Reviews & Press

From, February 24, 2003

"Nobody Knows I'm a Dog" Review

by Carlo Fiorletta

There ain't too many people not touched by the internet. Keeping in touch is now more accessible than ever. Written in the mid 1990’s the quickly-paced Nobody Knows I’m a Dog features six talented actors playing six people who are at best average at acting their online wanna-be lives.

Each of the six stations for each person consists of a music stand with a computer keyboard, and a folding table, with stage properties describing the persona of the character. This is a relative masterpiece in minimalism as most of the characters are on stage most of the time.

The writing is quickly paced. Writer/Director Alan David Perkins (see can be compared to Woody Allen. He avoids talking head syndrome with normal business. The characters are well-developed. Blocking/placement of the stations allowed for good visibility from my chosen seat in the back row. The gender balance ( 50-50 online, 2/3 male in reality ) is entertaining. Even when it comes to buying clothing, sometimes what you see isn’t what you get.

Joel Silverman ( Phyllis/Phil) is the actor wannabe with an issue of Backstage on his portable table. Alan David Perkins (Horndog) munches snacks and drinks beer from his. Ray Bonétt ( Cheese, as in the Big Cheese ) parks his briefcase, Miriam P. Denu (Nadine) deals with her laundry basket. Erik H. Luers ( Plato ) has his book of quotations and spiderman doll. Sylvia Vinall ( Cutiepie ) is a dear with a little of that deer caught in the headlights look. She deals with her self-esteem. Some of the actors simple actions are handled very naturally and both acting and direction are to be commended.

This is a true ensemble piece. The actors balance well and humanize the internet relationship clichés: the married man meeting an unknowing single woman, the teenaged boy and the middle-aged woman, the gal who is really a guy, and the all-knowing horny guy.

The migration between email/chat/bulletin board environments is well handled. Production company. The only disappointment to me was the only face-to-face meeting was not shown on stage. ATM Productions is to be commended for the reality of pop-up ads and the quite readable computer screen above the actors’ heads.

I have heard someone call the internet the tool of the devil. I think it’s like any tool, like a knife. You can be productive with it, and feed yourself. You can be hurt. Like time spent online with a loved one, the time here passes quickly. Give it a try. Tear yourself away from that computer and that chat room and watch other people do it.

Excerpt from, February 25, 2003

"Nobody Knows I'm a Dog" Review

by Jeffrey Lewonczyk

Named for a now-seminal New Yorker cartoon featuring a canine at a computer stating that "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog," writer/director Alan David Perkins's play depicts six lonely people who create alternate personas in order to gain attention and respect on a singles newsgroup. Many of the ethical and emotional dilemmas surrounding this type of subterfuge have been more or less absorbed and accepted in the past seven years, but by taking this grain of salt and viewing the play as a mid-90s period piece, a big-hearted play about our thirst for illusion and companionship is revealed.

Our Six Characters in Search of an Other are: Phyllis, aka Phillip (Joel Silverman), an aspiring actor who couldn't get any attention with a male persona; Horndog (Perkins), an uncouth computer geek; a boorish New Yawk misanthrope named The Cheese (Ray Bonett); Nadine (Miriam P. Denu), a middle-aged housewife who pretends to be young; a misfit boy genius who calls himself Plato (Erik H. Luers); and finally, a sensitive loner who hides beyond the coquettish handle Cutiepie (Sylvia Vinall). They sit before their keyboards in all their unpolished glory, and the awkwardness and hesitation in their voices belie the tall claims they make for their virtual personalities. Much of the comedy comes from this disjoint, as well as from the barrage of Henny Youngman-esque groaners and insults the characters lob at one another.

Jumping from newsgroup to e-mail to chat room, the characters use their anonymity to pursue transactions and vent steam in ways they wouldn't imagine in real life. However, when one of the characters begins making cryptic statements revealing that he knows more than he lets on, suspicions begin to arise, and the group's sense of freedom is compromised. That this opportunity for suspense is never fully exploited, and that the somewhat pat ending is predictable from a long way off, both contribute to a sense that this show might have been more successful as a series of sketches than as a full-length play. But Perkins and his actors show much affection for their creations, and once you accept the odd conventions of time brought upon by the respective online formats and accompanying keyboard chatter there is some fun to be had. Of particular interest is the love-hungry Nadine's aggressive passes at the terrified Plato, who further distances himself from the situation by answering each advance with an appropriate quote from Bartlett's. Denu and Luers craft portrayals that are true, sad, and funny in all the right ways. (Also enjoyable is Bonett's Cheese, one of those loudmouthed jerks-turned-softies that you love to hate to love.)

