The Little Dog Laughed
by Douglas Carter Beane
Cort Theatre, New York
The Little Dog Laughed:” A Very Little Dog
“Nothing happens twice” was how one wit described Samuel Beckett’s incomparable “Waiting for Godot,” where “nothing” was quite something. ‘Nothing at all happens’ might be said more colloquially of “The Little Dog Laughed.” Here three people produce a steady noise for about two hours that might have been clips from a talk machine or a TV sit com. A feisty Hollywood agent turns an amiable guy into a movie star who gets to keep his witless boy lover. That’s about it. As characters, the three of them operate at about the same pitch and at a full shout; even the hero – tall, dark curly hair-- wins without or a speck of suffering or even desire. Most of what passes for action involves moving around a huge bed on a high-tech roller that gets pushed out of the back wall and swallowed up again until the guys finally hop in, separately, and go to sleep. If I had paid $100 for a ticket I would want to see something going on, not necessarily sex and death, but at least that would have been something. A ten minute string of conventional remarks about whether or not to become lovers carries no emotional highs or lows; there’s nothing for these characters to win or lose: no passion, no power, no plot. Not even the glamorous, fast talking agent in gold high heels could save the show, likely written around her. There was instead, for the pure pleasure of looking, a handsome proscenium set with a back wall made of three foot squares in muted magenta that bore no discernible relation to proceedings.
“The Little Dog Laughed,” by Douglas Carter Beane. At the Cort Theatre. Directed by Scott Ellis. Set design, Allen Moyer. Featuring Julie White (Diane); Tom Everett Scott (Mitchell); Johnny Galecki (Alex); Ari Graynor (Ellen).