Essentially the most well-known canine within the Yukon is about to have his story informed in Whitehorse once more, this time on the mainstage of the Yukon Arts Centre (YAC) with a 40-person ensemble of performers and manufacturing crew.
In January 2008, a German shepherd – rottweiler cross named Trevor entered the canine authorized system. He was discovered abused and uncared for, chained up exterior his residence with flesh rising round his collar. Bylaw officers introduced him to the Yukon Humane Society, the place he was nursed again to well being, re-socialized and adopted.
By August 2009, Trevor the canine had change into a family identify within the Yukon. After biting three individuals and being dropped off on the Whitehorse canine pound, he was on death-row. He fought for his life on the Supreme Courtroom of Yukon, making headlines throughout the territory and turning into the poster pet for animal-lovers.
Dogtown: The Musical is impressed by Trevor’s true story and is enjoying on the YAC Sept. 7 to 10. Written by Roy Ness in collaboration with composer and musical director Grant Simpson, it has been in growth since 2010 and was first produced on the Magnetic North Theatre Competition in 2016.
“What drew me to the story was the battle,” stated Ness, “and the way in which the entire territory was principally break up down the center. There have been only a few individuals sitting on the fence. It was kill Trevor or give him one other probability.”
Ness was in rehearsals for an additional musical on the time of Trevor’s courtroom listening to and stated a rule needed to be put in place to cease everybody from speaking about it backstage. Amidst the heated debates over Trevor’s destiny, he knew he needed to inform this story onstage.
“I simply thought – musical,” Ness stated. “I at all times noticed it as a giant manufacturing, and that is what we’re doing now.”
He wrote a courtroom scene for Homegrown Theatre Competition after which David Skelton, Nakai Theatre’s creative director on the time, expressed curiosity in workshopping the script with DD Kugler as dramaturg. Simpson got here on board in 2012 to jot down the music.
Claire Ness, Roy’s daughter, stepped as much as produce and direct the 2022 remount. Based on Simpson, she had been a driving power of the undertaking since its inception.
“She was at all times transferring it ahead and pushing it up,” he stated.
Ness co-produced the 2016 model with the Yukon Circus Society however was having a child on the time which restricted her involvement.
This time round, she needed to place as a lot of herself into the present as she may. Her foremost precedence was to carry her father and Simpson’s imaginative and prescient to life.
“We needed to have it on the mainstage with correct lights and sound and flying ravens and an orchestra pit,” she stated.
“From the very starting, I’ve at all times needed to see the ravens fly,” her dad added.
Three ravens, performed by Brandon Wicke, Paulina Gonzalez and Jordan Kaltenbruner, narrate the play and take flight intermittently with the assistance of three backstage ‘riggers.’ Utilizing the YAC’s fly system, theatrical rigging permits for choreographed flying sequences of the performers to occur whereas being suspended excessive up within the air.
“Flying ravens are a giant a part of why we’re right here and what we’re doing,” Simpson stated.
Moreover, the manufacturing consists of 5 actual canines within the opening quantity, which provides one other component of shock and layer of unpredictability to the present. One of many canines, Lilou, performs a starring position and is handed round on and offstage by lots of the performers and crew.
Based on Simpson, Ness’ script writing does a superb job celebrating the quirky traits of canine house owners in Whitehorse, the place the canine to human ratio is significantly increased than in different cities. It’s additionally “humorous,” “satirical” and “joyful.”
“It was essential to me not simply to honour this good work, however to place one thing on the market that helps us giggle at ourselves.” Claire Ness stated.
“We take ourselves so severely as of late and there’s a variety of stress round what’s unsuitable and what’s proper, and I feel it’s essential to have the ability to giggle altogether in a giant room of 400 individuals. That doesn’t occur fairly often.”
Whereas Dogtown: The Musical is a comedy at coronary heart, Roy Ness says it additionally brings tears and a few actually deep messages.
It mirrors human society and the controversy of capital punishment, in keeping with Claire Ness.
“When is it okay to place somebody down?” she requested. “In the event that they’re harmful and should spend the remainder of their life in jail, do you retain feeding them and letting them watch films and be taught Tai Chi? Or do you simply quit on them? It’s a troublesome state of affairs for everyone.”
Trevor’s story is certainly one of hope, love and second probabilities. There’s one thing in it for everybody, whether or not or not you’re a canine individual and whether or not or not you imagine in the potential for rehabilitation.
Dogtown: The Musical opens on the Yukon Arts Centre on Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. and runs till Sept. 10 with an extra 2 p.m. matinee scheduled that afternoon.
Tickets are $30 and obtainable at yukontickets.com.
Contact Magan Carty at [email protected]