Thursday, April 24, 2008
Dog Sees God... the review
As mentioned in my last post, this past weekend we saw Offspring #1 in Dog Sees God. (The above photo is from the campus newspaper. Offspring #1 is standing in the foreground.)
The play, by Bert V. Royal, is a dark comedy that focuses on the teen years of the Charlie Brown gang. (Offspring #1 plays Marcy/Marcie.) Going into the play, I knew that the characters would no longer be simple, innocent comic strip kids. And indeed CB (Charlie Brown) is dealing with the death of his beloved beagle (yikes, rabies!), Van (Linus) is a pothead, Tricia (Peppermint Patty) and Marcy (Marcie) have become "mean girls", Matt (Pigpen) has become a jock and germaphobe, and Van's Sis (Lucy) is in a mental health facility because of her pyromania. Whoa! But I was prepared for character changes.
What I was totally unprepared for was the raw, incredible power of the play as the characters dealt with some big freakin' issues. For example... In an unexpected plot turn (spoiler alert!), CB develops feelings for Beethoven (Shroeder), a sensitive pianist who has been victimized by the popular kids. As the plot unfolds (especially in the confrontation scene with homophobic Matt) the audience is shockingly reminded of how easily school tragedies can happen when an environment of bullying and intolerance exists.
Some of the biggest laughs came in response to the high-energy antics of Tricia and Marcy. (e.g. They get buzzed at school by adding booze to their milk cartons in the cafeteria.) Yet these characters are far from one-dimensional caricatures. They are played with great depth and complexity, and their behavior helps underscore the tragedy of the pursuit of mindless popularity.
This production was really well done with a talented ensemble of actors. The set and sound design were both top notch and greatly added to the experience. One cool thing... I loved some of the "winks" to the comic strips and movies. For example, Marcy throws a party when her parents are away, and the characters all dance exactly like the cartoon kids did in the Peanuts tv specials.
Hats off to the director (Dr. Rich Brown) and all those involved in this compelling, thought-provoking play.