Boxcar Theatre for the penultimate performance of Dog Sees God. This 90 minute play by Bert V. Royal offers up a handful of Peanuts characters grown into contemporary high school students. I was expecting a parody, so when I saw a pile of dirt on the floor, I assumed it was a pitcher's mound. Instead it was the freshly dug grave of Charlie Brown's dog, who contracted rabies & killed a small yellow bird. A cruel fate is similarly meted out to Schroeder, here a tragically bullied gay teenager. In the play's bizarrely sentimental final scene, Charlie Brown sits atop the doghouse, gets drenched by real rain, & reads a letter signed "C.S."
The young & appealing cast all look like they are 16 years old. They give sharp performances. Teresa Attridge is terrific & terrifying in her one scene as Lucy, an incarcerated teen, hugely enjoying her own psychopathic behavior. Andrew Humann is a glum yet cute Charlie Brown. Bobby Conte-Thornton is a prickly Schroeder & elicits sympathy without ever asking for it. I love that he played Beethoven & Chopin for real on the set's grand piano.
The tightly packed audience of about 60 responded warmly & applauded the recreation of the dance scene from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Interestingly, my college-age theater companion was not that familiar with the Peanuts. The theater's building is also a residence, & the sounds of children sometimes drifted in from a nearby rec room. At the end of the show the cast made several announcements, including one for suicide prevention. They ended the evening by singing "We Are Young" as an encore.
§ Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead
By Bert V. Royal
Directed by Nick A. Olivero
CB: Andrew Humann
CB's Sister: Mimi Folco
Van: Lucas Brandt
Van's Sister: Teresa Attridge
Matt: Cody Young
Tricia: Kailey Hewitt
Marcie: Michelle Ang
Beethoven: Bobby Conte-Thornton
24 August 2012 8p