The Drury University Department of Theatre will present "Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead " by Bert V. Royal, an "unauthorized parody" of Charles Schultz's "Peanuts" characters. Directed by Madison Spencer, the play opens on Wednesday, October 1st at 7:30 p.m. in the Studio Theatre inside Springfield Hall on the Drury campus. Good grief! The “Peanuts” gang goes to high school and faces the challenges of a darker world in this provocative dramedy about growing up, drugs, eating disorders, teen violence, and sexual identity. The name of the play, by the way, refers to a certain dog who is integral to the Peanuts strip--he's contracted rabies and has had to be put down.
C.B. (representing Charlie Brown, of course--the characters' names have been changed--possibly for reasons of artistic license, but almost certainly to avoid copyright infringement!) is played by Josh Anderson, who notes that in their original comic-strip form the Peanuts characters "really embody the idea of innocence and a sort of wholesome atmosphere"--which this show completely turns on its ear. "And I think C.B. is really struggling with that. He still has this very 'Charlie Brown' quality about him... he still brings his (school) lunch in a brown paper bag! And so he's struggling to find his identity in one of the most explosive times in a person's life, which is the social nightmare that is high school.
Mitch Barrett, who plays "Beethoven" (aka Schroeder), agrees that the play's main focus is "finding an identity." He calls Beethoven "a really complex character." Due to his obsession with music, a rough family life and sexual orientation issues, "most of the students at the school pick on him and tease him and bully him," says Mitch.
Lucy Van Pelt, the fuss-budget and amateur psychiatrist, is called simply "Van's Sister" in the play ("Van" representing her brother Linus). She's played by Laura Sorenson, who says as a teenager Van's Sister "turns out a bit wonky. We find her in sort of a psych ward--she had a little mishap involving fire--that's all I'll say!" But, says Laura, Van's Sister is also "the most accepting person C.B. has in his life." She tries to help C.B. deal with his issues even as she struggles with her own. "She's accepting of C.B., which is really lovely."
The Drury production of "Dog Meets God" will run Wednesday through Friday October 1 - 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday October 4 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $14 for adults, $7 for senior citizens and non-Drury students, and $3 for Drury faculty, staff and students. This production is for mature audiences. For reservations contact the Drury box office at (417) 873-7255 Monday through Friday from 1-5 p.m.