Two Gentleman of Verona,” Shakespeare’s rarely produced comic farce with some dark twists, tells the story of best friends Proteus and Valentine. Proteus falls in love with Julia while Valentine travels to Milan where he falls in love with Silvia. Proteus soon follows to Milan where he, too, falls in love with Silvia. Julia won’t give up. She and her servant Lucetta disguise themselves as young men, and they too are off to Milan.

Many scholars argue “Two Gents” was Shakespeare’s first play, and it certainly contains all the elements of his future work — cross-dressing heroines, youthful love complications, angry dictatorial fathers, comic servants, foolish suitors and, to top it off, Crab the dog, who routinely steals the show.

Presented by the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane University, the show is directed by Jessica Podewell and features Levi Hood and Kyle Woods as the title characters, Devyn Tyler playing Julia and Pippa the dog taking on the role of Crab.

The show runs June 18-July 2 at Lupin Theater on the Tulane campus. For tickets and information, visit neworleansshakespeare.org.