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BWW Review: WHY DOGS DON'T TALK at First Folio Theatre

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Now streaming through August 8th

BWW Review: WHY DOGS DON'T TALK at First Folio Theatre

I'(M) Willing to bet that most dog owners out there do not question their own pet's loyalty. After all, why would we? Well, Why Dogs Don't Talk by Chicago's own Dean Monti (adapted by David Rice) playfully turns the expression- and assumption- "Man's Best Friend" on its head. Through the charming discourse of man and dog in the world premiere of this short 15-minute piece, we put ourselves in the figurative shoes of Dog as doubt is cast on this reciprocity of this classic relationship.

Mel (August Forman) and Hubert the dog (Landree Fleming) make up the cast of this short and sweet virtual piece. The pair played off each other well, keeping the conversation brisk which enhanced the viewing experience of this dialogue-heavy show. I believe most viewers (myself included) will begin the show agreeing with the human's perspective, and yet wind up finding themselves on the dog's side by show's end. We can attribute this persuasion to the convincing performances of Forman and Fleming alike. August Forman competently portrayed the role of an uptight and defensive young man who feels as though he's been jilted - by his own "best friend." The way he plead and debated with Hubert felt exquisitely realistic, and his desperation to prove himself to Hubert was palpable. The desperation and exasperation oozed out of Forman's speech as his words fell on his immovable companion. Fleming's Hubert captured the relaxed and happy-go-lucky nature of any canine, with an unexpected twist of condescension mixed in. Her energy and stage presence were particularly captivating, a feat for anyone, but especially one portraying a house pet. The way Fleming physically mimicked a dog's body language added a sweet touch of whimsy to the show as well!


Through this past year of viewing virtual performances, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this production of Why Dogs Don't Talk had some of the best film quality I've seen to-date.

The varied camera angles and video editing were quite well done and seamlessly put together. The sound quality and lighting had equal attention to detail, providing no technical distractions whatsoever. Not having to think about the film quality makes the viewing experience even enjoyable for the audience, and First Folio Theatre pulled it off beautifully. A fine job by director Morgan Manasa in blending multiple artistic elements of this performance.BWW Review: WHY DOGS DON'T TALK at First Folio Theatre

The costumes and set design for Why Dogs Don't Talk were simple and effective. No articles of clothing were used to distinguish Dog from Human, which ended up working well from a minimalistic point of view. The setting itself was filmed in an Evanston apartment, giving this production more of a television feel which I found to be a refreshing change of pace.

Hats off to First Folio Theatre for creatively producing new and interesting forms of art in these uncertain times! Find out why exactly we may not want our dogs to talk by viewing this performance at www.firstfolio.org on a pay-what-you can basis through August 8th.


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