Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead – Bert V. Royal

dogseesgod

Had its world pre­miere at the 2004 New York Inter­na­tional Fringe Festival.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

CB                                                Michael Gladis
CB’s Sis­ter  
                                Karen DiCon­cetto
Van 
                                              Tate Elling­ton and Daniel Franzese
Matt 
                                             Jay Sul­li­van
Beethoven 
                                 Ben­jamin Schrader
Tri­cia
                                            Brid­get Barkan
Marcy 
                                          Stelianie Tek­mitchov
Van’s Sis­ter                                
Melissa Picarello

Direc­tor:  Susan W. Lovell

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Royal, Bert V. Dog Sees God:  Con­fes­sions of a Teenage Block­head. Drama­tists Play Ser­vice, 2006. Drama Library PS3618. O8928 D64 2006.

Set­ting:  A neighborhood

Lan­guage:  Contemporary

TRICIA

And speak­ing of her fash­ion sense, why is she always wear­ing that shirt that says WWJD?  What the hell is that sup­posed to mean? Who wants jelly doughnuts?

Genre/Style:  Comedy

Plot:   The Peanuts kids have been reimag­ined and are all grown up in this unau­tho­rized parody—and, boy, do they have prob­lems.  CB’s dog has just died and he begins ques­tion­ing the exis­tence of an after­life; his sis­ter doesn’t know who she is; Beethoven is being bul­lied; Van is a pot­head; Marcy and Tri­cia are sex-starved mean girls; Van’s Sis­ter is an insti­tu­tion­al­ized pyro­ma­niac; and Matt has anger man­age­ment prob­lems.  Although the play doesn’t quite man­age to seam­lessly inte­grate all of its con­cerns, themes, and gen­res, it is an enter­tain­ing “What would hap­pen if” look at its source mate­r­ial that draws upon the lives and prob­lems of con­tem­po­rary teens.

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mono­logues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.

p.7–8:  CB writes a let­ter to his pen pal about the death of his dog.  Depend­ing on the require­ments, the mono­logue can begin at the begin­ning of the play, or where it does here.

CB

My dog died. I don’t know if you remem­ber, but I had a bea­gle. He was a good dog. My best friend. I’d had him as far back as I could remem­ber, but one day last month, I went out to feed him and he didn’t come bound­ing out of his red dog­house like usual. [Lines cut] My par­ents called a cen­ter and they came and took him away. Later that day, they put him to sleep. They gave me his corpse in a card­board box. When my dog died, that was when the rain cloud came back and every­thing went to hell…

p.24–25:  CB’s sis­ter per­forms from her one-woman show, Cocoon­ing into Platy­pus; really bad.

CB’s Sis­ter

Meta­mor­pho­sis. Trans­for­ma­tion. Evo­lu­tion. Change. Evo­lu­tion.  Change. Chang­ing evo­lu­tion. I am a teenage cater­pil­lar. I know of these things. For soon, I’ll spin a cocoon. [Lines cut] If I stay in my cocoon longer, I’ll  change from a but­ter­fly to a swal­low and then from a swal­low to a duck and then from a duck to a platy­pus. It’s all just a mat­ter of time. And time I have. I will wait to become a platy­pus. I will be an extra­or­di­nary creature.

p.35:  Van’s Sis­ter explains to CB why she set the red-headed girl’s hair on fire in class.

VAN’S SISTER

[I am.] I was preg­nant. (Beat.) Don’t worry. It wasn’t yours. I had just got­ten an abor­tion the day before and the next day in Biol­ogy, we were iron­i­cally learn­ing about repro­duc­tion. I’m lis­ten­ing to Miss Rainey talk­ing about fal­lop­ian tubes, the uterus, eggs and I’m feel­ing sick to my stom­ach already. [Lines cut.] No mat­ter how hard I try. Bitches like that make me sick. They’ve made me sick. I’m offi­cially sick, psy­chotic, unre­pen­tant and unre­morse­ful. I’ve been branded a sociopath and I have no choice but to believe it.

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes:  There are a num­ber of short, two-person scenes in this play and a num­ber of scenes with sub­stan­tial two-person interactions.

p. 8–9:  CB and CB’s Sis­ter at CB’s dog’s funeral. Starts with

CB

                Mom will kill you if she sees you smoking.

and ends with

CB’S SISTER

He was your fuck­ing dog. You fuck­ing say it.

p. 10–12:  CB and Van sit on a brick wall and dis­cuss the after­life.  Starts with

VAN

You wanna hit this?

and ends with

CB

Like what?

p.22–24:  CB vis­its Beethoven in the music room dur­ing lunch and Beethoven con­fronts CB about the way he and his other friends have bul­lied Beethoven over the years.  At the end of the scene, CB kisses Beethoven.  Starts with

CB

                Maybe if you didn’t act so—

and ends with

BEETHOVEN

                Me too.

p.34–36:  CB vis­its Van’s Sis­ter in the insti­tu­tion and asks why she set fire to the lit­tle red-headed girl’s hair.  Starts with

CB

Hey, why’d you do it?

and ends with

VAN’S SISTER

Hey, Block­head! You for­got your scarf!

 

Select Bib­li­og­ra­phy of Reviews and Crit­i­cism:  (Note:  arti­cle title links are to the online ver­sions, mostly UW-only restricted unless des­ig­nated as open access.)

Blan­chard, J. (2006, Jul 20). Pointed peanuts par­ody ; blis­ter­ing satire ‘dog sees god’ inven­tive in short work at stu­dio. Wash­ing­ton Times, pp. B05.

Cal­houn, A. (2004, Sep 15). Good grief, C.B., you block­head, is it really bye-bye to the bea­gle? New York Times, pp. E3.

Clear, M. (2010, Aug 12). Grownup Peanuts. St.Petersburg Times,pp.B2.

Dun­ham, M. (2009, Sep 05). ‘Peanuts’ gang encoun­ters tumul­tuous teen­dom in play: Sat­is­fy­ing: “dog sees god” explores world of teenage angst. McClatchy — Tri­bune Busi­ness News.

Hen­er­son, E. (2008, Jun 13). ‘Peanut’ Gang up to new tricks in ‘Dog Sees God’. Daily News, pp.L8.

Moore, J. (2007, May 04). ‘Dog sees god’ a comic coming-of-age. Den­ver Post,pp.F6.

Munro, D. (2013, August 25). The­ater Review: ‘Dog Sees God: Con­fes­sions of a Teenage Block­head’. Fresno Bee, The: Blogs (CA).

Ouzoun­ian, R. (2009, Mar 26). Gawd, this quirky show is as lov­able as snoopy. Toronto Star, pp.E8.

Sta­ton, J. (2013, August 22). Review — ‘Dog’ puts comic strip cast in per­spec­tive as teens. StarNews (Wilm­ing­ton, NC).

Thiel­man, S. (2005, Dec 16). Review, the ‘peanuts’ gang as adults: Good grief. News­day, pp. B17.

Toscano, M. (2009, Dec 03). ‘Dog sees god’ serves up roasted ‘peanuts’. The Wash­ing­ton Post, pp. AAVE.21.

Voorheis, M. (2013, Aug 15). A darker char­lie brown tale opens at brown­coat. McClatchy — Tri­bune Busi­ness News

Zino­man, J. (2005, Dec 16). Aargh! the ‘peanuts’ gang hits a rocky ado­les­cence. New York Times, pp. E2.

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