Stretch Dog: stretched on too long
Stretch Dog, written and performed by Robert Olguin, is a play about an actor who is trying to do the work he loves while also providing for his wife and baby daughter, two lifestyles entirely at odds. It’s a tried and true artist’s account of what it means to feel fulfilled by one’s work, but also get some bills paid. Olguin starts the play in sharp white light delivering a poetic account of a childhood memory. It’s all very edgy but suddenly we’re transported into his agent, Marty’s, office never to revisit the intriguing beginning again. In the agent’s office our protagonist does a little shouting and some soul searching about fulfillment and crappy hot dog commercials.
Olguin’s acting in Stretch Dog is strong and his storytelling enthralling, but the majority of the play is rutted in confusion and depression. Any humor offered is coated with an anger that prevents the audience from enjoying it. There’s a wonderfully told story about having to stop traffic and shit his brain’s out on the highway medium because of the 7-cheese lasagna in his lactose intolerant stomach all the while driving a date to a movie. But to follow up this “lighter” story the character drops the depressive meditation that in life “we are all just shit bags that once in while spring a leak”. It’s an angry depression that though dramatic, fails to push the story forward, fails to push the character’s life forward. In the end Stretch Dog lacks a sense of self-awareness, humorous or not, that would ease the audience into the character.
By the end of it all, he does stop pontificating and finally takes action. It feels good, but by that time the play’s over. You walk away wondering, if you’re lactose intolerant, why would you eat a 7-cheese lasagna?
Stretch Dog is part of this year's Fringe. For more info go dogging here.