British Columbia

Gertie — a 'dog with a cat personality' — hits the stage for Bard on the Beach

Gertie the basset hound hopes to wows audiences at the summer festival in her first stage role — as Crab in the The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Gertie stars in her first stage role as Crab in the The Two Gentlemen of Verona at the summer festival

Gertie the basset hound is the newest member of the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare theatre group. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

She's as aloof and uninterested as any Hollywood veteran, but Gertie is really a starlet.

The 6-year-old basset hound is making her stage debut as Crab at Bard on the Beach's summer festival production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

"Gertie doesn't do any tricks, she hasn't got stage experience and she stole a muffin at her audition," said owner Debbie Vanden Dungen.

"In my application, I said sometimes Gertie can't be bothered. She's definitely not a needy dog, she has a bit more of a cat personality that way."

Turns out, that's exactly what the part demanded.

Director Scott Bellis said Gertie's job in the show is to basically be as uninterested as possible.

"There is this one character named Launce in [The Two Gentlemen of Verona] who's a servant [and] has a dog named Crab. He has a bit of an unrequited love relationship with this dog," Bellis said.

"Launce loves his dog, but the dog does not love him very much," added Andrew Cownden, the actor who plays Launce.

A disinterested Gertie "poses" with her owner, Debbie Vanden Dungen. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

Gertie — with her short legs and long droopy ears — was the perfect fit.

"We needed a dog that didn't like me very much but didn't hate me," Cownden said.

"She was sort of indifferent to me, was fairly well-behaved and also looked funny. We got the perfect dog ... I feel confident and overjoyed to be working with her."

As for Gertie, Vanden Dungen says don't let her sad little face fool you.

"She's super excited. She loves being around people getting attention. She loves being the centre of attention," she said.

"She's in her glory right now."

Listen to an interview with Gertie (yes, Gertie) and company on CBC's The Early Edition

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