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'Black Dog: 4 vs the World' back by popular demand

It's a testament to the power of local playwright Matthew Heiti's play “Black Dog: 4 vs the World” that it's being staged for the second year in a row.
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No. 2 (Morgan St. Onge) and No. 3 (played by Michael Boyce) in a scene from playwright Matthew Heiti's “Black Dog: 4 vs the World.” The STC production about teenage mental illness was so well received it is being staged for the second time. Photo by Arron Pickard.
It's a testament to the power of local playwright Matthew Heiti's play “Black Dog: 4 vs the World” that it's being staged for the second year in a row.

The play focuses on a group of teens trying to solve the mystery of the suicide of the brother of one of the characters.

Beyond the performances open to the public, many school groups saw the Sudbury Theatre Centre's Young(ish) Theatre Company presentation in 2013.

Audiences reacted so strongly that the theatre decided to bring "Black Dog" back this year, said Judi Straughan, the play's director and STC's education co-ordinator.

“When the show closed, so many people wanted it to return, and the school boards in particular wanted it to return so that more students could see it,” she said.

Luckily, all five cast members from last year's production were available, many now with a year of theatre school under their belts.

“I know a lot of people don't like to talk about mental health and things shown in the show, but I think it's an important thing,” said Jake Deeth, who plays the character No. 5.

“I'm happy that we have a chance to bring (the play) back.”

If you saw Black Dog last year, you'll find the production has changed slightly, as Heiti — STC's playwright-in-residence — has been hard at work, fine-tuning the script.

Deeth, a Sudbury Secondary graduate who just finished his first year of theatre school at George Brown College, said he's enjoyed seeing the play's evolution, and being part of the process.

Sudbury Theatre Centre commissioned Heiti to write the play because so many young people seemed to be struggling with mental illness, Straughan said.

“It's really important to do meaningful plays that can change lives,” she said.
The show runs May 23 and 24 at 7 p.m. and May 31 at 2 and 7 p.m. A total of 14 school matinees will also be presented over the next week.

Public shows are $15 for students, $23 for adults and seniors, with a family four-pack at $50.50.

Phone 705-674-8381 for further information.

Heidi Ulrichsen

About the Author: Heidi Ulrichsen

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