Stephenson Tales

Chipper (AKA Dr. Chipper Lane)

Chipper LaneChipper is one of the two dogs that became active in the theatre. His most memorable performance was in A Midsummer Night's Dream. The character of Moonshine says to the audience, "...I, the man in the moon, this thorn bush, my thorn bush, and this dog, my dog."

Just before one performance, Chipper had a date down on 14th Street and was nowhere to be found. The actor came to me in a panic and asked me what he should do. Since the dog was only in that scene noted above, I replied, "Its very simple: Just change the punctuation! Bring on your empty leash and play as though the dog were there. Then read the line, 'I, the man in the moon, this thornbush, my thornbush, and this dog...' at which point look down and see that the dog is not there. Look around in bewilderment, pick up the leash and look at the empty clip, then look all around, and say plaintively, 'My dog!!??' meaning, 'He's not here! Where is he?'"

He did, and the audience never knew the difference of course. I'll bet the line was never read THAT way before!

Chipper was in one other show, On Borrowed Time, and when he saw Lucky and Evie in the front row, he leaped off the stage and jumped happily all over them. (As my mother used to say, "I left about that time.")

Chipper giving himself a good scratchOther than that performance in On Borrowed Time, which starred 12-year-old John, he was completely reliable.

Lucky's Note: Chipper was a wonderful family dog and was usually a good boy...but not always! One evening at Interlochen we were just about to begin eating a roast beef dinner when someone knocked at the door. We all went outside for a few minutes to speak with our visitor.

When we returned, the ENTIRE roast had disappeared, and Dr. Chipper Lane was lying on his back under the table with a huge, bulging belly and all four legs sticking out to the sides! I don't remember how our parents reacted, but we kids howled with laughter!

Composed 30 October 2008; Transcribed by Lucky

© Jim Bob Stephenson 2008

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