Dog Sees God, Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead

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Photo credit: Kathleen Grady-Thompson

Dog Sees God, Confessions of a Teenage Bloackhead is an unauthorized parody of the works of Charles M. Schulz. The play imagines characters from the popular comic strip Peanuts as degenerate teenagers. Drug use, child sexual abuse, suicide, eating disorders, teen violence, rebellion, sexual relations and identity are among the issues covered. The show cleverly disguises the identity of each character, so that the issues of the play draw more focus than attempting to guess "who's who". However, the use of these famous characters is what gives the show its emotional punch: even these beloved child characters must someday grow up and deal with finding their place in the world.

Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead by Bert V. Royal is a play about a teenage boy, CB, who begins to question the existence of an afterlife after his dog dies. Unable to find solace from his friends after his dog's death, CB turns to an artistic classmate, but their rekindled friendship pushes the bounds of what CB's friends are willing to accept, forcing CB to consider who he wants to be.

Dog Sees God had its world premiere at the 2004 New York International Fringe Festival. The Canadian Premiere Production took place at Six Degrees in Toronto, ON in March 2009 produced by Michael Rubinoff and Lindsay Rosen.

Terry Thompson, the Director of the piece at the Ottawa Fringe Festival, says it was about nine years ago that he started reading about this Off Broadway production. “The more I read about the play, the more it intrigued me. And then I heard it was going to be in Toronto, starring the cast of Degrassi: The Next Generation.”

After seeing the play, he headed back to Ottawa determined to mount it locally. It had to wait until September 2016 when he had a two night sold out run at Live on Elgin to fulfill his dream.

“The cast was so proud of what they had done in such a short time we talked about relaunching the show in the future and someone suggested Fringe, so we entered the Fringe lottery and ours was the first number drawn” exclaims Thompson.

Everything leading to the end of the show, where there is a moment of "Oh my God… did that just happen" that still causes some cast members to choke up. Thompson had to replace one of the original cast because the actress got an internship in Iceland. He remarks that the new actress was caught off-guard by the sentiment in the last scene.

Thompson summarizes his feelings about the play, “We are lucky to be relaunching this show so most of the raw pieces have been sanded down to a nice finish. But the new member of the cast has a different take on the character of CB's Sister that I didn't expect but I love immensely. This is a character that has lived in my head since my first viewing and I thought I knew her but turns out there is a fresh new side to her that we're exploring.”

Dog Sees God, Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead is playing at the Academic Hall of University of Ottawa.


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