Wilma the dog is a great asset to 'Cherry'

Posted by Heather Pflug

Last night I had a great opportunity to get "up close personal" with Wilma, the awsome black and white dog playing The Hound in Chicago Street's production of "The Cherry Orchard." Wilma's stage moments are sparse, but brilliant

Her owners, Marty and Kelley Weisenbacher, insist that she is "fooling" everyone with her laidback, sweet demeanor. Apparently, Wilma is a "chewer" and has a fondness for shoes and trash cans when she is in the comfort of her own home, but she was the picture of good behavior last night.

On opening night, Wilma joined the cast for the curtain call but quickly got freaked out by the applause, whistling, and yelling. Now Wilma sits the curtain call out, waiting patiently for Kelley to retrieve her backstage.

While her fellow actors were on stage last night, I took her out of her crate and played with her. She enthusiastically did one trick after another in exchange for a treat. She is so gentle and loving, and I wanted to take her home with me. I'm sure, however, that my own dog Bella would have taken a dim view of having a new sibling. She is quite territorial and not great at sharing.  And I'm quite sure that Kelley and Marty wouldn't have stood still while their beloved Wilma was "dognapped." They are quite fond of her!

If you haven't yet seen Wilma on stage, check her out!

'Cherry Orchard' cast, crew are having a ball

Kevin Doran plays Trofimov in 'The Cherry Orchard'

Posted by Kevin Doran

The best part about The Cherry Orchard rehearsals is getting all of our innate humor out of our systems so we can convince the audience we’re a group of turn-of-the-century Russian aristocrats. This is not an easy task. We are a crazy group. It’s as serious a problem as the Gaevs losing their orchard. We are too funny. Barb, Daena, Tony, the whole gang. We’re pretty hilarious.

Have you read this play? It’s filled with subtext and implications of lost love and disappointment. And yet we are goofing around?

With this group, how could we not?

This play, and the entire rehearsal process leading up to it, has been hilarious and rewarding because the people involved have put in many long hours to perfect their roles both on-stage and off. We have all done it without losing sight that theatre, even serious drama, is a fun thing to do with other people.

It’s often repeated in rehearsals that theatre is a team sport. This play proved that. Every single actor is feeding off the choices of the writer, the other actors, and directors, costume designer, lighting choices and sound cues. The result is a completely new and unique take on an old story, and it would be a shame to miss because when it’s done, it’s done.

As sad as that is to think about, we still have one more weekend of Chekhovian masterpiece crafted in the way that only a community theatre could pull off. This is the dramatic equivalent of a home-cooked meal. So I will end here and see you in the audience. The work will speak for itself. I know you will not be disappointed. Thank you.