May 082011
Authors: Lianna Salva

The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house next to the University Center for the Arts once installed speakers on the outside of the house to yell at passing traffic, according to senior theater major Sean Michael Cummings.

This inspired him to write his play, “Doghead,” which aims to reflect on society’s views on masculinity.

CSU students and Fort Collins residents saw the premiere theater performances of “Doghead” and another student-written play, “Tom Hanks is a Dead Man,” by senior theater major Jake Alan Burleson, this weekend.

Both plays were directed by senior theater major Jeff Garland.
“It’s not the usual thing you see at the theater. A lot of what CSU Theater does is the regular canon, like Shakespeare,” Garland said.

“Doghead” introduced Chad and Dan, two frat guys who spend time sitting on the front lawn discussing life in the only way they know how: Through yelling at Chad’s dog, Bruno, playing ladder ball and being as manly as possible.

Both Chad and Dan have girl problems, but on different levels. Chad takes anger management classes for beating an unseen character named Buckey, whom Chad also thinks is the reason their house gets vandalized.

After finding out that his girlfriend’s stillborn child wasn’t his to begin with, Dan spends most of the play drinking and yelling at passersby through a megaphone to pass the time.

Although most of the drama surrounds Dan, he knows that Chad needs to face his own problems. Dan tries to “help” Chad by killing Bruno, who was Chad’s attachment to his ex-girlfriend of three years.

“I wanted it to be a meditation on masculinity and how it interacts with the grieving process,” Cummings said. “It’s like when you’re way too cool to be sad.”
“Tom Hanks is a Dead Man” followed the unusual circumstances of two twenty-somethings in Los Angeles who just happened to kidnap Tom Hanks.

According to Burleson, the idea circulated from celebrity death pools. He said there are some people who bet money on which celebrities are going to die this year.
“I was fascinated with the idea,” Burleson said. “The funniest celebrity to do that with was ultimately Tom Hanks because he’s such a nice guy, and he doesn’t deserve it.”

Junior Nick Holland played the tied-up and subconscious Hank who wakes up to find a room scattered with empty bottles of alcohol and the two roommates arguing about what best way to kill him.

Burleson explained that this play was a great way to show our obsession with celebrities.

_Entertainment staff writer Lianna Salva can be reached at verve@ _

About the plays

  • Doghead,” written by senior theater major Sean Michael Cummings
  • “Tom Hanks is a Dead Man,” written by senior theater major Jake Alan Burleson
  • Both directed by senior theater major Jeff Garland
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