by Austriauna Brooks | Staff Writer
Whitworth’s spring production, Go, Dog. Go! is based off of the children’s book by PD Eastman. The energetic, humorous and colorful show brings the book to life by creating a world where dogs can sing, dance, play and work. The production will be at the Bing Crosby Theatre on March 10 at 6 p.m., March 11 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and March 12 at 2 p.m.
Brooke Kiener ‘99, the director, was inspired when she saw Seattle Children’s Theatre’s production of Go, Dog. Go! in 2002 and had it in the back of her mind to try to do the production someday, she said.
“It’s been great to do something that brings so much joy, creation, and spontaneity,” she Kiener. “It’ll make you smile and laugh.”
Unlike previous productions the play will be performed at the Bing Crosby Theater instead of Cowles. She wanted the students that are performing to get a glimpse of acting on a professional tour. Besides the students building the stage scenery from scratch, they have to load the stage scenery from Whitworth to the Bing Crosby Theatre. Kiener also wanted the Whitworth theater department to be more exposed to the Spokane area.
“I want [the students] to have a presence in the downtown scene and to not only be visible in the north part of Spokane,” Kiener said.
Senior Alanna Hamilton, a theater and business major, appreciates the location because the production relies so heavily on movement and audience participation.
“Cowles is huge and feels closed off,” Hamilton said. “Audience connection is important for this production. We need to be inclusive with the audience and we are in [the Bing Crosby Theater] that allows us to do that.”
An exciting challenge Hamilton faced for the show is channeling a different style of acting. Clowning and miming acting is something that Whitworth has not done before, Hamilton said.
“This production relies less on the dialogue and more on our actions,” Hamilton said. “We need to capture the excitement and be intentional with our emotions.”
The emotions are felt through the actors and the piano on stage, the main instrument of the show. Music director Ben Brody ‘98 said the music makes the movement in the production more energetic.
“I love that it’s fast pace,” Brody said. “I barely have time to stop playing. I have to think about how to prepare for the next scene and that’s what makes it fun.”
Another aspect that brings the production to life are the colors. Maria Sorce, the theatre technical director and auditorium events manager, worked with students to coordinate all of the lights in the show.
“We stuck to the primary colors and the colors that are in the book,” Sorce said. “We want the background to match the character but not too much.”
The Whitworth lights and tech crew brought some of their own supplies for the soundboard and for the stage. Assistant professor of theatre Aaron Dyszelski, the scenic and costume designer for the show, said his favorite part of his job is building the stage.
“Figuring out what goes apart and comes back together,” Dyszelski said. “I love creating those magical moments.”
The mechanics behind the production is what Dyszelski calls engineering theater magic. The props, like the cars and the tools, are created to seem like they are a part of the book but they function like real life objects. He and costume job manager Kim Heide are impressed on how well the actors are able to work together to create the production, he said.
“It’s been wonderful to see everything come together,” Heide said. “I love watching the students help each other to create it. They’re very imaginative. They use the props in ways that Aaron and I have never thought about before.”
The cast and crew are worried Whitworth students won’t attend the show because it is a children’s production, Dyszelski said. However, he believes the show can be appreciated by people of all ages because it brings out our inner child.
“Everybody needs a bit of pure joy in their lives sometimes,” Heide said. “The actors bring so much passion, love and joy. You’re going to leave the production feeling happy.”
Tickets are available at www.ticketswest.com or 1-800-325-SEAT. General admission is $15. Tickets for senior citizens, student ages 12-18 and Whitworth students with their IDs are $12. Tickets for kids ages 2-11 are $10.
Contact Austriauna Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography by Hannah Brekke