Today in 1986, an audience in Amsterdam saw a play called “Going To The Dogs.”
And it lived up to the name: all of the actors were German Shepherds.
The idea for the all-dog play came from artist Wim T. Schippers, who is known for his very offbeat, often absurdist projects.
This is the same guy who came up with the art installation “Peanut Butter Floor” that we covered a few years back.
It took Schippers about 15 years to get this show onstage.
He even once tried to bring it to Broadway, but it fell through.
But in Amsterdam, his dream of staging a four-act, all-dog play came together.
He hired three trainers from the Amsterdam Police Dog Brigade to get the six dogs ready.
They rehearsed for almost nine months.
It went mostly smoothly, except for when one of the actors had a litter of nine puppies.
At last, the show opened, and there was even a sold out crowd on hand for the premiere.
After a brief opening monologue by a human actor speaking in woofs, the dogs began acting out the play’s story, in which a young woman introduces her boyfriend to her disapproving parents.
At least, that’s what the program said.
Onstage, the dogs sort of just… did dog stuff.
Sometimes there were sound effects or music, and a few times the crew tossed meat and dog treats at the actors to help them with their cues.
Still, as one critic noted, the canine cast “seemed not to remember their parts, despite their rather simple text.”
And that may have been the point all along.
Schippers told reporters at the time quote “The difference between people on stage and dogs, is that people act while dogs remain normal. Thinking about that gives you a new perspective on the theater.”
Every college and university seems to have its own traditions – a school song, a special dance move at big basketball games, raucous partying the administration can’t seem to stamp out.
Well at Pomona College in California, there’s a tradition called “fountaining.”
On a student’s birthday, their classmates devise a plan to distract them and then toss them into a campus fountain.
`Going to the Dogs’ just the ticket in Amsterdam (Christian Science Monitor)
Five Steps to a Fountaining (Voices: The Pomona College Student Blog)