Friday, August 17, 2012

Dog Days

I'm directing another show.  It's a play called Sylvia, about a man who adopts a dog against his wife's wishes.  A young woman plays the dog.  I'm excited because the show is very funny and I look forward to working with my four actors to build an hilarious show.

There is, however, a great chance that I'll be an emotional wreck after every rehearsal.

See, here's the thing: For the past twelve and a half years, my parents have had a dog named Lizzie.  Lizzie was a golden retriever, and Lizzie was a joy to be around.  She was a very loving dog, and every time I saw her she was overjoyed to see me.  She would flop around on the floor like a puppy even if she had just seen me the day before.  It's a huge understatement to say that I loved that dog.

Sadly, two weeks ago it was discovered that Lizzie was very sick.  Soon after that discovery, my parents made the decision to put her down and get her out of her misery.  It was a big loss, as anyone who has ever had a dog can attest.  They become part of your family and it's hard to lose them.  But at least she's not in pain anymore.  Lizzie never showed pain, so we had no idea how sick she was until the vet told us.  Why did she never show pain?  Who knows.  Probably because she didn't want to make us upset.

So, what better time to direct a play about a dog?  Obviously, this was not planned.  It's not like I said, "Hey, my dog just died!  Let's do a dog show!"  I made plans to direct Sylvia months ago.  Plus, I knew the end was nearing for Liz - goldens over twelve are rare, and she was never the fittest dog - but I continued to have hope that she would live forever.  Of course, those dreams are not realities, and the truth will sometimes come crashing in to your life when you least expect it.  Like after you've agreed to direct a play about a dog.

The character of Sylvia is at least not like Lizzie.  She has a sarcastic streak, which Lizzie never had.  Sylvia is more defiant than compliant.  Lizzie loved to please.  Sylvia does not.  She is feisty and doesn't mind causing problems between the married couple.  But she shares a lot with Lizzie, too.  They both love their humans.  They both love to chew things.  And they both want to make everyone around them happy.

I have no idea how this is going to go.  I've already decided that I will be paying my own special tribute to Liz by putting some of her toys on the set after Sylvia has settled into her new home.  I will also be dedicating the show to her.  It's the least I could do.

R.I.P. Lizzie the dog.  You will most certainly be missed.  Probably by my actors as they try to awkwardly console me.