Talented Tika’s new role


Photo provided by @rjrdemondrama

A picture of Tika on the drama department’s instagram. Follow them for more!

Louisa Joyce, Staff Writer

    You might have seen him before in Reagan High School’s “Legally Blonde” as Bruiser but this year he is getting out of Kansas, and coming to the Emerald City at RJ Reynolds High School. As Reynolds is performing “Wizard of Oz” this upcoming March 16th-19th,  an infamously famous actress has captured the starring role of Toto. Rumors say this new actress is peculiar, that she is even a different breed from the rest of the cast. That is simply because the role of Toto is coming to life, being played by Tika!

    Technical theater teacher at Reynolds, Gretchen Hall, has willingly volunteered her dog Tika to play this vital part in the play.

   “Toto is important and you have to have, at least for part of the show, a real life dog,” Hall said. 

    When the role of Toto was announced, the cast was astonished as this was the last thing that they expected. 

   “I thought it was a big surprise because at first people were saying rumors like a kid would play the dog, but then everyone thought that was weird,” junior, Davis Churn playing Dorthy’s Uncle Henry and Guard of Oz said. “So then they found a dog and it was really exciting.”

   For Totos’ inseparable partner, Dorthy, the part is being played by Mckenize Clegg and Chloe Law, they were also very amazed at this unexpected announcement.

    “They hadn’t talked about it at all, at least not with us,” Clegg said. “So when the announcement came out, it was very surprising. I was very shocked and a little bit scared. That’s the last thing I expected to hear from the cast when it came out.”

    So far Tika is becoming comfortable with her co-workers, especially with Dorthy. 

    “I’ve only really worked with her once or twice, but she’s been around in class and rehearsal just so she can get comfortable with us,” Clegg said. “But she hasn’t been actually rehearsing with us much yet.” 

    To feel secure in her area, Tika is truly becoming a more authentic RJR demon as she is getting to know the campus.

    “I have a bed here,” Hall said. “I have a water bowl here. I bring a leash so she can go walking. She’s been to the office. She’s been to the arts building. She’s been all over the arts wing.”

    As a dog lover herself, Clegg is slowly finding a relationship with Tika in those rehearsals to build their connection. 

    “She’s very sweet,” Clegg said. “It’s a little hard to work with all the blocking and stuffing trying to train her but she’s such a sweet dog. So it’s not easy to be mad at her, you just fall in love with her.”

    Though Tika is a lover of people and her attractiveness brings everyone around her, sometimes it can take hold of her, as dogs will normally react to this attention. 

   “She has a bit of social anxiety,” Clegg said. “I will not lie. Every time you like to put her in someone’s arms she starts vigorously shaking. And it’s kind of sad to see but also just a little funny and I can’t help but laugh but I feel bad or the poor thing.”

    In all, it’s always a special time having Tika there and the cast is very grateful for having her. 

    “When she’s there, it’s like a really special time,” Churn said. “We get to like pass her around and each gets a turn interacting with her when we’re acting. One time we were running a really sad scene towards the end she started licking me. She is fairly good, especially when you have a lot of teenagers running lines, moving around the stage, like making a lot of noise. I was very surprised by how well she acted.” 

   Having Toto come to life is em-“barking” new ways of excitement into theater at Reynolds. Though high school isn’t the typical place for a dog, “There is no place like home than RJR”, as Tika would say.