When Chelsea Bunn began to plan her theater company Something for Nothing’s performance of William Shakespeare’s “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” she made a key decision: Crab the dog, a character played by an actor in other adaptations of the play, was going to be a real dog.
Starting Thursday when the play debuts at Ramsey Park, audiences will see an adoptable canine from a local rescue group tagging along with the actors during each performance.
And what will the dog be doing? “He has one cue – say nothing and wag his tail,” Bunn joked. “He’s mostly on a leash, just acting as a loyal companion to the servant Launce.” The duo is often regarded as a comic scene-stealer and a highlight of the play, she said.
There will be a different dog from Austin Dog Rescue each weekend, Bunn said, including Rose, a mixed breed who may have been one of the survivors of the Bastrop wildfires. Although she has an adoption application pending, a labrador mix named Bear and a pit bull terrier mix named Brooklyn will also play the role of Crab. They all come from an organization that fosters each animal before finding them homes, rather than placing them in shelters, a policy Bunn supports.
But there’s much more to “Two Gentlemen” than the supporting players of Crab and his master. The play, believed to be one of Shakespeare’s earliest, focuses on the occasionally foolish behavior of people in love and the challenges of two friends falling for the same person.
Something for Nothing, Bunn’s theater group that formed last year, puts on only Shakespeare’s plays, which she formed an appreciation for in college after participating in the University of Texas’ Shakespeare of Winedale program.
“(Shakespeare) stirred my interests because his works uniquely allow us to experiment and get creative in a way that is still a safe environment to take risks,” she said.
Wild Seeds at the Continental Club. After an initial five-year run nearly 30 years ago, Michael Hall and Co. are back, still not rocking you all night long. With the Astronaut Suit. 10 p.m. $7. 1315 S. Congress Ave. continentalclub.com/Austin.
— Peter Mongillo
Alejandro Escovedo at Shady Grove. KGSR’s Unplugged at the Grove series continues. 8 p.m. Thursday. Free. 1634 Barton Springs Rod. Additional free parking on Toomey Road behind Shady Grove and at Bicycle Sports Shop at Barton Springs Road and Lamar Boulevard. theshadygrove.com.
Also playing: Jimmy Buffett at the Austin360 Amphitheater; the Nightowls, Canned Beats at Frank; Feuding Fathers at Mohawk; Uncle Lucius, Patrice Pike at the Saxon Pub; Southbound Drive at Antone’s; New York City Queens with Equals, Residual Kid and Walker Lukens at Red 7; Horse Opera and Robert Banta y los cuatros fantasiticos at the White Horse; Taylor Baker Band, Falling Giants and the Ben Baxter Band at Holy Mountain; Friendly Savages and Matt A Foster at Stubb’s.
Theater & dance
“The Chimponauts & the Mechanical Phantom.” The production features puppetry movement, video and electric sound. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays, through May 18. $10-$30. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Road. 478-5282, www.vortexrep.org.
“HIT.” A Chick & a Dude Productions present Shannon Weaver’s play. Opens Thursday. $10-$25. Hyde Park Theatre, 511 W. 43rd St. 479-7530, www.hydeparktheatre.org.
“Telling: Austin, TX.” Central Texas veterans and their families perform their stories of service. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Free. Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St. www.thetellingproject.org.
“Passing Strange.” Half & Half Productions presents a genre-bending musical. Opens Thursday. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 6 p.m. Sundays, through May 12. $10-$45. The City Theatre, 6001 Airport Blvd. www.halfandhalfproductions.org.
“The Winter’s Tale.” Austin Shakespeare presents Shakespeare in the Park. Opens Thursday. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays, through May 26. Free. Zilker Hillside Theatre, 2201 Barton Springs Road. 470-4505, www.austinshakespeare.org.
“Austin Is a Place (You Are Here).” Theatre en Bloc presents a fable about progress. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays, through May 12. $12-$15. Mexitas Event Center, 1107 N. Interstate Highway 35. 522-4083, www.theatreenbloc.org.
“True West.” A production by Oh Dragon. 8 p.m.Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. $15. Magic Barn Fantastic, 2507 Willow St. www.ohdragontheatre.wix.com/ohdragontheatre.
Author appearance. Texas Monthly editor Erica Greider speaks and signs “Big, Hot Cheap & Right: What Americans Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas.” 7 p.m. Thursday. Free. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. 472-5050, www.bookpeople.com.
Events & programs
Full Service Circus. Circus acts, local food and more. Various events Thursday-Sunday; visit the event’s website for a schedule of events and ticket prices. www.fullservicecircus.com.
Pack the Zach Spring Cocktail Party. A benefit for the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas. 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday. $100. Zach’s Scott Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd. 323-0808, www.dsact.com/zach.
Portfolio 2013. The UT Dept. of Theatre & Dance presents an exhibition of work by emerging artists in costume design, lightning design, scenery, media and more. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Free. UT’s Oscar G. Brockett Theatre, 300 E. 23rd St. 471-5793, www.utexas.edu/finearts/tad.
American Whiskey Festival. Whiskey sampling and hors ‘doeuvres. 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday. $30. Opal Divine’s Penn Field, 3601 S. Congress Ave. 707-0237, www.opaldivines.com/2013-american-whiskey-festival.html.
Bikes & BBQ. A barbecue with Hops & Grain beer. 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday. Suggested $5 donation. Cycleast, 501 Pedernales, Building 2B. www.cycleast.com.
Cocktails for a Cause. A benefit for Planned Parenthood. 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday. $50. The Belmont, 305 W. Sixth St. 855-314-0799, www.plannedparenthood.org.
The Premier Crú. Wine and tastings by young local chefs. 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday. $5; RSVP in advance. CTC Garden, 1102 E. Cesar Chavez St. www.winefoodfoundation.org.
A Wild Night Out. A benefit for the Wildflower Center, featuring music, appetizers and a silent auction. 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday. $50. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. 232-0100, www.wildflower.org.
Central Texas Toy & Comic Expo. Features displays, guests from shows such as “The Walking Dead” and more. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. $15-$75. Embassy Suites San Marcos, 3101 S. Interstate Highway 35. www.centexexpo.com.
Chuy’s Hot to Trot 5K. The un-timed 5K and kids’ K benefits Special Olympics Texas. 7:45 a.m. Saturday. $13-$24. Chuy’s Arbor Trails, 4301 W. William Cannon Drive. www.chuys.com.
CitySolve Urban Race. An urban adventure race for teams of two to four. Noon Saturday. $50-$60. Lavaca Street Bar, 405 Lavaca St. www.citysolveurbanrace.com.
The Color Run. An adventure race with obstacles. 8 a.m. Saturday. $45-$50. Travis County Expo Center, 7311 Decker Lane. www.thecolorrun.com/austin.
‘Two Gentlemen of Verona.’
What: An outdoor production by Something for Nothing Theater.
When: Opens Thursday. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, through May 18.
Where: Ramsey Park, 4301 Rosedale Ave.
Correction: This version of the story corrects the name of the artistic director for Something for Nothing theater company.