Dear Players: it's a dog's life
Welcome to the Downsview Players’ Christmas Blog in what is our final 'tail' of the year! It is our pleasure to wish you all a happy howlidays from the Dawgs at Downsview! This chapter is brought to you by our longest-serving, tail-wagging, food-stealing canine cutie, Mr Bojangles. Welcome, Bo, to the blog!
"My puppy pals and I have decided that our Downsview hoomans are stealing far too much of the lime-light and the last blog before Santa Paws comes to town should be a right woofing laugh! So, let me introduce you to the real talent as four Downsview Dawgs share some insight into our dawgs’ life with the Players, as well as our favourite thing at Christmastime.
"So first, paw-lease allow me to introduce myself: my name is Mr BoJangles – but my friends call me Bo. Some of you may know me by my stage name: ToTo. This was my first lead role with the Players in The Wizard of Oz in 2017. Now, there may be a few die-hard Downsview fans that also remember my cameo appearance as the jail dog in our 2015 pantomime, Alice in Wonderland. But don’t let my recent appearances on stage let you think that I am a relatively new Player. I am not!
"I have been coming to Downsview ever since I stopped using a puppy pad and I have to say that joining the Players gave me a new leash of life. And being the longest dawg member at Downsview, it is my privilege to introduce you to my puppy pals!
"First, a warm welcome to my childhood sweetheart: Winnie Charles. Here she is, Dachshund through the snow (well part Dachshund, anyway!).
"Good evening Winnie. It’s been a while, and I would like to say for the record I have really missed you over lockdown. Now for our Downsview fans, I would you like to describe your happiest moment with the Players."
Winnie: "Well, I remember one time at Downsview - my mum and dad were in a play called Humble Boy back in the day in 2016. I decided to pop down during a dress rehearsal and to my surprise - and delight - I might just as well have gone to the park instead! I couldn’t believe my eyes and nose. Right in front of me, on stage, was the best garden set in the world! There was grass, flowers, even a bee hive! The only thing that was missing was a water feature. But, don’t worry, I provided that element pretty much all over the grass and most definitely on the roses. What a treat! Talk about art imitating life!"
"Thank you, Winnie. And would you please tell us what your favourite thing at Christmas is?"
Winnie: "Oh most definitely carol singing. I like to bark out a few tunes myself. My favourite being 'We woof you a merry Christmas'”.
"And now, let’s meet Charlie Spencer-Child. Hello Charlie! We would like to know how you feel you have you adapted to lockdown?"
Charlie: "Well my mum, being a headteacher, hath had to adapt quickly to meetingths being held virtually, so when Downthview started to have their Tuethday night meetingth via Zoom we were ready and waiting. We generally have a quiz on a Tuethday night. I love a quiz. I love to bark out the answerth – all of which are correct of course – unlike my mum who does bark up the wrong tree every now and then.
"When we were meeting facth to facth or cheek by jowl, I used to love a good cuppa, especially the onesth left unattended by the other Players, even for a few secondsth! Well wasthe not, wanth not!"
"Thank you Charlie and paw-lease tell us, what your favourite thing at Christmas is?"
Charlie: "Oh I love to thit on the rug by the fire and watch all thothe wonderful Chrithmath movieth, you know, the clathics like Indiana Bones: Raiders of the Lost Bark, Harry Potter and the Order of the Poodles. But I thuppose the one that I am really looking forward to this year is James Bone in Corgi Royale."
"Thank you Charlie. Now, one of my pals hasn’t been down to see us at Downsview Methodist Church Hall, but I can always hear him on our calls. Last, but never leash, let me introduce Ushie Perry the Airedale."
Ushie: "Did you say squirrel? Oh, Tuesday drama, yes. Yes, well it’s…. woah, what was that??? No, my bad, I thought I saw…er, Tuesday night drama, yes, we’re all partial to a bit of dressing up in this house. I think I set this hat off rather well. But it’s all online now, isn’t it? I do miss the set-building in the garden, and I still maintain that blue pawprints add a decorative element to the dining room. No pleasing some peop… Oi! Yes, you! Get out of my garden!!! Right, that’s it, just wait ‘til I…. Sorry, must dash…"
"Thank you Ushie for letting us interrupt your busy schedule – oh and he’s away!
"So, from both our four-legged and two-legged Players, we would like to say: dog rest you merry gentlemen! We hope you deck your paws with holly and, hopefully, this time next year we will be donning a bit of sparkle and shuffling our twinkle toes in the direction of a Players’ Pantomime. Stay safe."
Thank you Bo, you are indeed the dog's blogger! We'll be back with more stories from the Players in the new year.
If you (and your dog!) would like to find out more about becoming a member of the Downsview Players, drop us a line and say hello! We're not meeting in person for now, but we can keep you up-to-date on our plans as we venture into 2021 - our anniversary year!
Pictured top to bottom, left to right: Bo gets in the festive spirit with his own reindeer impression; taking a starring role in The Wizard of Oz as Toto in 2017 (next to his mum and director, Anne); showing how far he will go for his art: hanging out with a cat (Laura) during Dick Whittington, 2019; Bo has a good nose for treats and can always find which Player has the goods (with Michelle Spencer-Child who played his on-stage mum Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz); 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...' Simon Charles plays Toto too in The Wizard of Oz; and finally, offering some help learning lines, Bo with Terry Fuller during rehearsals.
See more images in our gallery.