All of this is far from cutting-edge, but with its simple production values, easy-to-like characters, and universal human longing for fantasy, it's easy to see why the play has been performed at community and regional theatres around the world. As the play itself is at pains to illustrate, everyone can relate to being a dog.

Excerpt from OOBR, November 26, 2002

Kibbles 'n' bits

by Doug DeVita

It was only a matter of time before Peter Steiner's highly popular 1993 New Yorker cartoon, which shows a dog sitting at a computer talking to another dog with the caption "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog," would be exploited in some theatrical format.

Nobody Knows I'm a Dog examines the lives of six people whose false personas and unrealized dreams are played out in the electronic world of Usenet Singles Newsgroups, E-mail, and Internet Relay Chat. Though the medium's anonymity has given them the courage to socialize, they eventually become undone when a "mole" reveals their true selves.

But while the idea is terrific, Perkins hasn't really written a play so much as a series of dialogues and monologues that connect with each other in the broadest possible way. Its ideas and characters are funnier in theory than presentation. With no set or staging to speak of (the characters are all seated in front of keyboards and rarely move from their assigned spots on the stage), there was very little to look at (Perkins also directed).

And then a strange thing happened. Despite the static presentation, the mawkishly sentimental writing, and the naïve, sweetly amateurish performances, a very real connection took place between audience, the performers, and the material. Their stories became intriguing, and finally irresistible. Even with the outcome predetermined from the start, it was still exhilarating to become a vicarious part of these peoples' lives, in part because despite their outright mendacity about themselves, they were basically very appealing human beings. And if the whole thing is not as satirically sharp as it wants to be, the points that Perkins makes do become salient ones, soft little pinpricks that ultimately sting with truth. Little moments resonated for hours afterwards: the pure machismo joy with which Peter Vrankovic's character attacked another; the wistful look on middle-aged Miriam P. Denu's face when she described herself to the teen-aged Erik H. Luers, neither of them knowing the truth; Luers's palpable excitement of teen-age discovery throughout; Joel Silverman's obvious discomfort with his on-screen persona; Ray Bonétt's reaction to his secret being revealed; and finally, the radiant Sylvia Vinall, who captured every tortured nuance of her character with both inner and outer beauty.

While Nobody Knows I'm a Dog is less than a perfect exploration of the power of the Internet to connect and disenfranchise at the same time (it is too sentimentally self-conscious for that), the very real emotions that make up its core make it an affecting, appealing, and even pleasant way to spend an evening.

Excerpt from BackStage.Com, November 25, 2002

"Nobody Knows I'm a Dog"

by Tom Penketh

Taking place among six chatters in an Internet newsgroup, "Nobody Knows I'm a Dog" scuttles across the lives of people who, for various reasons, all pretend to be something they're not. Phyllis (Joel Silverman), a NYC actor/word processor, plays a woman because no one responds to his posts as a man. Curmudgeonly Cheese (Ray Bonett) hides his failing marriage from sensitive gothgirl Cutiepie (Sylvia Vinall)--even after they meet in person. Nadine (Miriam P. Denu), a middle-aged mother, flirts aggressively with a Bartlett's-quoting teenager, Plato (Erik H. Luers), all the time not understanding his repeated reluctance for cybersex. Finally, Horndog's (Peter Vrankovic) fratboy posturing hides the biggest secret of all.

Perkins--who also directed--has created a likeable and diverse cast of characters who surprisingly, by play's end, feel like a group of old friends. The cast, of course, all breathe wondrous life into these people; in particular, Vinall and Bonett's scenes evoke real tenderness, Denu is wonderful as the fun-seeking housewife, and Vrankovic nicely walks the line between making Horndog boorish and sympathetic.

From the BAYSIDE TIMES, Thursday, October 25, 2001

Nobody Knows He's a Dog, Except the Audience

by John E. Thomas

“The theater world is a subculture,” says William Wolf, technical director and scene designer for The Colonial Players.

