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‘Go’: Lessons abound when Children’s Theatre stages classic

Mike Hynes, Kathie Doyle-Lipe and Mark Pleasant star in Spokane Children’s Theater production of “Go, Dog. Go!” at SFCC. (Dan Pelle)
Mike Hynes, Kathie Doyle-Lipe and Mark Pleasant star in Spokane Children’s Theater production of “Go, Dog. Go!” at SFCC. (Dan Pelle)

Not much of importance seems to happen in the children’s book, “Go, Dog. Go!” Or in the play of the same name, which will be presented by the Spokane Children’s Theatre at Spokane Falls Community College’s Spartan Theatre, starting Saturday.

For those unfamiliar with the 1961 children’s classic by P.D. Eastman, here’s a synopsis:

Big dogs, little dogs, yellow dogs, pink dogs, red dogs, blue dogs and green dogs work hard and play hard together. They drive fast cars. They fall asleep together on a huge bed. One pink poodle keeps asking a yellow dog if he likes her hat. He does not. She creates more elaborate hats. He still doesn’t like the hats. In the end, the dogs party together on top of a giant tree. The yellow dog finally likes the poodle’s party hat.

Do deeper lessons about social interaction lurk in the book and play? You get fun – and profound – answers if you ask.

The “Go, Dog. Go!” lessons:

• Be inclusive.

Although different in size, color, shape and temperament, “all the dogs play together and help each other and don’t say, ‘That dog’s a poodle, I don’t want to talk to them,’ ” said Kathie Doyle-Lipe, who plays the emcee dog.

“If we could all be so accepting of each other, how peaceful.”

• Live in the moment.

The dogs do not consult their day timers. They do not go to bed by alarm clocks or wake up to them.

“They know the sheer joy of laughing at the simplest things. We forget that,” said Esta Rosevear, director of the play.

The play has provided Rosevear with many sheer-joy moments. She cherishes them. A year ago, her 28-year-old daughter died of cancer. And Rosevear, a theater teacher and director, is losing her eyesight to glaucoma. This play may be her last.

She’s enjoying its vaudevillian, visual presentation. Characters tap dance on bubble wrap, for instance, and some wear cars as costumes.

• Take criticism well.

The hat-wearing poodle dog does not pout or snap back when the yellow dog is honest about her hat. Instead, she tries harder.

The lesson? “Learn from criticism,” Doyle-Lipe said. “Try for a higher grade.”

• Don’t worry about the deeper lessons.

“It’s nothing but a piece of fluff!” exclaimed Mark Pleasant, who plays a red dog. “It’s a good escape from the woes going on out there.”

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