We’re a fairly new company, and we were looking for new and unknown work to produce for the Capital Fringe Festival (also a first for us). But behold, the face of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever came to us in the form of Lee Blessing’s Chesapeake, and we were hooked.
This one-person play has been done Off-Broadway and continues to have a healthy theatre life, due to its topics of art, politics, hate, love, and of course a dog.
We like Chesapeake partly because of a central paradox—the very appearance of the main character is made impossible by the story he tells. We also like the play’s hilarious, almost impossible situations and colorful characters, as well as its fundamental human themes and emotional appeal. And there is a dog. We love dogs.
The story involves an eccentric performance artist (Kerr, portrayed by Dexter Hamlett), whose act is strange, difficult to interpret, and includes nudity. A loud Southern Congressman, later Senator (Pooley) condemns Kerr’s performances, thus scoring political points; Kerr soon regards Pooley as his enemy. There’s also Pooley’s dog (Lucky), whose appeal is an asset in Pooley’s campaigns. We won’t give away the plot entirely, but we’ll say that Kerr finds out that Pooley’s hostility toward him is fake—a campaign trick—and Kerr becomes so enraged that he attempts to kidnap Lucky. The kidnapping attempt goes disastrously wrong, with consequences too extreme to imagine, including an event that ordinarily would be considered impossible.
Join us at the Capital Fringe Festival to find out the rest of the story.
Chesapeake has some themes about as old as human existence—revenge, ultimate purpose, forgiveness, the afterlife (if any), and peace—combined with plot twists and deep feelings. And it’s the only play we can remember in which a dog determines the outcome.
Chesapeake is onstage at Bedroom – Fort Fringe,612 L Street NW,Washington, DC 20001
Performances are: July 10 at 8 pm.; July 13 at 3:45 pm.; July 19 at noon;
July 23 at 8:45 p.m. and July 26 at 7 pm
Details and tickets or call 866-811-4111.
— Guest writer Bill Goodman is a playwright and is producer for The Edge of the Universe Players 2.