Arts News

‘Ruff!’ is a ‘tail’ of shelter dogs

Jenifer Nii’s Ruff!
to receive its world premiere at Plan-B Theatre
with six free public performances
as part of the inaugural Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival
Thurs., Aug. 6 and Fri., Aug. 7, 7:30pm
Sat., Aug. 8 and Sun., Aug. 9, noon and 1:30pm
Running time: 30 minutes
Sprague Branch of the City Library
2131 S. Highland Drive (downstairs), SLC
Free tickets available at the door, information at planbtheatre.org

Ruff!, created specifically for grades K-3, is a metaphorical “tail” of two shelter dogs. Axel (a shelter regular played by Tyson Baker) and Buddy (a shelter novice played by Latoya Rhodes). Together they discover what’s possible when dogs and their people learn to see past stereotypes and summon the courage to be the best they can be. Directed by Jerry Rapier.

Intermountain Therapy Animals will have dogs present at each performance. The use of therapy dogs, trained to interact with all humans calmly and equally, is to ensure that each human-canine interaction is a positive one.

Plan-B’s Free Elementary School Tour reaches more than 10,000 elementary students from Weber to Juab County — the tour of Ruff! is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Jenifer Nii’s plays Wallace (co-written with Debora Threedy), The Scarlet Letter and Suffrage each premiered at Plan-B, the latter two garnering back-to-back nominations for the American Theatre Critics Association/Steinberg Award for the Best New American Play Produced Outside New York. Jenifer spent a decade as a newspaper reporter after her university aspirations to be a concert pianist were thwarted by a pinky finger that snapped three times during a single Schumann sonata. She now trains dogs and writes plays, proudly calling Plan-B her creative home.

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