This month, TCP, which Wolf and his artistic director wife Sharon helped found in 1984, takes a look at another subculture by way of “Nobody Knows I’m a Dog,” a two-act comedy and the debut of playwright and Parkside Theater Group thespian Alan David Perkins.

Inspired by a New Yorker magazine cartoon depicting a dog surfing the ’Net on his master’s computer with the caption “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog,” the story explores the lives of six dysfunctional hackers. The comedy is set simultaneously at six home desks where its subjects have retreated from a world that seems to hold no place for their idiosyncratic personalities. The edges of each character’s stage, bedroom or home office blurs into the next, as eventually do the defensive strategies of each into one lonely subterfuge.

Hiding behind his proprietary screen name, “The Cheese” (Peter Bohlman) scoffs at the stupidity of members of his newsgroup as his at-home marriage erodes. He coaxes the insecure and self-effacing Cutiepie (Caroline Bonacci) — whose looks do everything except live up to her screen name — into a date. Sixteen-year-old Plato (Jason Zwick) communicates in a series of famous quotes drawn from a book in an effort to hide not only his youth, but the fact that he can’t even get along with people his own age. Nadine (Lin Cirelli) is the archetypical bored American housewife who attempts, ironically, to strike up a romance (complete with cyber sex) with Plato.

Horndog (Alain LaForest) is to eternal stud-ness what Nadine is to bored housewifery. He attempts to woo Phyllis (Joel Silverman) who is no woman at all, but a 30-year-old man frustrated by the lack of attention he gets online.

Through a series of chat room and private e-mail confrontations, each character is eventually revealed in truth to the group, and to himself or herself. A surprise infiltrator and grand impostor even surfaces in the end.

“Nobody Knows I’m a Dog” is thoroughly enjoyable. It has several things working for it: an able cast, streamlined dialogue that provides the action and tension needed by a play with no onstage movement, and good direction.

Starr, a veteran Colonial Players director, has coached a talented ensemble in the conversational delivery of rapid-fire dialogue. Her believable actors transport the audience through a maze of frustrated hopes and epiphanies.

Alan David Perkins has taken an honest and even optimistic look at the faceless intimacy forged from behind glowing computer screens across the country. His use of humor helps him avoid a maudlin view of society’s outcast and lonely.

Excerpt from the QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, October 18, 2001, Page 25

Comedy and Courtroom Drama on Tap In Comm. Productions

by Mark Lord

For it's 30th production, the Colonial Players has gone out on a limb with "Nobody Knows I'm a Dog," by local playwright Alan David Perkins.

Centered around the various ways people communicate on the Internet, the play turns out to be insightful, poignant and frequently quite funny.

The six characters, who sit at their respective computer terminals throughout most of the play's 90-minute running time, are exaggerated but recognizable.

For starters, there's "Horndog," the most intuitive of the group, who acknowledges that "nobody's who they say they are" and pronounces what is apparently the play's credo, "Being yourself is always the best thing to do.

"Cheese" is an older gentleman, schooled in psychology, but highly judgmental, thinking nothing of calling his computer acquaintances "Neanderthal."

We also meet "Cutiepie," a self-effacing young woman who "just exists," and, even in her fantasy world, describes herself in terms no more positive than "female, single and breathing."

"We all have problems and we all have reasons for hiding behind computer personas," says "Phyllis," actually a 30-year-old male who still lives at home and spends an inordinate amount of time playing with a mini-Slinky.

Then there's computer geek, "Plato," a 16-year-old genius who speaks in quotations and, understandably, has difficulty relating to those his own age.

Most memorably, thanks in large part to the delightfully expressive actress who portrays her, there is "Nadine," a bored housewife in bathrobe and rollers who positively blooms when engaged in her frequent online trysts.

Admittedly, Perkins goes to great lengths to drive home certain points, frequently reiterating each of the play's various morals.  But he does it with such good humor that it's not likely anyone will mind.

The production has been cast splendidly.  The entire ensemble works well as a unit, an especially rewarding achievement when there is so much rapid-fire interaction among the characters.

The six actors also stand out as individuals, none more so than Lin Cirelli, whose facial reactions alone are enough to make clear Nadine's every thought.

Young Jason Zwick, making his stage debut as Plato, is all wide-eyed wonder, conveying his character's nerdiness without resorting to stereotypical behavior.

