We chat with writer Ron Elisha about 'Everyman & His Dog' premiering at Explosives Factory as part of the Victorian Seniors Festival.
Being a writer, I’m fascinated by words and their combinations. There’s nothing I like more than to take a well-worn expression, examine it, turn it inside out and upside down, play with it, place it under tension, then incorporate it into a dramatic form so that, by the end of this process, my own understanding of the expression – and hopefully that of my audience – will have undergone an evolutionary change.
So the play, ‘Everyman & His Dog’, was indeed inspired by hearing the expression on the radio – but actually hearing it, as if for the first time.
The meaning is obvious, but why not just every man? And if there had to be something added on for emphasis, why a dog? Why not a cat or a son or a kitchen sink? It says something about the place of dogs in our lives, I think.
My own history with dogs is somewhat fraught and, on a certain level, writing the play has been somewhat cathartic.
Which brings me to one of the most exciting elements of the piece, and that’s the dog! There’s nothing quite like having a live dog on stage. It brings to any performance a certain air of unpredictability and, ironically, a whole new level of humanity (which is one of the things that a relationship with a dog does to humans – brings out their humanity). This is something you simply won’t get in a movie theatre – it is the very quintessence of live performance.
There’s a lot of whiz-bangery out there on our stages. A lot of anger and adversarialism. A lot of kinky sex. And all of that’s great. But for those who are looking for something more reflective, something a little deeper, something that celebrates our humanity (there’s that word again), ‘Everyman & His Dog’ will, I think, provide a wry yet deeply moving experience that will follow you out into the night.