The most pawsome actor in Cape Town is undoubtedly the super cute Bogart (B) playing 'The Dog' in Shakespeare in Love, currently on stage at The Fugard Theatre until 25 November 2017. With this being Bogart's professional stage debut, everyone wants to know more about this energetic fur-actor and his unique approach to his craft. Theatre Scene Cape Town (TS) had a quick Q&A with him for some behind the curtain insights, because, as much as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth (Robyn Scott) "loves a dog", we too adore four-legged thespians!
TS: Who inspired you to become a fur-actor? Did you always see yourself as standing in the follow-spot?
B: When my mom and dad adopted me at the beginning of this year, my new best friends told me that if I did funny things that made my mom smile and did what she asked, I'd get yummy treats - so I try as much as I can to do that! My best friends have been on stage before and they told me that it was fun - they inspired me - I had no idea that I would be a fur-actor on the stage!
TS: Tell us about your training with your hoomans.
B: I think I've got my mom pretty well trained - when she gets our treat bag out, I can get her to click with that clicker thing just by sitting or giving a paw or rollover and I get a treat! I love my practice time every day - sometimes it's short, but other times we play for ages!
TS: How was your Shakespeare in Love audition process? Was there a lot of competition?
B: I don't know how much competition there was - but it was so much fun going to meet everyone! My mom had said to me that I had to jump up on people and tug on a rope to get the part - so I jumped up on everyone, and even knocked someone's glasses off cause I was trying so hard. And I ran around and around and around the stage with the rope after I tugged it away from them - it was so much fun cause my mom couldn't stop me, cause that's what they wanted me to do!
TS: Tell us more about your character.
B: I have to disrupt everyone and cause chaos on stage (when my mom heard that's what they were looking for - she put me forward for the part - and I don't know why). I think I do it pretty well, and because I'm trying so hard, I do it backstage too - just to make sure I don't forget. So when the other actors walk past I try to grab and tug at their cloaks and jump up at them too. My character has to lie down and not jump up when my friend Nol [Andrew Roux] tells me to - so far I've done it pretty well, but it’s getting a bit boring now, so for the last few shows I've started pulling on his cloak - and cause I'm mostly still lying down, I think it’s okay? The other parts are SO much fun! I get to play a whole game of tug, and I grab a dagger and run away with it!
TS: How has it been working with director, Greg Karvellas?
B: Greg has been so nice to me - he always comes and says hello, and he changed things around so that I could do what they wanted me to - so I like him!
TS: Who is your favourite cast member and why?
B: I like everyone, but my favourite of favourites are Nol, because he gives me droëwors when I come off stage with him, and Wessex [Jason Ralph], because he gives me liver paste treats when I run around the back and give the dagger back to him.
TS: Do you have any routines or superstition that helps you fight the nerves just before you take to the stage?
B: I always have to do the same things so that I know what I'm doing - my mom makes me lie in the same place before I first go on stage - and I have to put my Ruff on - and sometimes I let her just put it on, and sometimes I grab it and tug it - I like to keep my mom on her toes! Then I practice my down with Nol and get a treat before going onstage! When we come off, I get another treat and then he shows me the cloth that I need to tug in the next scene and I really, really try and get it! I practice my dagger grab by running down the passage and grab it from Wessex and he also always gives me treats! I always do my practice bow with my mom perfectly, but when I get on stage I'm SO excited to see everyone, sometimes I just bounce up and down and don't do what we practiced, I can't help it!
TS: How has being part of Shakespeare in Love impacted on your walkies and playtime schedule? Do you have someone keeping a close eye on working hours?
B: I love our schedule because we go the park every afternoon and I run around and then I get to sleep at the theatre for a bit before going on stage. Then I sleep some more and then my mom brings out my favourite toys for me to play with before going on stage again! When I'm at home, I sleep in quite late, even though my friends are up and about, and then we all play and sleep most of the day. Then I go to the park before the show again! My mom is always with me for every show and she makes sure I have enough rest and play time.
TS: It is not often that hounds get the opportunity to make theatre headlines. What advice would you give young pups looking to make theatre their career of choice?
B: Wow! Um, my advice is to ask your hoomans to get a clicker thingy so that you can also get treats for doing fun things - and to get your hoomans to take you lots of places to get you used to seeing and hearing all different things - because when you are backstage, it’s dimly lit and people in funny costumes just appear out of nowhere and you’ve got to be prepared for it! And being on stage is fun, but you need to be used to lots of things and people moving quickly and making noises around you.
TS: If fans want to shower you with treats, what would you want those treats to be?
B: I love anything and EVERYTHING!!! And my mom has taught me to share - at first it was hard, but now I'm happy to share with my friends. So if our fans won't mind, I'd really like to share most of my treats with my friends that I left behind at the animal shelter - my mom said that Christmas time is coming and she said that's a great time to give to others - so I'd like them to do that.
TS: Do you regard yourself more as a dramatic, comedic, or musical fur-actor?
B: I think I'm more comedic and sort of an "on-the-spot-kind of guy"! I just do things as they pop into my head!
TS: If you could choose any role as your next theatrical tour de force, what would that role be and why?
B: I would love any role that allows me to be me! I love trying new things and am always up for anything. What about a remake of Casablanca with a dog in the lead role called Bogart? Or Lady and the Tramp? I think I'd make a good Tramp!
TS: Why should people come and see you in Shakespeare in Love?
B: I think it’s a fun show - everyone is always laughing and joking so it’s a fun for me! My mom says that the actors and actresses are all really, really good and they love me being around, so I love them! I try my best to be good in every show and I think it’s a great night out for people.
Catch Bogart and the rest of the talented cast and crew of the romantic comedy, Shakespeare in Love at the Fugard Theatre until 25 November 2017. Tickets are available at Computicket.