“It’s totally perfect for our age group. High school is a hard time, but most people tend to forget that college is a hard time, too. So why not do this play?”
That was senior Jillian Haig’s response as to why she advocated for the Linfield Theatre and Communication Arts Department to perform “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” for the season’s third full-length play.
The play, which will open March 16 in Marshall Theatre, is a parody of the famous “Peanuts” comic strip, created by Charles M. Schulz, set 10 years in the future.
The main character, C.B. (junior Matt Sunderland), ponders the afterlife after his dog dies from rabies. And pulling from the comic, although in angst-ridden fashion, his friends offer little substantial help. His friends range from a pothead to a goth to a pyromaniac to a homophobic neat-freak; it’s a hodgepodge of craziness for C.B.
However, fate intervened, as it is prone to do, and C.B. meets Beethoven, an artistic kid with a giant bull’s eye painted on his back. Controversial topics including drug use, suicide, eating disorders, teen violence and sexual identity run rampant in this script, and it would be a surprise if it didn’t beget any controversy.
“There are things in this play that not everyone will agree with,” Haig said. “It’s a part of theater and a part of life. It’s OK if people don’t like it. This won’t be as controversial as ‘Crave,’ but it will be more so than ‘Doll’s House.’”
Haig was responsible for bringing the script to Linfield, after reading it last summer. She said she wanted to showcase it during Fall Semester, but the department decided to postpone it until Spring Semester when it could run as a full-length play.
“It’s really close to my heart, and I’m excited for it,” Haig said. “Some of the other colleges are jealous of us.”
Haig will play Van’s sister (known only as that), an institutionalized pyromaniac.
She said that because of the short rehearsal period, which began the first week of Spring Semester, rehearsals tended to be three hours a night, sometimes up to four or five. Haig said it is worth it, though.
“Hopefully, it will open people up to some of the things around them,” Haig said.
Jay Gipson-King, class of ’00, is directing “Dog Sees God.”
“Jay is fun to work with,” Haig said. “He’s passionate about what he does.”
Along with Haig and Sunderland, the cast includes seniors Will DeBiccari and Brenna Crocker, junior Alessa Downing, sophomore Will Bailey and freshmen Aaron Granum and Claudia Ramirez. The scenic design is by junior Robert Vaughn; the costume design is by Alethia Moore-Del Monaco, Costume Designer and Costume Shop Manager; the sound design is by DeBiccari; and the lighting design is by Tyrone Marshall, professor of theater and communication arts. The stage manager is freshman Christopher Forrer.
The takeaway: “Look at what you can connect with personally,” Haig said. “Everyone can identify with a character because they’re all human.”
Editor-in-chief Dominic Baez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org