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Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on June 5th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 14 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 14

Lompoc Civic Theatre's production of A Dog's Life is a barking good time

By CALEB WISEBLOOD

Three dogs at the pound eagerly await their chances of getting adopted when they hear a new human’s voice coming around the corner. Joel (Craig Scott) doesn’t want a dog, but his ex-girlfriend does, and he’s just about ready to try anything to win her back. 


Art after bark
The Lompoc Civic Theatre presents A Dog’s Life at Stone Pine Hall on Friday, June 7, and Saturday, June 8, at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, June 9, at 2 p.m. Admission ranges from $15 to $18. Stone Pine Hall is located at 210 S. H St., Lompoc. Call (805) 735-2281 or visit lompoccivictheatre.com for tickets and more info.

MAN’S BEST FRIEND
Jack the dog (Jarrod Zinn) gets adopted by Joel (Craig Scott) in Lompoc Civic Theatre’s production of A Dog’s Life.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF LARRY MCLELLAN

The canine candidates flaunt themselves before Joel, desperately competing for his affection. Even “Big Dog” (Phil Epstein), a textbook curmudgeon, trades his icy gaze for a fresh set of puppy-dog eyes when Joel approaches his side of the fence. Meanwhile, the super spunky “Little Dog” (Kimberley Washington) uses every weapon at her disposalspazzing out, chasing her tail, one-upping her larger compatriot’s puppy-dog eyesto win the potential human companion’s attention. 

But at the end of the day, all it takes is one dog paw gently clasping Joel’s hand to reach a final verdict. Joel names his new dog Jack (Jarrod Zinn) and thus begins Lompoc Civic Theatre’s production of A Dog’s Life, a heartwarmingly humorous musical about the joys and challenges of dog ownership. 


CANINE CHRONICLES
From left to right, Craig Scott, Phil Epstein, Jarrod Zinn, Kimberly Washington, and Mary Merriman star in A Dog’s Life.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF LARRY MCLELLAN

From dog park trips to veterinarian appointments, the play presents both Joel’s and Jack’s perspectives during their various outings. When the vet (also played by Epstein) tells Joel that Jack won’t feel a thing during his neutering procedure, for example, all the poor dog hears is, “You’re gonna die! You’re gonna die!” Jack can never fully understand what Joel or any other human says but starts to learn words based on associationincluding his all-time favorite: bacon.

“Did you just say what I think you said?/ Don’t you dare tease me with that word,” Jack sings during “Bacon,” a loving ode to his favorite treat. “The sizzle sounds like a symphony/ And it makes me your saliva slave!”

The musical also pokes fun at the differences in time perception between dogs and humans. During the song “Separation Anxiety,” Joel leaves the house for five minuteswhich translates into an eternity for Jack. 

“What did I do? I gave him everything/ Oh please come back, and bring your Jack a little snack,” Jack sings. “My water bowl can’t hold my tears today!”


MAN’S BEST FRIEND
Jack the dog (Jarrod Zinn) gets adopted by Joel (Craig Scott) in Lompoc Civic Theatre’s production of A Dog’s Life.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF LARRY MCLELLAN

While Joel’s and Jack’s adventures are at the forefront of the musical, Big Dog and Little Dog get a side story of their own after a married couple adopts both of themdeclaring the pair “inseparable,” much to Big Dog’s dismay (at first). Epstein and Washington play off each other perfectly no matter whose shoes they’re filling during the show. They’re equally hilarious as Jack’s seemingly sadistic veterinarians as they are at playing two overly enthusiastic coffee shop employees. (The name of the coffee shop is StarBark’s, in case you were wondering.)

Zinn and Scott have great chemistry as well, comedically and emotionally, especially as time progresses. Jack is 12 years old by the end of the show, about 84 in dog years. Whether you’re a pet owner or not, the finale, “I Have to Go,” is sure to touch dog, cat, canary, gold fish, and ferret lovers alike.

Arts Briefs is compiled by Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood. Send information to cwiseblood@newtimesslo.com




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