The Dog Beneath the Skin

Playwrights: Christopher Isherwood and W. H. Auden

Director: William Packard

Cast: William Packard, Jess Osuna, James Cahill, Susan Carr, Justine Herman, Frederick Corke, Leigh Burch, Shirley Bodtke, Toby Bellin, Anne Fielding, Kathryn Howell, Rebecca Maiden, Fran Gerardi, Elizabeth Lindsay, Gary Swartz, Richard Gardner, Al Belfiglio, Justine Herman, Toby Bellin, Susan Carr, Andre Sedriks, Sam Waterston, Austin Pendleton, John Fink, Peter Bann, Margaret Sherman, Edward Morehouse, Naomi Riordan, Andre Serdiks, John McPeak, Kathryn Howell, Toby Bellin, Justine Herman, Richard Frey, Oliver Berg, Marlene Mancini, James Cahill, Brandwell Teuscher, Leticia Ferrer, Suzanne Grayson, Naomi Riordan, Rik Pierce, Oliver Berg, Kevin Bryan Conway, Stephen Levi, Al Belfiglio, Susanne Grayson, Shirley Bodtke, Kathryn Howell, Rebecca Maiden, Justine Herman, Susan Carr, Toby Bellin, Fran Gerardi and Elizabeth Lindsay

Recorder: Irven Rinard Assistant to Herbert Berghoff and Stage Directions: Marlene Mancini


The play describes the quest by the hero Alan Norman to find Sir Francis Crewe, the missing heir of Honeypot Hall in Crewe. The quest takes him on a satiric journey through Europe and England, accompanied by a large dog, who proves to be Sir Francis in disguise. Auden and Isherwood wrote two versions of the end of the play. In Isherwood’s version, which appears in the printed text, Sir Francis denounces the villagers and leaves to join a vaguely defined revolutionary movement. In Auden’s revised version, which was performed on stage, Sir Francis denounces the villagers and is killed.

The play is based in part on two earlier plays by Auden alone, “The Fronny”, written in 1930, and mostly lost except for a few fragments printed in the edition of Auden’s Plays listed below; and “The Chase”, written in 1934, and also printed in the edition of Auden’s Plays. Auden sent a copy of “The Chase” to Isherwood, who suggested revisions that eventually transformed the play into The Dog Beneath the Skin. In “The Fronny” the central character (who is referred to as “Fronny” in the surviving fragments) was apparently based loosely on the archaeologist Francis Turville-Petre, but the character of Sir Francis in The Chase and The Dog Beneath the Skin has no resemblance to Turville-Petre.