Alain LaForest has a strong presence and is properly mysterious as Horndog; Joel Silverman, in perhaps the play's most challenging role, gets to the very heart of his alter-ego, Phyllis; Peter Bohlman, looks appropriately distinguished and maintains appropriately distant as Cheese (though he seemed hesitant on some of his lines) and Caroline Bonacci is necessarily mouse as the ironically-named Cutiepie.

The single-named director, Starr, has staged the work simply, utilizing the limited playing  area efficiently.  The pacing is maintained throughout.  The action is continuous.

From THE NEW YORK TIMES, December 14, 2000

Cartoon Captures Spirit of the Internet


NOTE: This is only an excerpt. Click HERE for the full article from the New York Times website.

By now, it's almost an old saying: "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." You can count on seeing it at the start of plenty of articles on Internet privacy and anonymity.

The sentence, which originated as a caption to a New Yorker cartoon, has slipped into the public consciousness, leaving its source behind. So it's just as accurate to say that on the Internet, nobody knows that you coined a phrase.

That particular sentence was originated by Peter Steiner, a regular contributor to the magazine since 1980. He wrote it as the caption for his July 1993 single-panel cartoon showing a dog sitting at a computer talking to another dog.

"I feel a little like the person (whoever it is) who invented the smiley face," Mr. Steiner wrote via e-mail. The cartoon didn't receive much attention at the time, but interest has grown over the last seven years, and the saying has become practically an industry of its own.

The panel is the most reproduced cartoon from The New Yorker, according to Robert Mankoff, the magazine's cartoon editor and the president of the Cartoon Bank, an affiliated division that handles reprints, licensing and merchandising of New Yorker art. Mr. Mankoff said the cartoon had been reprinted hundreds of times. It is also available as a framed print and as a T-shirt via the Cartoon Bank's Web site.

The caption appears in its original and modified forms ("nobody" is often rendered as "no one") on thousands of Web and print pages. The search engine produces more than 103,000 potential matches. The saying is often cited as "that old phrase" or "the adage."

It even inspired the play "Nobody Knows I'm a Dog," by Alan David Perkins, which is about chat room participants and has had a dozen North American productions. When told in a telephone interview that the phrase had turned up in a play, Mr. Steiner said, "It's shocking to me to hear that, but still I can't quite fathom that it's that widely known and recognized."

Mr. Steiner said no publication had ever interviewed him before about the panel. "People treat cartoons as though they come from somewhere out in space," he said. "Whenever you see articles or books, they name the author. When you see a cartoon, you see the place it appeared in." Readers may see the signature in the cartoon but remember and cite only the publication.

Although Mr. Steiner knew about the Internet and had an account at an online service when he created the cartoon, he wasn't particularly focused on the Net. "I did the drawing of these dogs at the computer like one of those make-up-a-caption contests," he said. "There wasn't any profound tapping into the zeitgeist. I guess, though, when you tap into the zeitgeist you don't necessarily know you're doing it."

"It's become an icon," Mr. Mankoff said. "It provokes a response. It's chunked in memory." The original of the cartoon was sold before it became popular for a sum so small that he doesn't remember it, Mr. Steiner said.

When Mr. Steiner was asked if people would still be citing his cartoon in 50 years, he replied, "Isn't that horrifying — to think that's the thing I'll be remembered for?"

From the ROUND ROCK LEADER, Thursday, March 22, 2001, Page 6A,

Perkins’ ‘Nobody Knows I’m a Dog’ is a witty, thoughtful look at Internet Relations

by Mark Nichols

Eluding one's true nature is a comedic tradition that has been utilized for centuries. From the gender-bending farces of Shakespeare to the more dramatic concealment of Cyrano de Bergerac, writers have utilized misrepresentation of identity to ridicule both the perpetrator of the fraud and the assumptions of his audience.

The Sam Bass Community Theatre follows this lineage with a fine new production entitled “Nobody Knows I'm A Dog.” The two-act play directed by Kyle Evans and written by Alan David Perkins continues with three more performances this weekend. The Friday and Saturday night shows begin at 8 p.m., while the Sunday matinee starts at 2 p.m.

The Internet, while a tremendous technological breakthrough that gives humans an unprecedented communication tool, offers its users an alternate method of concealment. The thrill seeker, the lonely and the socially awkward can hide in the isolation of their own room with little or no risk of being discovered. Perkins mines these possibilities to wonderful comedic effect using a cast of six web surfers searching for a way to connect to other people.

