Running, jumping, sex, and suicide are the dominant themes juxtaposed in exploring the lives of humans and dogs in Be The Dog, a play being presented in NYC’s Fringe Festival this week and it makes for an interesting comparison. The play, written by Emily Kaye Liberis and originally performed as her undergrad thesis in Boston University, is a loose adaptation of the short story “How We Are Hungry” by Dave Eggers and it is being performed through Sunday at the Robert Moss Theater.

The work is considerably less “fringe” than expected and the well written dialogue paired with the humor and off-beat situations lift the presentation beyond its limited production value. The quartet of actors do a good job of illuminating the exuberance of a dog’s run changing quickly into the overly complicated world of humans and like the author, and director Jason McDowell-Green they all hail from B.U.’s theater arts program. The set is minimalistic as is the wardrobe but the performances and the nature of the story which cuts between the multiple human and dog narratives help keep the audience involved.

What is interesting about the work is that while it does expectedly place judgment on human’s neurotic and often overly-dramatic complexities in the very natural arena of sex and death, it doesn’t equally minimize the life of a dog to the degree that one might surmise. For dog lovers it’s a no-brainer but even for the rest of NYC the play offers an inexpensive night out and some context and insight into our very convoluted decisions.

For more information on the play Be The Dog, presented at The New York International Fringe Festival through Sunday, August 30, go to the website HERE

Tim Needles

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