Tom Stoppard Dogg's... & Cahoot's...

by Tom Stoppard

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In Cahoot's Macbeth, Cahoot is a censored writer and the only one of the Macbeth actors who initially speaks Dogg. When the inspector confronts the actors, Cahoot, who has, up until that point, played Banquo in their production of Macbeth, now acts like he has turned into a dog. He barks at the inspector and then speaks to him in Shakespearean language, but the inspector tells him to talk straight. When Easy arrives speaking in Dogg, Cahoot is the only one who can translate. Although the play was dedicated to the censored writer, Pavel Kohout, Stoppard claims that Cahoot is not Kohout.


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In Dogg's Hamlet, Dogg is the school's headmaster, who oversees the setup for the school's play, Dogg's Hamlet. When Easy first meets Dogg, Easy wishes him good afternoon, which is an insult in Dogg, the language named after the headmaster. As the play progresses, Easy inadvertently gets on the bad side of Dogg several more times when Baker and Charlie create a wall of letter-blocks, which spell out insults in Dogg. However, Easy does not realize these words, which are harmless in English, are insults. As a result, he is very surprised when Dogg repeatedly throws Easy into the wall, knocking it down and prompting the students to use the letter blocks to create new insults. In the Hamlet production, Dogg speaks the prologue. Dogg's Hamlet is dedicated to Ed Berman and Inter-Action Productions, a play group that performed many of Stoppard's plays. In the play, Berman is represented by Dogg.

Other Characters

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In Dogg's Hamlet, Abel is one of three schoolboys who helps set up the production of Hamlet and acts in it. Abel is the boy who receives the most abuse in the play. In the beginning, the headmaster, Dogg, catches Abel playing with a football while they are setting up for their play and hits him for goofing off. When Easy, the lorry-driver, arrives, Abel and the others do not understand Easy's English and respond to him in Dogg. As a result of this language confusion, Abel does not hand Easy the right building materials when they are constructing the platform on the stage, and Easy takes his frustration out on Abel by hitting him. In the Hamlet production, Abel and Baker play guards.

In Dogg's Hamlet, Baker is one of three schoolboys who helps set up the production of Hamlet and acts in it. With Abel's help, Baker helps set up the microphone on the stage. When the boys do not understand Easy's English, Baker tries to speak to Easy in Shakespearean English, borrowing one of the lines from their production of Hamlet. Baker and Charlie are the ones who initially build the letter-block wall on stage, spelling out insulting words in Dogg, which gets Easy in trouble. In the Hamlet production, Abel and Baker play guards.

In Dogg’s Hamlet, Charlie is one of three schoolboys who helps set up the production of Hamlet and acts in it. Baker and Charlie are the ones who initially build the letter-block wall on stage, spelling out insulting words in Dogg, which gets Easy in trouble. In the Hamlet production, Charlie plays Ophelia and wears a dress over his shorts.

The lorry-driver, Easy, is the only character who is present in both Dogg's Hamlet and Cahoot's Macbeth . In the former play, Easy, who works for Buxton's Deliveries, delivers a load of building materials to the school where the headmaster, Dogg, and three of his students, Abel, Charlie, and Baker, are getting ready to put on a play. Easy tries to...

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speak to them in English, but they only speak Dogg, so he becomes very confused. Dogg sets them all to work building a platform on the stage. Easy gives instructions in English, which the schoolboys take for their Dogg equivalent, so Easy gets very confused when the building does not go the way he has planned. In addition, the schoolboys play a prank, rearranging the letter blocks of the play's title to say insulting things in Dogg—which happen to be normal, non-insulting words in English—and Dogg blames Easy for the insults. By the end of the first play, Easy has started to pick up on Dogg.

By the time Easy arrives at the living-room theater in Cahoot's Macbeth, he can only speak in Dogg and can no longer understand English. Unfortunately, most of the actors who are performing their illegal production of Macbeth can only understand English, so Easy is once again confused, although this time the situation is reversed. Easy finally makes them understand that he has brought building materials for their stage. At the same time, the inspector—who has come to shut down the production of Macbeth and arrest the actors and audience—gets very confused when he hears Easy speak in Dogg. When one of the other actors, Cahoot, comes in and sees Easy, he begins speaking to him in Dogg and explains to the other actors that this is what he is doing. Although the inspector does not catch on to Dogg language, the rest of the actors do, and for the rest of the play, they perform Macbeth completely in Dogg, while Easy and some of the actors build steps in the background. At the end of the play, Easy answers the phone and talks to the person on the other end, slowly switching back to talking in English.

The Hostess
In Cahoot's Macbeth, the hostess owns the private residence where the actors are staging their abbreviated production of Macbeth. The hostess refers to members of her audience—which is actually Stoppard's audience—and tries to convince the inspector that the audience members are all personal friends of hers. In this way, she hopes to avoid being arrested. However, the inspector warns her that she is still liable for the acting, which is against censorship rules. When Easy arrives speaking Dogg, she thinks he might be crazy, although, like the other actors, she soon picks up the language.

The Inspector
In Cahoot's Macbeth, the inspector is the policeman who has been staking out the hostess's home and who tries unsuccessfully to arrest the actors. When the inspector first arrives, he is light-hearted, referencing the odd jobs the actors have worked—such as working in newspaper kiosks— where he has admired their "acting." For the inspector and the police force, selling newspapers and working other non-acting jobs is the only form of artistic expression allowed. The inspector talks about the censorship that prevents the actors from acting. However, he still insists on seeing the actors perform their play and threatens them with legal action if they do not act for him.

However, at the end of the scene, the inspector says that he and the police do not like Shakespeare because his language is covert. Instead, they prefer a straightforward protest. He leaves, telling them they had better stop the play or he will arrest them. While he is gone, the actors resume their play, and Easy arrives speaking Dogg. The inspector comes back amidst all of this confusion, and lets them know he is recording everything that is being said, to use against them in court. The actors, who at this point have picked up Dogg, perform the rest of the play in Dogg, and the inspector is unable to arrest them as a result. In retaliation, the inspector uses Easy's building materials to construct a wall across the stage, cutting off the actors from the audience as the actors complete their production of Macbeth.

In Cahoot's Macbeth, Landovsky is the actor who plays Macbeth. Landovsky is Pavel Landovsky, the actual Czechoslovakian actor who was banned from acting in public. The inspector has seen and enjoyed Landovsky's other "performances" in the odd jobs that the actor has been forced to take in place of acting.




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