Oct 072010
Authors: Anna Baldwin

This one’s a tearjerker. It’s quite shocking.

It begins with CB’s dog dying from rabies, which forces him to begin questioning his role in the world. He is now no one’s master, no one’s “God.”

So, now what’s his identity in life?

These questions and more will be revealed in “Dog Sees God: Confessions of A Teenage Blockhead,” the Theatre Department’s first play of the semester. The show, which premiered Thursday will run tonight and Oct. 9, 13-16, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 10, and 17, 2 p.m. The show will be in the Studio Theatre.

Featuring the characters from Charles M. Shulz’s popular, 60-year-old comic strip, “Peanuts,” the play follows CB and friends as they live life as teenagers in high school.

The production is written by Bert V. Royal and directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Laura Jones.

“In terms of style, it is a parody,” Jones said. “And the premise of the play is a really attractive and provocative idea. What type of people would the characters be after 10 years?”

It seems high school is not working out as well as it was hoped for the loveable kids who once only worried about kicking a football. The characters of the eight-member-cast have grown up; they also gained new names.

“Everyone is their extreme opposite,” Jones said. “That’s the appeal, that’s the fun of it. But it’s also these opposites that are teenagers experiencing life.”

CB tries to seek the aid of his friends to help find a new identity, but his best friend, Van, is too stoned to care and his sister now studies witchcraft.

If that’s not bad enough, his ex-girlfriend –– formerly known as Lucy and once the psychiatrist of the group (remember how the doctor was in?) –– is now confined in a psychiatric ward after setting someone on fire. Good grief.

Eventually the frustrated CB turns to both his pen pal and a formerly-ostracized character for guidance during this crossroads in his life.

Junior theatre major Roger Miller, who plays CB, describes his character as an “every man guy that many people can relate to.” It’s his first lead role in a main stage performance at CSU.

“The play addresses social cliques and other teenage angst. Many of the events in the play are pertinent to society, as well,” Miller said. “There are a lot of funny moments as the audience sees how the characters have progressed, or regressed, since the strip.”

Jones said, “Drug use, eating disorders, teen violence and sexual identity all collide in this keen, sharp and always articulate spoof.”

Miller describes the ending of the play as effective and powerful for the audience.

The award-winning original play “Snipes,” written by senior theatre major Sean Cummings, will be presented as a prologue to the main production before each performance. It is the first time for a short play to be featured before a main stage production at CSU.

Cummings describes his 15-minute play that he wrote last fall as one featuring kids with no social skills that are just trying to deal with sad issues. It shares thematic similarities with “Dog Sees God, he says.

The two-person cast meets on a playground at 4 a.m. Already in too far over their heads at the beginning, one character brings a duffel bag to the meeting with contents that just might destroy their lives.

“I wrote in silences, and the silence forces it to be more visually interesting,” Cummings said. “This was sort of an experiment at first, but I think it works.”

“It’s a good companion to ‘Dog Sees God,’” Miller said. “Both are good images of people who don’t really know what they are doing.”

“Snipes” was originally performed at the 2010 Regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in Reno, advancing as a semifinalist in the national KCACTF Short Play Award competition.

“Dog Sees God” has not been authorized or approved in any manner by the Charles M. Schulz Estate or United Features Syndicate, which have no responsibility for its content.

Because of strong language and adult themes, “Dog Sees God” is not appropriate for youth under the age of 17.

Tickets are $9 for CSU students, $18 for the public, and are available at the UCA Ticket Office or online at www.CSUArtsTickets.com.

Staff writer Anna Baldwin can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com.

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