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Dog Actors Take Stage Alongside Human Counterparts in Clinton Hill Musical

By Sybile Penhirin | February 27, 2015 11:53am
 "Comfort Dogs, Live from the Pink House" features three live dogs and five actors embodying dogs.
Comfort Dogs, Live from the Pink House
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CLINTON HILL —  It's not easy being a dog.

A new play that took the stage at the Clinton Hill art center JACK this week examines what it's like to try to be man's best friend — with all the stress of tending to your human's needs.

"Comfort Dogs, Live from the Pink House," a 50-minute experimental play written and directed by William Burke, 36, was inspired by the pooches who were doled out to emotionally support senior citizens displaced after Hurricane Sandy.

Burke decided to include three real dogs on stage — Bluet, a white and brown Chihuahua, Gypsy, a black Labrador mutt and Bronco, a brown mixed-breed — along with five human counterparts.

The dogs, which will roam free on stage and into the audience, get to "be themselves," Burke said.

“I think it gives the audience an idea of what it’s like to be a dog. It’s more of an emotional play, of an experience. We enter their world,” Burke said.

The play is set in a hurricane-torn home — a pink house — where a horde of dogs walk around and try to make sense of humankind’s need for comfort, Burke explained.

The actors start out playing dogs and gradually transform into more human characteristics. Each actor is also a musician and the performance features a dozen of original songs, including one named "Howling Choral."

The experimental play is interactive as well, with some audience members getting letters about how to find solace. The letters will appear on the audience's seats and they will be asked to hand them over to the actors to read aloud mid-play.

"The play asks the question: who nurtures the nurturer?" said Burke, who has wanted to include live pets in a play since he was 20.

The play runs through March 15.

Comfort Dogs, Live from the Pink House plays until March 15 at JACK, located at 505 1/2 Waverly Avenue in Brooklyn. Tickets for the play are $15 dollars and can be bought online or at the door with cash only.