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Glenda Frank




“The Dog in the Dressing Room,” a backstage comedy written by Deborah Savadge and directed by Bram Lewis at The Schoolhouse Theater,
3 Owen(s) Road, between North Salem and Croton Falls, New York.  June 14 – July 1, 2018.   Thurs. -Sat. 8 PM; Sun. 3 PM. PM. $35-38.   For tickets and  information, schoolhousetheater@gmail.com or 914-277-8477.

Who doesn’t love a backstage drama? The revelations behind the scenes are the drama in favorites like “Phantom of the Opera,” “Kiss Me Kate,” and “Noises Off.” “The Dog in the Dressing Room,” a backstage comedy by Deborah Savadge, is now debuting at The Schoolhouse Theatre, Westchester County’s longest running Equity Theatre, on June 14 and will play through July 1. Games, secrets, old wounds, stalking, champagne, a canine, and love play their parts in this smashing comedy.

Kira (Estelle Bajou), an ambitious ingenue in a new play, wants nothing to do with romance or relationships. She has formed a strong pact with Kevin (Jack Utrata), her drinking buddy and BFF since high school, a gay DJ and podcaster. Like Kira, he is devoted to his career. But change is inevitable. “There’s a dog in my dressing room,” complains a shocked Kira to the stage manager. I know, he says. I left her there.

Enter Joel the Troll (Gregory Perri), as Kevin dubbed him. Joel leaves the microphone open during rehearsals, he confesses, and during a break, he heard her mention wanting a dog. Kira is spooked. Is he stalking her? And when he arrives at each rehearsal with a new present for the dog – which she names Dog – what are his motives? Joel the Troll stories are Kevin’s new amusement. But as Kira grows more attached to Dog and Joel cuts a widening trail, Kevin’s suspicion and jealousy explode. He confronts her, and they battle – with mutual accusations and nasty revelations The triangle keeps shifting balance. What does Joel want? And to complicate matters, what does Kira want? She used to know.

Director Lewis has added a fourth figures to the comedy, a mime (the choreographer Nicola Iervasi), who both comments (as mimes do) on the action and works as a stage hand. It is a clever innovation, providing decorative seams between the many scene shifts. But as the relationships develop, the mime is vanquished and the three principals hold center stage.

Setting is minimal, with a clothing rack, a bar (with the mime as a gay bartender), and some furniture indicating scene changes. Projections by Bill Toles anchor the fluid staging.

I have watched this play grow from early scenes and revisions to a final draft. I am delighted at this premiere both as a friend and a theatre writer. “The Dog in the Dressing Room” makes for a lovely summer surprise.

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