Shelter dog steals spotlight in ‘Of Mice and Men’
A dog, which had been found sick on the street by the Kocaeli Municipality animal shelter teams and adopted by the Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality City Theaters after a treatment process, has become a theater artist.
The dog, named Boncuk, has started a new life in theater and has recently been given a role in John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” as Dolares.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Kocaeli City Theaters’ general art director Fatih Sevdi said the former dog in the play had to be replaced for particular reasons.
“It will be good for both of us. Boncuk has created a warm atmosphere in the theater from the beginning. She was a bit weak when she came. Stray dogs and shelter dogs have suffered trauma. This is why everyone has welcomed her here warmly. It had been good for her life as well as our life. She is friendly to people,” said Sevdi.
The art director said Boncuk has taken the stage nine times for 30 minutes in each play so far.
Sevdi said the dog’s finale in the play had been dramatic. “We call her Dolares in the play. She has a dramatic finish. She is not wanted by other people on the farm. She is said to be sick and they want her to be shot. Her owner is persuaded and Dolares dies. Here [in the theater], Boncuk does not have an owner. She is our friend here because she does not have an owner. Animals choose their owners. She is one of our actors,” he said.
Sevdi also said they did not have any problem with her during rehearsals.
“She had been uneasy in the beginning but it has made a positive impact on the play. Her role is a sick dog, so her uneasiness has contributed to this role. She is very smart and has strong feelings. You normally cannot get her to come near a building but she obeys us in the play. She waits for the announcement during the play and takes her place with everyone. If you bring a dog onstage, she will steal the spotlight no matter how good you are. In this sense, she is always the leading artist on the stage. Everyone is curious about what she will do. As actors, we try to imitate what is natural but she is natural on her own. She does not even have to play a role, so she draws a lot of attention. We plan to work with her on other projects, too, as she is an actress,” he said.
Theater actor Yaşar Özveri, who is Boncuk’s partner in the play, said he was a farmer in the play. “Boncuk is my dog. She is my castmate. Actually, she plays the role of a pretty old dog in the play. Her and I get along well,” he said.
Özveri said they had not had a problem during rehearsals or in the play. “Boncuk lives in the theater and takes the stage there. When she is not working, she lives in her space. We also take her outside,” he said.