By Danielle Crean
“Count on Me: A Girl and Her Dog” depicts a year in the life of Brynne and her dog Prince. Although Brynne, played by writer Haley Grace, is lonely and regrets not having a significant other, she finds love and comfort in her canine companion. She compares dogs to people: although you can put on a façade for others, our pets see everything we hide from the world. Prince sees every tear and breakdown and, despite it all, loves her unconditionally, which is what Brynne says makes us different from dogs. They will always love you no matter what.
In a story with quite a bleak undertone, Brynne discovers she doesn’t need another person to make her happy. As months go by, she feels secure in knowing that things will turn out okay. The show involves several dog costume changes, and we get a glimpse of how much joy a pet brings us, especially on our loneliest days.
We see their life together in Brynne’s little Brooklyn apartment, as she enjoys her moments with Prince. She is panicked about a minor dog daycare incident, and feels worried about leaving him behind as she goes off to run a marathon. Her love and attachment will resonate with anyone who has ever owned a pet, as they automatically become a part of the family. Despite not having another human to come home to, she and Prince become a team. She depends on him as we do with our two‑legged family members.
After each moment, Brynne asks a bystander to take a photo of her and Prince. This prompts a discussion of what people must think when they see her Instagram account, which is just photos of her and her dog. Social media can make one feel disconnected. Would her Instagram followers think she’s lonely? Would they feel sorry for her if there isn’t a boyfriend or a husband in the photos beside her?
We spend so much time crafting perfect social media accounts and versions of ourselves for thousands of viewers online that we forget to enjoy moments when they occur. That is what Brynne’s year of self‑discovery shows her. At the end, she lets the right person find her when she’s not looking, when she least expects it. We come full circle as the show ends just as it began, around Christmas time. Brynne opens a present from someone she has been seeing, whom she met when she randomly asked him to take her photo. It is a calendar, so she may experience another year of love and discoveries.
“Count on Me: A Girl and Her Dog”
Written and performed by Haley Grace and Nickel
October 16th at 3:30 PM
Photo: courtesy of the production
2019 United Solo Theater Festival
410 West 42nd Street
New York City
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DANIELLE CREAN is an aspiring writer and editor living in Brooklyn, New York. She is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College with a degree in Communication Arts and Journalism. During her college career she was a writer and editor-in-chief for the Odyssey Online. She is also currently writing a novel based on her own personal experiences with mental health.