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Dog Sees God
a Drama
CATEGORY : DRAMA
by Bert V. Royal

COMPANY : Live Arts Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Belfry Playhouse (inside Norcross Presbyterian Church) [WEBSITE]
ID# 4981

SHOWING : October 21, 2016 - November 05, 2016

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

When CB’s dog dies from rabies, he begins to question his existence and the meaning of life. This hilariously dark “unauthorized parody,” imagines characters from the popular comic strip Peanuts as teenagers. High School issues such as drug use, child abuse, suicide, eating disorders, teen violence, rebellion, sex and identity are among the issues filtered through the prism of the characters we all know and love. CB’s journey is about coming to terms with death, and what it really means to be alive. Recommended for ages 16+ due to language, adult situations, and violence.


CAST & CREW LIST
Cast Meredith Jones
Director Michael Harrison
Run Crew Bethany Bing
Lighting Design/Props Becca Parker
Stage Manager Sarah Struck
Marcy Teresa Bayo
Van Tyler Hayes
Matt Michael Howell
CBs sister Katie Huntington
CB Anthony James
Beethoven Ryan Lambert
Vans sister Diana Riley
Trisha Jennifer Studnicki
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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You’re a Gooed Man, Charlie Brown
by playgoer
Sunday, October 30, 2016
3.0
Take the characters from Charles Schulz’s "Peanuts," age them to current-day high school students, and have them deal with death, drugs, alcohol, arson, bullying, and homosexuality. It makes for a very grim, profane play.

Michael Harrison has directed the play with a fair degree of fluidity, with simple set pieces of his set design moved on and off swiftly, with the exception of a stationary faux (but nicely realized) grand piano stage left. Becca Parker’s lighting design does a nice job of highlighting certain portions of the playing space for certain scenes. Matt Reizsl’s sound design neatly blends recordings with live piano playing. Victoria Trotti’s costume design hints at our familiarity with the characters, while not being slavish imitations, and the props by Sarah Struck and Becca Parker impress with their variety and applicability.

Performances are good throughout, although a somber tone of sincerity prevails. This sincerity imbues the performances of all the males: Anthony J. James as lead character CB; Ryan Lambert as tortured homosexual Beethoven; Michael Howell as the bullying Matt; and even Tyler Hayes as stoner Van, whose comic moments are devoid of levity. The female roles allow more variety: Katie Huntington’s changing costumes and viewpoints as CB’s sister give her a bit of character; Teresa Bayo’s second-banana, wallflower traits as Marcy evoke some comic sympathy; Diana Riley’s raucous jailhouse humor sparks her scene as Van’s sister; and Lindsay Lohan lookalike Jennifer Studnicki provides a little drunken humor, while exuding sarcastic sincerity. Even the scenes with the most comedy have serious underpinnings as the teenagers engage in "bad" behavior.

The ending of the show is memorable, with Charlie Brown under a symbolic black rain cloud, reading a reassuring letter from his pen pal as the other cast members stand onstage in their undergarments, labels in bullying language scrawled on their skin. It’s memorable, but not ultimately meaningful. The play appears to have an anti-bullying message that seems directed at youth, but the language and situations of the play make it suitable only for adult audiences. I’m not sure whom the play is expected to have the most impact on. Certainly not a profanity-hating fuddy-duddy like me. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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