Con-Con makes the Apocalypse something fun to look forward to with ‘Dog Act’




With the show “Dog Act” by Liz Duffy Adams it actually begins before it “begins.” As you enter the Convergence Continuum’s Liminis Theatre and find a comfortable seat (it is all general admission and all good seats) you are shadowed by two of the show’s characters, Bud (Emileo Fernandez) and Coke (Wesley Allen), so named because they wear “protective” vests made out of flattened Budweiser and Coca Cola cans. The pair sniff you to see if you will be good to eat. The two (for no known reason) break into loud howls from time to time and use the F word and the S word a LOT. These two annoyance happen throughout the play so be forewarned.

We are in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. There is no government of any form. The country is roughly divided into warring regions where bands of like minded people wander around trying to stay alive by killing and eating their enemies. The main source of food other than humans is “Sqish” which is a fur covered aquatic creature with a bushy tail thus Squirrel+Fish=Sqish. The seasons also change in an instant. One second it is a balmy spring day then the earth shifts on its axis and wham it is sub zero winter...and you thought March in Cleveland was tough.

In this world a pair of vaudevillians, Rozetta Stone or Zetta for short (Denise Astorino) and her faithful sidekick, Dog who is a human undergoing a “species demotion” (Mike Frye) are traveling together dragging a cart of their earthly possessions as they make their way to China for a promised gig in front of the emperor of said land.

Dog is the perfect traveling companion who never complains, does what he is told and is a hard worker. Zetta on the other hand (as Dog puts it) “is unfettered by any fanatical reverence to facts.” The one thing in her favor is her unwavering optimism. As with all performers the duo simply wants to perform and sing and dance and tell stories and jokes and all that.

Currently they have two problems. The first is that they are not quite sure what direction China lies. Zetta thinks that if they can find the ocean that their troubles will be over. The other tiny problem is that with the rest of their troupe having died they are down to one small piece of the original show...The Dog Act.

The march to the sea is temporarily halted with the appearance of two miscreants, the treacherous Vera Similitude (Andrea Belser) and her hyper intensive sidekick Jo-Jo the fast talking liar (Kate Smith). The pair are being tracked by the mentally diminished Bud and Coke after Vera and Jo-Jo stole from them. Vera possesses “a power” to “foretell” which amounts to saying, “I don’t know.” Jo-Jo is a story teller in the rapid fire vein of listening to the disclaimer end of a radio or TV commercial and she does it all in one breath.

Unsuspecting Zetta decides that Vera and Jo-Jo are perfect as new members of the troupe. Vera has some dirt on Dog’s past, Jo-Jo is in fact a homicidal maniac and the F and S Brothers are rounding the bend to their camp.

As for the performance...first of all this is a lot to ask from any actors. The dialogue is written in a pseudo Shakespearean Middle English gibberish that is a real challenge to follow much less recite from memory. While the songs are not show stoppers they are clever breaks in the performance. Jo-Jo’s machine gun delivery of two stories are nothing short of amazing. Everything is bigger or lesser than normal. Zetta is bombastic, Dog is subdued, Vera is snakingly quiet, Jo-Jo is ultra hyper and Bud and Coke are way over the top.

The show is directed by David L. Munnell who somehow manages to keep the entire production from spinning out of control. Cory Molner manages to eek out the most from the lighting and Jonah Raider-Roth sees to it that every word is heard clearly. Scott Zolkowski does a great job assembling the set (complete with wagon) and the post- apocalyptic costuming.

Convergence-Continuum bills itself as Cleveland’s up-close and OUT there Theatre. Over the years they have built a fanatical following of fans who are nearly as fun to watch as the show. This show is right up their dark and scary alley. For fans of more conventional theater this might be considered a walk on the wild side. If you feel a little daring, buy a ticket and take a chance.

Convergence-Continuum’s production of “Dog Act” will be on stage in the Liminis Theatre, 2438 Scranton Road, Cleveland, Ohio (in the heart of the historic Tremont area) through April 16, 2022, for more information and to purchase tickets go to https://www.convergence-continuum.org/ or call (216) 687-0474.


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Who is Mark Horning?

Over the course of my life I have worked a variety of jobs including newspapers, retail camera sales and photography. Eight years ago I embarked on yet another career as writer. This included articles concerning sports and cultural events in Cleveland, Ohio as well reviews of the many theatrical productions around town. These days are spent photographing professional dance groups, theater companies and various galas and festivals as well as attending various stage performances and posting reviews about them.