‘Call the Dog’ a treat for Halloween

“Call the Dog,” a short play lasting only a few minutes, will be staged on a repeating basis from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, in the alley park between The New Era and Figaro’s Pizza buildings on Main Street.

The productions run concurrently with the Downtown Trick-or-Treat celebration, during which downtown businesses and other organizations hand out goodies to children through age 12. 

“Dog” features a couple, Leo and Nat (played by Ron and Jane Reeder), attempting to call in their pet before retiring for the night. “They start blaming each other about who’s got the dog and – “it’s not a dog,” Jane Reeder said.

As the production is interactive, the actors will be asking the audience for help.

The Reeders have lived in Sweet Home for about two years, after moving from Rogue River, in southern Oregon.

“We saw on Facebook that they were doing haunted ghost tours and they were looking for volunteers,” said Jane, who met Ron while visiting on vacation from Great Britain. “I said, ‘You know, the town’s given us a really good welcome. We should do something to give back – in some altruistic mode,'” she added, laughing.

“We had a ton of Halloween stuff, so we donated it to the Chamber of Commerce,” Ron said. “That’s how we got hooked up.”

The Reeders are not experienced actors, they said, but they bring enthusiasm.

“When I was a kid, I was involved in robotics and a thing called ‘pantomime’ in England,” Jane said, chuckling. “That was a long time ago. I wasn’t good enough to make it on talent alone and I wasn’t pretty enough to make it on looks alone. I was spectacularly mediocre.”

The play is produced by Shocase, a Sweet Home volunteer organization emphasizing arts in the community. Originally written by Simon K. Parker in 2020, “Dog” received minor tweaks for the Shocase presentation, according to member Shirley Austin, who allowed that the group “took a little bit of liberty and changed a bit of it.” This is Shocase’s first theatrical production since its February 2017 formation.

“Dog” was funded in part by a $500 Linn County Cultural Coalition grant the group received last year for one-act plays. The arrival of COVID-19 extended the grant through 2021.

As for future shows, Austin said Shocase is waiting out the pandemic. “When we can do more, we’ll plan more,” she said.

– The New Era staff