Setting the play in an Internet chat room is both a clever device and a challenge for Perkins. On one hand, the physical distance between the characters gives them a greater degree of anonymity and a wider latitude in their choice of assumed identities. At the same time, this separation prevents Perkins from leaning on the cliched crutches that can almost guarantee a cheap laugh. Instead of squeezing a hairy, burly man into an ill-fitting dress, Perkins fills the play with witty banter to amuse the audience.

In fact, unlike most comedies, the character's appearance in "Nobody Knows I'm A Dog", is a more accurate barometer of their true character than the language they use to perpetuate an alternate identity. In the confines of a chat room, a dowdy, unassuming woman can realistically present herself as a seductive temptress. Through the magic of e-mail, a pimply-faced kid can masquerade as a sophisticated intellectual.

Just as the location of the play presents some obstacles for the writer, the setting poses some difficulties for the director and the actors as well. With razor sharp timing and subtle gestures, the cast circumvents these potential problems to create a lively and entertaining atmosphere. As each member of the cast is stranded on their own cyberspace island staring into their own monitor, the actors have only verbal cues to use to interact with each other. Instead of succumbing to these limitations, director Evans and his cast utilize them effectively.

Veteran Community Theatre member Frank Benge is front and center with his portrait of Phillip, an aspiring actor who soon realizes that he can garner much more attention on the Net by pretending to be a woman. Using the moniker Phyllis, Phillip immediately is inundated with responses to his postings. While the attention is at first appealing, Phillip soon discovers that he's not too comfortable with the idea of being construed as a woman. To illustrate this point, Benge is a study of pent up frustration. His face is often contorted in a pained expression as he responds to questions that he knows he must answer dishonestly. Aghast at suggestive language from other male correspondents, he's clearly uncomfortable with the identity that he's created for himself.

Plato (William Storie) is a young computer geek who uses the Net as a substitute for interaction with real people. A 16- year-old whiz kid, Plato desperately wants to impress the other Net users with his intellectual capacity. To this end, he keeps a book of quotes close at hand and recites everyone from Goethe and Emerson to W. C. Fields and Katharine Hepburn. When another member of the chat room becomes a bit too close for comfort, Storie does a wonderful imitation of a nervous nerd anxiously trying to keep his composure. With his voice cracking and his knees knocking, Storie is a clumsy delight.

The most pivotal role of the play belongs to Horndog (Dave Butts). He's a savvy operator whose attitude is indicative of his New Jersey background. He presents himself as a dumb, foul-mouthed lout, but soon his insightful tidbits concerning the other chat room members bring him under suspicion.

A bored, middle-aged housewife named Nadine (Catherine Rendahl) is simply looking for a little excitement. Dressed in her pajamas with her hair in curlers, she rejoices in the 'safe sex' of the Internet as a means to escape the tedium of her everyday life.

The last two members of the cast, Cheese and Cutiepie (Andy and Renee Brown) are a bit more somber in their motives. Cheese, a social worker in the midst of a divorce, vents his rage by bludgeoning the other participants with his caustic wit. While Cutiepie, a sweet tempered peace maker, uses the Net as a way to communicate without subjecting herself to her own perceived inadequacies.

"Nobody Knows I'm A Dog" is a clever, funny play that pokes fun at self identity and self worth. By removing the physical restraints and prejudices of face-to-face communication, the Net offers new possibilities of deception. "Nobody Knows I'm A Dog" displays the humor in this art with animated joy.

From THE TUSCALOOSA NEWS, June 3, 2000, Page 3B

'Dog' brings poignancy and humor to stage

by Mark Hughes Cobb

Fans of "Survivor" and "The Real World" can get close-up voyeuristic jollies from "Nobody Knows I'm a Dog."

The Second Stage production of University of Alabama graduate Alan David Perkins' "" utilizes lots of offhand business to suggest folks snuggled in at home while living an ethereal life of the mind as an Internet presence.

Characters flop down in easy chairs, polishing toenails; fold laundry while gazing at the monitor; throw themselves down on the floor to study a chessboard; casually wipe on cold cream while wearing the kind of socks you likely wouldn't parade outside your house.

Director Charles Prosser and his cast do a lot of these little things right and cleverly, adding layers of humor and poignancy to these sad outcasts.

