaining royalty who pretend to be lions, and there’s even a dog…
Karma: I can be an actor! I pretend to attack Magical-Dawg all the time. I can shakee my spear-like claws and roar. Let me play the lion. I will roar so good everyone will say ‘Let him roar again, let him roar again!’ Does the lion get to chase fairy wings? Do sprites taste like chicken? (Pause) Wait. There’s an actor dog? Why does Magic get to go and I don’t?
Amy: This is another dog . . . maybe it’d be better for you to talk to him and he can explain everything. You can interview him about being an actor dog and appearing in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Karma: Oh look, there he is! Gee, he’s not near as big as Magical-Dawg. And he’s mostly white. Wow, he sure moves fast and jumps nearly as high as me. Didja see that back-flip and high five…I mean, high four?
Amy: Karma, be polite. Should I call Seren to do the interview instead?
Karma: I can do this! (clearing kitty throat) Mr. Dog, your poochy honor, your canine-icity …uhm…What do I call you?
Benedick: Senior Benedick and I am delighted to be here. You may call me Ben but I won’t answer. I go by Benedick. If you are too lazy to say that then Dick will do.
Karma: I’m not lazy. All cats sleep a lot, it’s our nature. You should see how much Seren-kitty sleeps. (whispering) She’s reeeeely old, like seventeen-eleventy years or something. And my best dog friend is three times as big as you. Why do you look so different? How old are you, Dick?
Benedick: I am a Jack Russell Terrier. What’s my age! What’s yours?
Karma: (puffing up) I’m almost a whole year old! I’m not a kitten anymore, can’t you tell?
Karma: Wow. Did he dog paddle all the way? Was he an actor, too? Amy says I can’t come to the Shakee Spears show, so how come you’re such a lucky dog?
Benedick: I was born a Thespian and have been preparing for the stage my entire life! I was last seen playing Crab the Dog in the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival’s production of Two Gentleman of Verona.
Karma: That Shakee Spear guy sure gets around. Oh, Amy wants me to ask if you consider Shakee Spear to be your forte? I don’t know what that means but Amy’s the boss…
Benedick: I don’t consider Shakespeare to be my forte. I consider it my fortissimo! I sing, I dance, I even used to do a magic show with my pet human.
Karma: How did you get the part? Was tryouts scary? Did the Director bark and hiss at you?
Benedick: Darling, when you’re as well versed in Shakespeare, the Director auditions for you.
Benedick: I am, I don’t like doing the same thing every time. I like to be spontaneous and keep those human actors on their toes! I am a firm believer in positive reinforcement clicker training and repetition.
Amy: Excuse me Karma, but I have to ask. Senior Benedick, how do you feel about the characters in the show heaping so much praise on the Hounds of Sparta, with nary a mention of the merit of holy terriers such as yourself?
Benedick: Well, my dear, you must first consider when it was written! Jack Russells weren’t around till the 1800s. It’s like seeing an old movie that talks about how amazing and convenient the new telephone booths are at the train station! It might be archaic NOW but then…well…it’s all they had.
Karma: Do you get paid in treats? Clicker training is paw-some! I think bacon would be a great payday. How are the two-legged actors to work with?
Benedick: Well I’ve had to give a few acting suggestions here and there, but overall I think it will be a fine show. Bacon! With this figure, I think not. I only accept homemade whole grain peanut butter biscuits when I am in a show. It’s in my rider.
Karma: What can everyone expect of your performance in the show?
Join Senior Benedick and the rest of the human cast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Pecan Grove Park, 3200 Canyon Creek Drive in Sherman. Learn more about this family friendly free production at ShakespeareIntheGrove.com
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!