Three adoptable dogs are taking to the stage and sharing a part in Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona at the Delaware Shakespeare Festival, according to Delaware Online. Three dogs from Faithful Friends will be sharing the role of Crab the dog — with laughter, adorableness and hopefully some great benefits for homeless pets! The three dogs are Zoe (an American Staffordshire Terrier), Fella (a Newfoundland) and Prince (a terrier mix). There were also three understudies who, because of the show, have now been adopted. When they weren’t needed on stage, these understudy pups were able to hang out at the group’s table during the performances and charm audience hearts in person.
I didn’t remember Crab’s character well, so I called my friend Caitlin from Folger Education at the Folger Shakespeare Library in DC. What she told me about Crab and his dad, Lance, made me think that all of you would love the pair as well. Here’s the quick Petfinder-notes summary of Lance (the servant) and his dog, Crab.
Lance is poor but he loves his dog and struggles to keep him no matter what. “Lance describes the dog as his only friend in the world,” Caitlin told me. “Crab is his most constant companion through whatever happens.” Like many pet parents, Lance sacrifices for his dog — although more than many of us have ever been called to do. In one scene, Crab steals meat from the dinner table and pees on the tablecloth. When Lance’s master is angry and guests want to punish the dog, Lance takes the blame on himself — saying that he was the one to cause the stink!
I was lucky enough to get some behind-the-scenes stories from Jane at Faithful Friends. The best behaved dog of the group was energetic Zoe! However, not all of the dogs obeyed the script. One night, art and life collided when the pup playing Crab got loose from her collar and jumped into the audience! The actors, showing their mettle, pretended it was part of the show and leaped off the stage to capture “Crab.” The audience thought it was part of the play and no one was the wiser! Jane said that it’s been a great experience for everyone and they’re so happy that the festival approached them.
I have to say, if I were closer to Delaware I’d be going to see the show. As it is, I’ll have to wait until the Folger stages it next year near me.
It seems perfect that a fictional pup rescued from drowning will be played by pups who have been rescued and are looking for forever homes themselves. This is great exposure for these adoptable pets and homeless pets in general. For the specific dogs, it’s already paying off. All three understudy pups have gone home. The stage stars are also on their way: Fella is in her new home, Prince is going to his new home on Tuesday, and Zoe has had a lot of interest shown in her. For homeless pets in general, it shows how smart and well-trained they can be.