One attempted cybersex seduction places half of the couple in a negligee, setting up candles and wine; the object of her affection treads on stage in Pooh slippers.

Perkins' "NKIAD" is a farce of sorts, in that comic (and semi-tragic) misunderstandings arise from mistaken identities.

What's different: No slamming doors and no one catching anyone in their underwear -- at least not physically. The six characters relate in cyberspace via a singles newsgroup on the Internet (and later via e-mail and Internet chatting).

By the way, Internet newcomers or those completely ignorant of the Web shouldn't fear getting lost in lingo. The play makes it plain and simple, for the most part, although a couple of lights-out moments muddy the passage of time.

Basically these six -- using the names Horndog (Trent McCool), Phyllis (Travis Webb), Cheese (Wescott Youngsen), Nadine (Karen Konzen), Plato (John McCurnin) and Cutiepie (Brandi Pullin) -- are a lonely and confused bunch, looking to the Internet to lend them the anonymity they think they need to connect.

Of course, it's not as simple as that, but like farce, the twists are best revealed in the telling.

Happily, there's a lot of good work up there, even though the Second Stage players won't be as familiar to Theatre Tuscaloosa patrons. It bodes well for the future and hints at the untapped wells of local talent.

Prosser keeps his actors energized and utilized -- it's far too easy to imagine 'Net geeks sitting quietly at the boards a prospect as deadly dull as watching a journalist at work.

There are a couple of different intensity levels at work here, whether intentional or not.

Konzen is full of bouncy charm, and you can practically see the cartoon-style gulps clogging McCurnin's throat. Youngsen rolls his eyes and pulls his hair as if performing Grand Guignol.

And these things work, especially on comic levels. It's easy to give in to such out-there performances, and they're all appealing actors.

However, they're working as though someone was watching, while, the conceit suggests, they should be more purely themselves at home.

The subtler moments enacted by McCool, Webb and Pullin are braver choices, less showy, more likely to register as familiar home-alone time.

Pullin also likely kept her face less expressive to underscore the character's supposed unattractiveness.

The actor as blank slate may be less initially appealing, but the simplicity draws you in: What's going on in his/her head? Who is this, really?

Those questions come closer to the thrust of the show.

One of the characters breaks the wall completely and switches into another personal, which once again would give away a nice twist of the plot to reveal, but let's just say it's an interesting turn.

There are a few problems with that third-wall break. the address to the audience, explaining ... something ... is a little too broad. If the audience was paying attention at all, the explanations are unnecessary.

It's a charismatic turn, hard to take your eyes from, but the character comes across smug and snotty, which I don't think was the playwright's intention.

The actors as a whole seem solid on the premise but maybe don't always live the nature of the dualities as much as act it.

There's a pivotal irony in the line "Complete anonymity will be assured" that I don't think completely registered. Another key moment of quiet sadness missed its beat, probably because of the energy imbalance on stage.

In some ways, this production skims over the questions at the heart of the play.

But "NKIAD" isn't likely to cause anyone to rethink the meaning of human touch anyway, so much as raise questions about the face we present to the world as opposed to that we reveal in secret, and that's done nicely.

From the ANAHEIM HILLS NEWS, March 16, 2000

"Internet Relationships the Focus of "Nobody Knows"

Chance Theater production examines technology's impact on relationships

by Zaheera Wahid

Six individuals sit behind computer keyboards and false identities in the production of "Nobody Knows I'm a Dog" at the Chance Theater in Anaheim Hills. Directed by Aubrey Hartman, the play focuses on how technology impacts social interaction.

The plays author, Alan David Perkins, questions whether the gap the Internet is supposed to close is actually widening. "Each piece of technology seems to (push) people further apart," said Hartman. "The message we wanted to get across was that it's time to stop hiding behind technology." The performance revolves around six very different characters who believe they need to put on a façade to be accepted into the online community.

Marsh Collins plays Nadine, a middle-aged woman with children. Eileen Dreger is Cutiepie, who in reality is not as adorable as her names implies. Christian Webb plays Horndog, a sexually-driven man without much of a brain or so it seems. Chris Ceballos plays Phyllis, aka Phil, who turns into Phyllis when he realizes that no one wants to talk to Phil. Gene Desrochers plays Cheese, the undercover social worker who upsets people with his hostility and obnoxious comments. Josh Gilman plays Plato, the 16-year-old brainiac who speaks only in quotes.

