Screwing up your big scene on stage with Dame Helen Mirren once might be forgivable. Twice is definitely pushing it. But sixteen times? Yeah, you shouldn’t be surprised when you’re told to not let the door hit you on the way out.
But in this case that door would actually be a doggie door.
Mirren has returned to one of her most popular roles — Queen Elizabeth II — in The Audience, a play about the Queen’s relationships with her multiple prime ministers during her ongoing lengthy reign. It reunites Mirren with writer Peter Morgan, who wrote The Queen, which featured Mirren in an Oscar-winning role as Elizabeth. Naturally that makes the play one of the hottest tickets in West End this season, though that hasn’t inspired Lizzy, a seven-year-old corgi who plays one of Elizabeth’s dogs, to play her small part in the show correctly.
Lizzy’s first three performances went as planned. However, during the following sixteen straight preview performances, Lizzy was able to enter the scene and walk offstage but would not respond to Mirren calling her on stage. However, another corgi in the play, a five year-old named Rocky, had no problem answering Mirren’s call. Lizzy was replaced by another corgi, Coco, who performed her part perfectly alongside Rocky after just twenty minutes of rehearsing.
Director Stephen Daldry joked about Lizzy’s stubbornness, saying, “She was excited the first three times, and then I think she decided she didn’t want to be an actress any more. She decided to retire from the British stage. Now she’s back home, a resting actress, resting by the fire.” Lizzy is indeed at home with her owner Mary Davey, who also owns Rocky and Coco.
The corgis’ trainer, Des Jordan, believes Lizzy’s issues with the scene are a result of her age. During performances he waits in the wings with treats for the dogs, and Rocky’s youth gave him a competitive edge. He explains, “Because Lizzy was older, she was not as fast as Rocky, so he was first to the treats. There may have been a bit of jealousy involved.”
In fact, because the scene with the corgis is popular with audiences, producers are planning to add another scene to the play featuring an animal despite the issue with Lizzy. However, that scene will feature a grey pony named Emily. Why don’t the producers just go ahead and start a post-show petting zoo while they’re at it?
via The Telegraph