KU News Release
October 24, 2012
Contact: Charla Jenkins, University Theatre, 785-864-2684
'Peanuts'-based parody tackles bullying issue
LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Theatre is staging “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” by Bert V. Royal, an unauthorized parody based on the popular comic strip “Peanuts.”
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25-27 and Oct. 30-Nov. 1 and at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 28 in the William Inge Theatre in Murphy Hall.
Set in and around a typical American high school, the play imagines the well-known comic strip characters as teenagers. Drug use, suicide, eating disorders, teen violence, rebellion, sexual relations and identity are among the issues explored in the drama.
The searing play is directed by Danny Devlin, Fairfax, Va., doctoral student in theatre. Scenic designer is Tyche Xu, Heidi, China, a second-year scenography graduate student. Lighting and costume designer is Rana Esfandiary, a third-year scenography graduate student from Tehran, Iran. C. Drew Vidal, a member of the theatre and dance faculty at Ball State University, Is the fight choreographer for the production. Piano music is provided by Ryan McCall, University Theatre accompanist.
This daring and, at times shocking story opens when CB’s dog dies from rabies and he begins to question the existence of an afterlife. A chance meeting with an artistic kid, the target of his group’s bullying, offers CB peace of mind and sets in motion a friendship that pushes teen angst to the very limits.
Devlin said he first read “Dog Sees God” in 2010 when there were five and, sadly, probably many more high-profile suicides committed by LGBTQ youths who acted because their lives were torturous.
“These were teenagers that, like me at their age, didn’t have the perspective afforded by a couple of years of distance,” he said. “The difference between me and them was that their reality, their mythic self, their intrinsic sense of importance about right now was defined by bullying, by an uninvited, unwanted, horrible daily violence.
“This play hit me like a bolt of lightning, like the first time I heard The Ramones, or saw ‘The Godfather’ or read ‘To Kill A Mockingbird.’ I couldn’t shake it. I still can’t.”
“Dog Sees God” was one of the breakout hits of the 2004 New York International Fringe Festival, winning the Excellence Award for Best Overall Production, as well as Theatermania's Play Award of 2004, the GLAAD Media Award for Best Off-Off-Broadway production, Broadway.com's 2006 Audience Award for Favorite Off-Broadway Production and the 2006 HX Award for Best Play.
“I hope this play sticks to people as it stuck to me,” Devlin said. “I hope it encourages the audience to stand up to bullies, to treat people with the decency and respect they deserve. I hope they’ll offer help to someone in need.”
“Dog Sees God” deals with adult subject matter and includes strong language, and simulated drug and alcohol use.
General admission tickets for "Dog Sees God" are on sale in the KU ticket offices: University Theatre, 864-3982, and Lied Center, 864-ARTS, and online at kutheatre.com. Tickets are $15 for the public, $14 for senior citizens and KU faculty and staff, and $10 for all students. All major credit cards are accepted.
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