As the story progresses, the audience sees the characters evolve into who they really are, no matter how hard they try to hide it. Audience members begin to discover that many of the characters are on the Internet because they don't feel accepted socially in daily life. They have trouble communicating with others and use the Internet to avoid personal interaction.

"Human emotions pop up no matter how hard we try to hide them," said Hartman. The play does an excellent job demonstrating that. It also shows that once people learn to accept who they are, the Internet suddenly does not hold the same appeal.

The playwright and direction are very clever and witty as they slowly draw in the viewer. "I was very pleased with the way it turned out," said Hartman. "It was a good script and the lighting design was excellent." The lighting design added an element to complement the themes of the play. On the Internet, the characters are all, in a way, dark. And as their true personalities appear, the light grows brighter.

Entertainment Headlines - KUNR
10/29/98 - Script by Jack Neal

For Oct. 30, 1998 KUNR - FM

Welcome to "Entertainment Headlines," your guide to northern Nevada's dynamic world of live entertainment. I'm Jack Neal, KUNR-FM's roving critic, letting you know each week what's hot - and occasionally what's not - on the coming week's performing arts scene.

Holding center stage this week is Gothic North Theater Company's "Nobody Knows I'm a Dog," one of the best new plays I've seen locally and one of the most entertaining community theater productions Reno audiences have had the pleasure to see in years.

"Nobody Knows I'm a Dog," which is playing at the Gothic North Theater in northwest Reno, is a delightful new play by little known playwright Alan David Perkins. Perkins's witty play is being given an engaging and fast-paced production by six remarkable actors, and a young director, John Randall, who knows what he's doing. Randall's actors not only breathe life into Perkins's funny and entertaining script, but they lean on one another emotionally for - as the old show business cliché goes - a roller coaster ride of pathos and laughs.

That the play's pathos never stoops to bathos is one of this production's major pluses. Perkins's script runs somewhat out of gas during the play's denouement, but not enough to spoil a tidy, pleasant and most entertaining almost two hours of theater.

The gimmick for "Nobody Knows I'm a Dog" is that it's an Internet play: Six characters in search of a life in some singles chat room using their computers as masks for who they really are. Perkins sets them up in their private worlds of illusion, then shocks them away from their keyboards into reality for a new and not bad look at the way life really is.

Phillip, who's online signature is Phyllis - because nobody paid any attention when he was just a Phillip, is played by Paul Malikowski. Malikowski plays the trapped-in-cyberspace Phillip as a slyly lonely figure more interested in being noticed than found out.

Nadine is a middle-aged housewife looking for kicks rather than kids. On-line she's a Mrs. Robinson. At home she's just bored. Kristina Pfaff-Harris is terrific at playing both with a human dimension that makes her the play's most endearing character. Pfaff-Harris gives a wonderfully modulated performance.

Billy, or Plato as he's known on-line, is the kid on this cyberspace block. Plato is filled with quotes and self-doubt. The fact that he's 16 and gets hooked up with a sexually deprived Nadine is but one of "Dog's" many hilarious twists. Kid actor Gregory Robertson, who speaks with a studied cleverness, is excellent.

Kathleen Sharkey, whose on-line name is Cutiepie, gives the most moving performance of this tight-knit cast. Sharkey's Cutiepie is as vulnerable as she's together. Sharkey gives the play it's emotional jump start and she's terrific.

As the cast's most caddish member, Cheese is his on-line moniker. Kenneth Ostrom does an extraordinary job of mirroring our more unattractive dark side. It's Cheese's job not so much to control the audience's point of view as to try to control the way people see themselves.

Playing Horndog, Steve Pearson is the interloper of the group. Pearson's one liners are delivered with the accuracy of a deadly laser beam, and - at least temporarily - have pretty much the same effect on anyone who gets in his way.

All give excellent performances, performances which blend wonderfully under Randall's first- rate direction. The production's a simple set is more than adequate to the play's demands. The use of on-screen projections provided by Great Basin Internet is a nice visual touch (and a wonderful way to prompt actors - none of whom, in this case, need prompting).

Perkins's play has passion, humor and urgency. It's the humor that I liked best, with everything else coming in a very close second. For the record it's worth noting - it was nice to see these actors and this play. It would be a treat to see them all again.

