Play # 62: Inside the Dog

The play is set in a rehearsal hall, where a young director is guiding two actors, a man and a woman, through a tiny haiku-like play called Inside the Dog. 
I first heard the joke—around which this ambitious play is constructed—from a friend named Geoff Webster, at a coffee shop here in Napanee.  He says he heard it from some woman he knows.  

Director:  Alright, Lawrence, you turn now to Nadine and deliver the first line of the joke.

Lawrence (muttering darkly): This stupid joke.

Director (irritably):  Never mind that, just say the line.

Lawrence:  “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.”

Director (pleased):  And now, Nadine, you reciprocate by delivering the second line of the joke to Lawrence.

Nadine (muttering darkly):  This dumb joke.  Ibsen never wrote anything this silly.  Nor Beckett neither!

Director (impatient):  Never mind, just say the line.

Nadine (reluctantly, lifelessly):  “And inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read anyway.”

Director (giggling):  Great! 

Lawrence (frustrated): How do you get inside a dog?  Nobody’s ever been inside a dog!

Nadine (to Lawrence, in her smarmiest, least helpful manner):  Jonah ended up living inside a whale!

Lawrence (at the end of his rope):  But a dog is too small to get inside of!!

Director (to Lawrence, gently):  I think perhaps you’re being too literal, Lawrence.  It’s really just a little play on words.

Nadine (with brutish decisiveness):  You’re so stupid, Lawrence!

Lawrence (outraged):  Oh yeh, well let’s see you try to crawl inside of a dog!  And you’d have to carry a book too! You won’t think it’s so damned funny then!

Director (soothingly): Lawrence, it’s just language!

Lawrence (furious):  You don’t say!!