A Shetland sheepdog removed from the suburban New York home of a hoarder four years ago is back in town, and performing in a different kind of packed house — in a stage production of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.”
Colt was one of 23 dogs removed from the home of a woman in Wesley Hills in 2008, according to the Journal News.
Ramapo police and members of the SPCA wore gas masks to enter the home, the condition of which was described as squalid, and the homeowner was charged with hoarding and neglecting the animals.
At some point, before her trial, she got Colt back, and he quickly tried to escape, getting struck by a car in the process. The accident left him with a broken back that required surgery and a body cast.
The woman later pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct, relinquishing ownership of all but one of her dogs and paying a $125 fine.
Colt became the ward of the Hudson Valley Humane Society, living in the Manhattan and Stony Point homes of its acting president, Ann Marie Gaudio.
This spring, though, Gaudio got a call from the Antrim Playhouse — located about a half-mile from the house Colt had been hoarded in. They were looking for a canine to play the role of the bunkhouse dog in its production of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.”
Gaudio suggested the producer and director audition Colt.
“Colt has the best bio of all of us,” Director Brooke Malloy Ortiz told the “He’s real sweet, a retired therapy dog. He’s not old, so we changed the dialogue to talk about how he has this wound on his leg and his back is broken. And we wet down his fur to make him look a bit more worn.”
In Steinbeck’s story of two itinerant farm workers, an old handyman named Candy has an old dog that one of the men, Carlson, constantly berates and abuses, eventually persuading the boss to let him put the dog out of its misery — an act that foreshadows what’s ahead.
Candy is played by Gordon Wolotira, who, under the director’s orders, was the only one allowed to pet or feed Colt during rehearsals.
The actor who plays Carlson, who yells at the dog several times in the play, wasn’t allowed to bond with Colt at all.
As a result, “Every time that Carlson has to pull the dog away from Candy, Colt growls at him and sometimes sits down and will not budge,” the director said. “We didn’t even train him to do that. But there’s a lot of shouting on stage, so he just wants to stay with Gordon, who has treats for him.”
Colt spends about a dozen minutes onstage, but he provides “some of the most engrossing moments of the play and it certainly gets the audience’s attention,” Wolotria said. “By the time they drag him off, it’s heart-breaking.”
Posted by jwoestendiek June 21st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ann marie gaudio, antrim, antrim playhouse, book, candy, carson, colt, comebacks, dog, dogs, f mice and men, hoarded, hoarder, home, hudson valley humane society, john steinbeck, mercy killing, new york, of mice and men, pets, play, plays, production, role, seized, shetland sheepdog, stage, wesley hills
“Macbeth” doesn’t have a particularly happy ending, but one of the stars of the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s production of the play might find one.
The performances of “Macbeth,” starting with a Thursday, April 12 premiere, will feature homeless dogs from the Baltimore Humane Society, including Sophia (above).
Sophia will appear in the premiere — a long way from when she was found starving and freezing on a garbage dump behind her owner’s home, able only to walk on her hind legs. Her owner said he had no use for her anymore and had not even named her for the months in which he owned her, according to the humane society. Sophia, a nine-month-old boxer mix, is now living with a foster family.
The Baltimore Humane Society says the Shakespeare Factory is also featuring adoptable dogs in the playbill and setting aside space for a humane society information table at all shows.
Baltimore Humane Society will be sharing the stage with The Shakespeare Factory throughout the rest of the year for several different plays.
Different dogs and cats will be appearing in each of the performances.
Macbeth will be performed beginning April 12 at the The Great Hall Theatre, St. Mary’s Outreach Center, 3900 Roland Avenue, Baltimore. Additional performances will be April 20-22 and April 27–28.
For more information or tickets visit theshakespearefactory.com.
Anyone who sees Sophia or any of the other Baltimore Humane Society actors will get half off the adoption fee if they mention it when they come to the shelter and fill out an application.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoptable, animals, appearing, baltimore, baltimore humane society, baltimore shakespeare factory, dogs, featured, homeless, humane society, macbeth, maryland, performances, pets, play, plays, shakespeare, shakespeare factory, shelter, sophia, starring
Those guitar-playing birds we showed you yesterday were pretty cool, but they were just the opening act for Nora, the Piano Cat, shown here in a performance last year with the Klaipeda Chamber Orchestra in Lithuania.
The “CATcerto” was the project of Lithuanian conductor, composer and artist Mindaugas Piecaitis.
Nora, a rescued cat whose piano skills have been widely featured on the Internet, appeared via a pre-recorded video hookup.
For more information on the performance, visit catcerto.com.
If you would like to adopt a rescued cat and teach her to play piano, might I suggest Miley, whose musical talents are as yet untapped. (Piano not included.)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 7th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, art, artist, cat, catcerto, cats, chamber, composer, concert, conductor, klaipeda chamber orchestra, lithuania, miley, mindaugas piecaitis, music, nora, orchestra, pets, piano, playing, plays, the piano cat, video