From the LAKE COUNTY RECORD-BEE, Friday, June 26, 1998

"Nobody Knows I'm a Dog" Debuts Tonight

by Kathy Johnson

You'll be enjoying several "firsts" if you attend one of the three performances of "Nobody Knows I'm a Dog" opening tonight at the Soper-Reese Community Theater. Written by Alan David Perkins, it is the first play to be produced in the newly-renovated theater and for many it will be your first trip into cyberspace. You'll love the charm of this original "Internet play" directed by Frank Perry with a cast of veteran actors and new members of the Lakeport Community Players, an auxiliary of the arts council.

Seen at a special preview performance, this two-act play tickled the fancy of this reviewer and keeps one on their toes as it unfolds. This is bound to be a brand-new experience for many not yet familiar with the computer world, but due to the fine acting of the six cast members, the world of cyberspace will come alive for you. The staging of this play is in itself a trip, a very humorous one that is sure to evoke laughs and giggles throughout.

The cast members display their fine acting abilities from the opening E-mail to their joint chat-room and include veteran actors James Colford as Phyllis and Hank Porter as Cheese. Also cast is Linda Guebert as Nadine seen recently in "Carousel." All three are excellent choices and generate their professionalism throughout. Ken Kysely, assistant director, acts as a narrator to intro the play acts and scenes.

Three new members of this theater group include newcomers Patrick Colford as Plato, a teen-age computer nerd, and Catherine Biasccio as Cutiepie. Both add a youthful glow to this already shining cast. Another newcomer to the play is Norman "Wink" Wincler, a veteran of more than 60 community theater productions. Illness kept this cast member from appearing at this special preview, but his spot was most ably filled by Tom Gilliam, known in the play as Horndog.

Theatergoers are surely in for a treat when they attend this fast-moving production with the revelations of all six cast members blending into an evening of fun and cyberspace. It will enhance your knowledge of the computer world and at the same time give your funny bone a workout. You'll be able to see what can happen "on line" and why more join the computer world daily.

From the QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, July 17, 1997, Page 24

Life on The Internet Portrayed In "Nobody Knows I'm a Dog"

by Liz Rhoades

If you're curious about the Internet and who surfs it, be sure to see Parkside Players' Production of "Nobody Knows I'm a Dog" in Forest Hills.

Local Queens playwright Alan David Perkins received two awards for his script and it's easy to see why. It's topical, clever and well written.

The title refers to a New Yorker cartoon showing a dog sitting at the computer telling another dog in the room "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog."

You don't have to be an online expert, Internet junkie or even own a computer to enjoy this witty, yet poignant play.

It's about people, lonely people, with such screen names as Cheese, Plato, Horndog and Cutiepie. Just who are hiding behind these noms d'Internet will intrigue you. You may even identify with one or more of the characters as the play unfolds.

Once again, the Parkside Players excels in creating a clever and interesting set with all six Interneters on different levels surrounded by props that highlight the character's personalities.

Director John Snyder deserves praise for the smooth flowing action of his performers as they talk with one another over the Internet. The audience is let in on the action and reaction of these lonely hearts who communicate in a way that was unheard of just a few years ago.

All six members of the cast are excellent in their roles. Ken Anders as Phyllis longs to be noticed but on what terms? His inner battle is reflected in his somewhat vague Internet messages.

The character of Horndog is portrayed by Jim Burns. He is the catalyst with a macho mouth and quick repartee but he may not be what he seems. Appearances on the Internet can often be deceiving, as this play reveals.

Ray Bonétt as Cheese comes on like gangbusters with a foul, nasty mouth and antisocial behavior. His turnaround is both believable and ultimately admirable.

STARR (yes, that's her full name and she prefers all capital letters) portrays middle-aged housewife Nadine, bored and looking for a little excitement. She gets more than she bargained for when she hooks up with Plato.

Special mention must be made of Kevin Schwab who plays the geeky teenager Plato. To mask his age, Plato tries to hide behind famous quotations he uses as replies on the Internet. Schwab, 15, does a masterful job in this role -- showing both the intelligent and inexperienced sides of his character.

Shana Aborn as Cutiepie is a sweet, caring character who reflects the conscience of the group. Supposedly unattractive, her sweetness and decency shine through for all to see.

Despite disappointments and rejections, the characters ultimately reveal their true selves to each other and are better for it.