We’ve been all abuzz here at the University of Pittsburgh Stages, because the newest addition to the cast of Curse of the Starving Class (click for tickets)has finally arrived: say hello to Charlie , a one-week old lamb born on a farm right outside of Pittsburgh.
Sam Shepard calls for a living lamb to appear on stage as part of his play, so little Charlie here will be making his big stage premiere when we open this Friday, April 3.
Charlie was only two days old when he started rehearsals (by far our youngest actor to date)! Although Charlie is only going to appear a small amount of time on stage in a playpen, he will still have a huge impact on the audience as well as the production.
The rest of the cast were thrilled to welcome Charlie. During rehearsals, the owners of the petting zoo take care of him when he isn’t onstage. Charlie is still in the newborn stage and receives plenty of bottled milk. Already, Charlie has been a pleasant addition to the cast and creates positive energy in the space.
Luckily for us, training a newborn lamb is easier than we though. Sheep are domesticated animals and have been since 11,000 BCE. And since Charlie was born in a petting zoo , he’s been interacting with humans since he first came into this world. So meeting the cast was no big deal.
The main part for Charlie was getting accustomed to the set and his surrounding in the Heymann Theatre. By the time we open, Charlie will be familiar with his surroundings, the people, and all the lights and sounds of the show.
Although Charlie is being familiarized with the production prior to the premier, he is still a living animal doing live theatre and well, as director Cynthia Croot puts it, “Things happen.”
Croot is well aware of mishaps that might happen during production with a live animal and she’s prepared for every unintended situation that might take place. For example: messes on stage or noises that could draw the audience’s attention and shift focus during the show. Both Charlie and the rest of the cast and crew are well prepared.
After production ends it’s run, Charlie will continue his career entertaining and educating the public at the Barnyard Petting Zoo in Eighty Four, PA.
See more photos of Charlie and the rest of the cast on our Instagram.