Holly Twyford Directs GU Students in ‘Dog Act,’ a Post-Apocalyptic Comedy


Four-time Helen Hayes Award-winner Holly Twyford is directing Georgetown University students in the post-apocalyptic comedy ‘Dog Act,’ by Liz Duffy Adams, with performances running nine days only — today through next Saturday. 

Twyford, who performed in one of Duffy’s plays called “Or,” at the Round House Theatre in Bethesda, loves Duffy’s writing and called her “one of the great witty playwrights.”  

“Her use of language is so fascinating and fun,” she added.

The play marks the first chance Twyford worked with playwright and Georgetown professor Natsu Onada Power (who also serves as director of Georgetown University’s Davis Performing Arts Center).  “She’s terribly talented and really just a great out-of-the-box thinker,” Twyford said. “[A Dog Act] has just been the perfect new collaboration for us — it’s a fun play with a lot of heart.” 

Natsu Onado Power, PhD, director of GU’s Davis Performing Arts Center.

The characters in the show are almost vaudevillian and Twyford likes the message the show holds that when all else fails, you can still have great storytelling. 

Playscripts teases Duffy’s play with: “Post-apocalyptic wilderness was never funnier. Follow the adventures of Zetta Stone, a traveling performer, and her companion Dog (a young man undergoing a voluntary species demotion) as they wander through the former northeastern United States. Zetta, Dog and their little troupe are on their way to a gig in China, assuming they can find it… and survive the journey. A theatrical, darkly comic variation on the classic doomsday genre, with five original songs.”

‘Dog Act,’ a post-apocalyptic comedy by Liz Duffy Adams, is coming to GU for 9 days only. Courtesy Liz Duffy Adams.

When asked about any advice she’s given students — particularly in the often-tough world of performing arts — Twyford joked, “Often tough? I’d say always tough!” She tells students to figure out what their own version of success is and let that be your guide. “It’s not an easy career, to a certain extent it’s a career that chooses you and you’ll know when it does,” she added. 

Twyford, who has been out her entire career (and married for almost 30 years to her wife Saskia), spoke about being a part of the LGBTQ+ community. She mentioned having a conversation with a young member of the community, talking to them about how she was jealous because there are more opportunities out there than when she started years ago.  

She mentioned writer and activist Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” campaign. The campaign was geared toward high school students, particularly from small town America. “I said to that young person the other day who’s from a small town, that it does get better and you’re not alone,” she added. That is the key to remember — you are not alone. 

Twyford considers herself lucky to have grown up in a close-knit and loving family. While her parents were worried about her because (like many other parents of artists) they worried about how she would ever make a living.

She recalled when her father saw her in a show in college. He’d seen her in other plays, but it was the first he saw in a college setting. “I remember afterwards, he said ‘you reminded me of my mother in that last scene,’” she said. In the last scene, Twyford’s character died in her final moments. “When he said that, something about it was a blessing, like he all of the sudden understood,” she added. 

Her father went to every one of her performances until he passed away. Twyford’s mother continues to see her shows and is planning on going to see ‘Dog Act’ this weekend. 

‘Dog Act’ at Georgetown University Davis Performing Arts Center, runs Nov. 3 – 12. Tickets are available through Eventbrite here. 

 

 

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