It’s dog eat dog as the hunt for Toto heats up

Sarah Green and Luna

Sarah Green and Luna

LOCAL dog owners flocked to an audition with a difference on Sunday as part of Enniskillen Light Operatic’s (ELO) hunt for Toto for their Christmas show. 
The ‘Dogdition’ at St Michael’s Community Centre saw 20 assorted species and their owners showing up to see which pooch had what it takes to star in an exciting new production of The Wizard of Oz.
“We were looking for a friendly, well trained dog who would interact well with our actors, not be easily distracted , and not bite the children,” says John McCann who is co-directing the must see show for the Enniskillen Light Operatic Society.
“We also needed a dog and owner who can commit to rehearsals and the performance schedule.”
Tensions were high before the dog eats dog shoot-out to secure the canine role of a lifetime. Straining at the leash owner Elaina Ellis believed her best friend, eight-year-old pug Sascha would walk the part because she “loves people, socialising and she’s cute.” 
There were no bones about it for Sarah Green who declared five month old cockapoo Luna should win because “she’s very good at witch hunting.” Sandra Fallis thought her 18 month old Bischon Freis Bella would make an ideal Toto since she’s “friendly and used to children” while seven year old Sarah Walsh admitted her mini Jack Russell terrier Rascal had no witch hunting experience, but added: “She’s very good at hunting cats and parrots.”
In the original Oz books author Frank Baum didn’t state Toto’s breed but described him as “a little black dog with long silky hair and small black eyes that twinkled merrily on either side of his funny, wee nose.”  
In the film Toto was played by a female brindle Cairn Terrier. Her real name was Terry and she was paid £125 each week – far more than the actors who played the Munchkins.
Back in Enniskillen 2016 the Dogditions started with a meet and greet session to establish chemistry, then progressed to finding out how the dogs dealt with basic commands, coped with an audience, and most importantly, making sure the next canine superstar can interact with Dorothy, played by local actor Niamh Carney.
The standard of behaviour displayed by all the dogs was incredibly high. So high in fact that the directors have been forced to paws for thought and delay announcing the name of the lucky winner.
The production opens at the Ardhowen Theatre on 1st December and runs for 11 shows.

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