If dogs are man’s best friend, then who do pups turn to when they need a good friend? Playwright Julie Marie Myatt tries to answer that question in her innovative new play currently showing at The Road on Magnolia. Directed by the talented Marya Mazor, THE RESCUED artfully blurs the lines between man and beast, with human and dog both presented as just two different types of mammals with many of the same needs, fears, and desires.
The elderly Harold (J.D. Hall) has been around the longest in this suburban home. He’s learned a lot over the years, and he tries to share his knowledge with Buster (Leandro Cano), an aggressive former fighter who has a long history of abuse and has developed some self-control with Harold’s help. Harold also recognizes lots of himself in the newest arrival, Jason (Patrick Joseph Rieger), a snappish and isolated little guy whose history of being locked alone in a cage for years has made him so touchy and suspicious that he can’t get close to anybody. Meanwhile, hyperactive Darrell (Rahul Rai) craves love every minute of the day – but doesn’t know how to go about ingratiating himself to others except by overwhelming them with unwanted affection.
Then the girls enter the fray. First, there’s Candice (Meeghan Holaway) the flirty, well-turned-out cutie who’s clearly been spoiled and hasn’t ever been on her own – until now. Finally, we have Lola (Kacie Rogers), the timid newcomer who hides in the closet for fear of being hurt by her fellow mutts.
When these very different – and very human – canines get together, lots of things are sure to happen. Each has his own back story, and each has his own personality quirks which make him both lovable and on occasion scary. Each is trying to rebuild a life which was torn apart. The skilled ensemble cast does a brilliant job of portraying pups with humanity – or maybe humans with some doggish traits. THE RESCUED is both witty and compassionate as it explores what it is to be human.
Sarah B. Brown’s scenic design is simple and appropriate. Derrick McDaniel’s lighting, David B. Marling’s sound, and Mary Jane Miller’s costumes fit in and add to the production. And then there’s a surprise awaiting you: each of these canines can sing! And each has quite a set of lungs at that. THE RESCUED will provide a fun evening – but is also thought-provoking as it explores the meaning of being human – and being loved. Animal lovers will be in heaven – but even if you’re not especially enamored of dogs, the issues raised should keep you involved. And who doesn’t want a little bit of love?
THE RESCUED runs through November 22, 2018, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The Road on Magnolia is located at 10747 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601. Tickets are $34. For information and reservations, call 838-761-8838 or go online.