My dog, Duffy, has a part in ‘Annie the Musical’ with our local theatre company. It’s a big deal in our house. Like all well-loved dogs, Duffy is the best dog in the world.
She has no previous experience of treading the boards so it’s come as a bit of a shock to us all. My daughter, Tara, was already in the show and when Duffy got ‘hired’ she was mildly jealous that the dog has a seven show gig while she has just the three.
The timing for me isn’t great either. I launch my novel, Whirligig, a couple of days before the show starts and either myself or my wife have to be in the wings managing Duffy for all the shows. Even when not backstage with the dog I’ll be running my wife back and forth or in the audience proper. Two days have matinees as well as evening performances so I really only have the morning to do any book promotion.
I had imagined twelve hour days to try and get the sales rolling. There is a monster list of people to email: civil war societies, re-enactors, museums to contact. I need to be active on a million and one blogs, manage my Twitter and Facebook, update my website, get Tara to train me on Instagram. But now the dog's taking the lead (as it were). After five years work to get the book published I confess to being jealous myself.
Duffy is taking it pretty easy and there is no sign of her becoming any sort of a Diva as yet. She still seems happy to travel in the back of the car. She’s accepted that her stage name is Sandy and that she’s now a ‘good boy’. The cast give her no end of attention of course, but she must be getting some strange doggy déjà vu from the rehearsals. By now she is well aware that it’s a hard knock life and that Annie is supremely confident in the weather outlook.
Tara seems to have made her peace with it and perhaps I should too. She wasn’t fazed at all that family and friends ticket sales only boosted when we told them Duffy had a part as well. We’ve had to advise them to try and get tickets in row Z and avoid any eye contact with Duffy in case she decides to go crowd surfing during Annie’s big number. There’s a chance it will all pass off well, but I think there might be an unscripted canine moment or two over seven shows.
I only have myself to blame; I did write Duffy’s personal statement, but I never really expected her to get the part. I guess these off-beat events are sometimes the best experiences of all. It’s great to be involved as a family. We get to be back stage and see the workings of a musical and we’re meeting all sorts of interesting people. I have toyed with the idea of placing a Whirligig bookmark on all the seats but perhaps not. I think maybe the lesson is to relax, not take myself too seriously and that too much social media isn’t good for anyone. Not when we can all face the music and dance.
PS. Please buy the book. https://www.richardbuxton.net/whirligig/