the terrier’s tale

Jack has witnessed all stages of The Mare’s Tale, from inception, through the processes of design and making, right up to rehearsals and performance. My friend Stephen Kay wrote of the performance on the 7th September:

‘On a slightly less serious note, I have to say that tonight was the first time I’ve been in a theatre when the director was accompanied by his dog. We were sat in the row behind the seats reserved for the creative team, and noted that as people filed in to sit down, almost as many greeted Jack as you.’

Above: early days with the Mare’s Tale ‘model village’ at Ty Isaf.

Below: waiting for everything to begin at Theatr Brycheiniog.

The little chap has become an old hand now at orchestra calls, taking them in his stride. At the second orchestra call I noticed a number of musicians taking i-phone photographs from the stage of him sitting bolt upright in his seat in the stalls, watching everything with great interest.

Above, piano rehearsal in dressing-room 4 for Eric Roberts and the creative team. Jack is at bottom right.

On the Friday night before our opening, Jack attended the Private View of Philippa Robbins’ exhibition Magical Thinking at the Art Shop Gallery in Abergavenny, which is an absolutely gorgeous show in a beautiful space. (Peter wrote the exhibition note for it.) Philippa had made a tiny ‘nicho’ painting titled Jack on a Rug, and a woman came up to ask if the dog standing at my feet was the one in the painting she’d just purchased, because if so she’d like to meet him. From left to right in the photograph above, my friend, artist Shellie Byatt… holding Jack’s lead… me, Shellie’s husband Kit, and the owner of the Art Shop Gallery, Pauline Griffiths. Jack wasn’t the only animal present, because upstairs in a quiet room, Philippa’s daughter Oonagh and her fiancé Jon, were introducing their sixteen-week-old Devon Rex kitten, Marcelline, to selected guests. Marcelline behaved impeccably, greeting her visitors with delightful aplomb. Later she met Jack too, which was done from within the security of her cage, though clearly they were both very interested in each other. Just as well too, as Jack is to be Marcelline’s canine ‘uncle’ when she moves permanently to Wales.

Below: stage rehearsals with piano.

Above: accompanying the director on morning walks before work.

Below:  he’s become unexpectedly good friends with the Ciliau cat.

Above: packed and ready to return home to Ty Isaf.  Jack loved our stay at this beautiful old house.

Below: Jack-the-theatre-dog.

11 thoughts on “the terrier’s tale

  1. Sweet Jack! What adventures he has had on the way to opening night. Lucky boy that he is…

    I am not at all caught up with your doings 😦 but shall catch up as soon as I get in a ms. and judge two contests. Don’t know quite how the year became so packed!

  2. Jack sure is one swelligant and elegant pooch!

    P.S. That is one mean looking moggy!

    P.P.S I have an imaginary suasage dog, who crops up in the background of my pictures sometimes, usually floating about attached to a small balloon, his name is Cap’n.

    • ‘Swelligant’ indeed. (Just like the party!)

      Puss wasn’t mean at all, but had the gentlest and most forbearing temperament, even when Jack got all fruity with her!

      Methinks you need to make Cap’n real in your life. I once had a Jack Russell crossed with a Dachshund, and he was as sweet as caramel.

  3. Jack – a very wise soul. I love the top photo of Jack with the model village. Such intelligence in those eyes. I used to do some work in a previous life for a private investigator in Sheffield. He had a beagle called Robert. Robert the Beagle junior detective. He had similar intelligent eyes to Jack and would sit listening to our conversations looking from one to other as though he was taking in every word and would nod sagely occasionally which made us laugh. Then he’d have a mad five minutes of racing up and down the office backwards and forwards like something possessed and then settle back to his listening like nothing had happened while we sat open mouthed at the energy expelled. We loved having him in the office.

    • What a character Robert sounds. I’m all for well-behaved dogs in the workplace. People at Theatr Brycheiniog always seemed a little cheerier in Jack’s company. He made everyone smile and relax. My friend Liz Sangster used to take her dog Daisy to work at Welsh National Opera when she was head of the scenic department there, and it made the workshops feel rather cosy.

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