"Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead" is an original play by Bert V. Royal that follows the lives of the characters from the famous comic strip, Peanuts. Kids grow up, as they do, and the beloved characters in this unauthorized parody, are no exception to the rule. If the expectation is that of a nostalgic evening, then the awakening will be a bit rude. However, eyes will be wide-open as Jared Rasic's interpretation is presented opening night March 31.
The play holds true to the characters, who have since shed their iconic names, though clues are available. C.B. is the main character, sad about the death of his dog. Hints are given within moments of each introduction to aid in the transitional identification of the rest of the cast. However, instead of taking away footballs, they are now dealing with sex, drugs, violence and more. Teenage angst of the most severe degree is behind these characters who are no longer the children they once were.
The cast includes Dan Schimmoller as C.B. and Aine Jackson as his sister. Chase Johnston plays Beethoven, the school outcast who comforts himself with his music.
Jim Mocabee plays Matt, who is C.B's best friend and nothing like his younger messier self. Kit Foreman as Tricia and Christian Machado-Snyder as Marcy, play party girls. Cameron Springstun brings Van to life, the character who was ever the philosopher in childhood, and now a pothead. Skye Stafford plays Van's Sister, and her fate is quite unusual.
Bend's version of "Dog Sees God" will be the next performance in the the Black Box Series of the Cascades Theatrical Company (CTC), catering to the darker, more obscure side of life. Rasic, the Source's arts and culture editor, was brought from the front lines of the bylines to the backstage director's chair. After years of stage acting in his spare time, playing as many exotic roles as he could, he became a clear choice for director in the CTC Black Box series. He is supported by assistant director Sydney Goodman and stage manager Shannyn Christensen with costumes by Susanna Harrison and lighting design by Jim Mocabee.
Rasic brings a unique sense of humor and an open mind to his directing, learned from years of being directed himself. He makes a point not to force his strict definition of characters onto the actors. "You have to be able to accept their interpretations," he explains. "I want them to know who their roles are better than I ever could," he says.
Though "Dog Sees God" is based on the Peanuts comic strip, any expectation of an animated feel should be checked at the door. This is a play about life's most primal emotions. There are many reasons to see a play, especially one of such acclaim, including challenging one's comfort zone enough to uncover even the smallest amount of raw emotion. On this visit within the fourth wall, it's easy to get lost in a world that was part of many childhoods.
An underground favorite since its first reading at Barrow Street Theatre in New York in 2004, "Dog Sees God" is billed as an unauthorized parody, protected under First Amendment rights.
[Editor's note: Jared Rasic is the arts and culture editor for the Source. He did not assign, review or edit this story.]
"Dog Sees Dog"
March 31 to April 2, 7:30 p.m.
April 3, 2 p.m.
Cascades Theatrical Company 148 NW Greenwood Ave., Bend
$15 adult, $12 senior & students