Malcolm’s Mayhem 8

In an earlier post, I mentioned that Joey had opened the door for Malcolm’s local stage career.  Several years after we’d lost Joey, I received a call from the director who asked me if I still had Joey.  He wanted to use him in ‘Oliver!’ again.  I replied that I didn’t have Joey, but I did have a dog I thought would do quite well in the production, and did he want to see him?  He said yes.

Unlike Joey, by this time Malcolm had three years worth of dog shows and obedience classes behind him.  He was 10 pounds heavier, more impressive, and one heck of a ham.  There was no hesitation on the director’s part in hiring us.  This was the first of five productions and four local stage companies where he’d play the role of Bill Sykes dog, Bullseye during his life.

Malcolm was truly in his element.  Since he was an all white dog, he did have to wear make up in the form of an eye patch and he’d wait patiently while I applied it.  He learned every musical cue and was pulling me to the door of the ‘green room’ as soon as he heard the song before his entrance onstage.  Most of his stage work he did off lead with me hidden behind the sets ready to reward him with a treat.

In his first play, the first scene off lead, every performance, Malcolm would lean way over the edge of the upper stage to peer at the actors below.  I stood, hidden behind a black curtain on steep steps and holding my breath praying he wouldn’t fall off the edge before Bill Sykes told him, “Bullseye, go home.”  At which point I’d whisper, “Malcolm, cookie!  Come!”  He never did fall but I always had my heart in my throat when he did that lean.  I’m certain he thought it was fun to panic me at least once during every performance.

He loved doing the bar scene and would wag his tail like crazy when the music for ‘Oom Pah Pah’ began.  He made a quick appearance in Fagin’s den and then again during Oliver’s capture.  Then after the murder of Nancy, he enjoyed his dash across the stage.  I would leave him with a stagehand, run behind the sets to the far side of the stage, wait for his cue, and then I’d blow on an English Bobby’s whistle and the stagehand would let him go.  This was our most difficult scene because of the fog, action, and so many people on the stage.  Most of the time Malcolm was flawless, however, there were those days where he’d want to take a romp.  Thank goodness, we had a back up plan just in case and one of Fagin’s boys would snag Malcolm and get him off the stage to me.

His favorite part was curtain call.  He loved the applause.  We’d send him out dressed in one of the production company’s T-shirts with Bill or The Artful Dodger and he would bow right along with the cast.  The dog was truly a complete ham.

Malcolm always knew when it was the last performance.  That was the only time he ever whined on the ride home.

Each of the four directors staged and directed in a different way.  There were often years in between the productions.  For the rest of his life, if you played a recording of ‘Oliver!’, you could tell that Malcolm never forgot a musical cue.

Oliver! curtain call

Oliver! 2

Oliver! curtain call 2

Oliver!

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About doggonedmysteries

Agented Mystery Writer, Bull Terrier owner --we have two, Avid gardener.

Posted on November 2, 2008, in Dog related, My blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Gosh darn, Malcolm was a four legged version of my dad! ROTFL!

    I was stage manager for a production of Bell, Book, and Candle. I found the perfect laid back Persian to be part of the company. Cat was flawless, but a replacement actor turned out to be terrified of cats and there went the third performance as he fled the stage screaming. He thought the cat was a toy until it moved!

  2. doggonedmysteries

    Love the visual of the actor fleeing the stage!

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