Review: This "Dog Act" is Best in Show
Written by Liz Duffy Adams
Directed by Erin Cronican
Presented by The Seeing Place Theater
Live via Zoom Saturday, January 30th and Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021 (7pm EST)
Streaming via YouTube Tuesday to Saturday after each live performance, February 2-12, 2021
|The ensemble. Image courtesy Kampfire PR|
The Seeing Place Theater (TSP) continues its 10th season, themed around "The Body Politic," with Liz Duffy Adams's Dog Act. This linguistically virtuosic post-apocalyptic mix of humor and pathos debuted in 2004, but its radically destabilized climate and murderously tribalized world maps flawlessly onto our current anxieties. TSP is presenting Dog Act as a benefit for the Food Pantry at St Clement's NYC and is also hosting a free talkback, "Action Steps for Surviving Hardship in an Uncertain World," via Zoom on Thursday, February 4 at 7pm with both the playwright and licensed therapist Tracy Sidesinger (register for the talkback using this link).
Dog Act takes place in a ruined future America a number of generations removed from the present day. Civilization has fallen, wildlife is depleted, the seasons can change randomly at a moment's notice, and people have organized themselves into small, competing tribes and nations. Zetta (Erin Cronican) and Dog (William Ketter) are Vaudevillians, wandering players who enjoy protected status. Pulling their cart with them, they are walking to China to perform, a place that Zetta tells Dog (a voluntarily devolved human) is home to a building containing all of the knowledge ever, which can be entered only by answering the question of two last-of-their-kind guardian beasts. Their journey is interrupted by an encounter with supposed fellow Vaudevillians Vera (Brandon Walker), who was raised in a settlement, and Jojo (Hailey Vest), Vera's companion, whose skills lie in storytelling and in violence. Although Vera—full name Vera Similitude—says that she can only tell the truth, that doesn't necessarily mean the whole truth, and, meanwhile, unbeknownst to any of this ad hoc group, the party is being stalked by Bud (Robin Friend) and Coke (Jon L. Peacock), two members of The Scavengers, who subsist by (obviously) scavenging, armed robbery, and repurposing materials.
|Brandon Walker and William Ketter. Image courtesy Kampfire PR|
|Erin Cronican, Brandon Walker, William Ketter, Hailey Vest. Image courtesy Kampfire PR|
Dog Act not only benefits an excellent cause but is much more heady, uproarious fun than we assume that the real post-apocalypse will be: good reasons to get in on this act now.
-John R. Ziegler and Leah Richards