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Off-Off-Broadway Review

Be the Dog

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Emily Kaye Liberis' "Be the Dog," adapted from Dave Eggers' short story "How We Are Hungry," might be the only Fringe production where you get to see four actors who impersonate one dog who impersonates four squirrels. Dogs don't hate squirrels, it turns out; they're just annoyed by the rodents' bitchy comments about them. A.R. Gurney's wonderful "Sylvia" really got into its titular canine heroine's head, but all we find out about dogs here is that they dislike squirrels, love to run through the woods, take risks, and go to heaven.

Intercut with the mutt's adventures are two unrelated and uncompelling human stories in which a young man tries to cheer up his suicidal friend and a 20-something couple on vacation in Costa Rica gropes toward sleeping together. A more purposeful writer might find drama in these situations, but as the dog comments, "People are no more interesting than waves or mountains." Indeed, judging from this, they're a good deal less so. Nevertheless, the four young actors try hard.

Presented by RyderWorks as part of the New York International Fringe Festival
at the Robert Moss Theatre, 440 Lafayette St., NYC.
Aug. 2630. Remaining performances: Fri., Aug. 28, 4:15 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 29, 10 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 30, noon.
(866) 468-7619 or www.fringenyc.org.

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