Working Like Dogs

By Kayla Kaufman

Which member of the Geary backstage crew is known to pee onstage, distract cast members (especially children), and nibble scenery? Much-loved dog Bibingka, who despite clocking in at less than a foot tall, has the whole of The Geary Theater under her paw.
Bibingka atop rhino scenery from A.C.T.'s production of Rhinoceros (2019). All photos by Kayla Kaufman.

Although A.C.T. has only a few furry coworkers, they are a mighty group, bringing joy, challenge, and inspiration to our work. After being scooped up from Macy’s holiday SPCA windows during a tech break for A Christmas Carol in 2018 by former head carpenter Miguel Ongpin, Bibingka has been a staple in the 1,040 seat space. She is known to rest in her stage-left bed, where she keeps one eye on Miguel, but willingly receives pats from anyone else.

New Strands Festival fans Frannie and Eleanor.
The Artistic team offices are home to two of A.C.T.’s finest, Frannie and Eleanor. Though Frannie only began using public transportation when she first met human pal Janet Foster (our director of casting) a few months ago, she’s now become quite the commuter. Every Tuesday, as soon as Janet puts her BART-friendly dog purse on the ground, Frannie leaps in and curls up, ready to go.

Coexisting among artistic visionaries, both Frannie and Eleanor are zealous about new plays—the latter was even featured in our 2019 New Strands Festival poster. Passionate about canine representation onstage, Eleanor was thrilled to see that her human pal (Director of Dramaturgy and New Works Joy Meads) had programmed The Best We Could, a new play featuring multiple dogs.

Artistic Fellow Ariana Johnson, Eleanor, and Publications Fellow Annie Sears at the 2019 New Strands Festival.
As an occasional visitor to the Costume Shop and M.F.A. Program rehearsal studios, Beauregard is often vocal about his artistic opinions. While the student actors were rehearsing Sense & Sensibility (2019), Beau would closely watch his human pal, M.F.A. actor Lily Harris. Lily and the cast knew they were doing good work when Beau would quit whining and observe, engrossed in their acting. When not in rehearsal, he keeps company with Sean Key-Ketter, his other human pal and A.C.T.’s former conservatory technical director. Typically a speedy worker, Beau reminds Sean to take a moment for a treat or an energizing lap around The Costume Shop Theater.

Conservatory Technical Director Sean Key-Ketter and M.F.A. Program actor Lily Harris with Beauregard.
Down the hallway in the Costume Shop sits a princess. Clara Bow, named after the silent film star, presides over the daily business of the shop with her human pal, Rentals Manager Callie Floor. Known for her outrageous flirting, her Esther Williams warm-up routine, and her scene-stealing role in A Little Night Music (2015), Clara’s skills include calming down performers during quick changes and putting actors and renters at ease as they try on costumes.

Clara Bow with Rentals Manager Callie Floor.
Want to be part of our American Canine Theater family? Check out our opportunities page to find out ways to get involved!

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