Since the 1950s, Charlie and his gang have appeared in both comic strips and television, but in the theatre department’s rendition of Bert Royal’s play, “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead,” the Peanuts Gang are reimagined as troubled teenagers.
The play, being shown from Nov. 6-8, is an unofficial parody of the “Peanuts” comic strip created by Charles M. Schultz and imagines Charlie Brown and his friends as rebellious teenagers dealing with issues such as friendships, relationships, life direction, and sexuality.
“It is really relatable,” said Carina Iannarelli, a senior theatre and emerging technology double major. “I think what we all want our audience to get is to be yourself. Don’t be afraid to step out from the norm and give no apologies for being yourself.”
Carina plays Van’s Sister, in “Dog Meets God’s” take on the iconic Lucy from the “Peanuts” strips.
“In ‘Dog Sees God,’ she still has the same bossy personality and still picks on Charlie Brown in the show,” remarked Iannarelli. “However, in this version she is a pyromaniac in an insane asylum.”
This type of role is familiar territory for Iannarell.
“My sophomore year, when I started to become interested in the theatre department, I played a character in “View of the Dome” called Marjorie who was on Prozac for her depression,” Iannarelli said. “This time Van’s sister is on lithium. It is so much fun to play a crazy person again. Very nostalgic!”
Lucy is not the only character who has changed in “Dog Sees God.” Peppermint Patty’s bespectacled friend Marcy has also grown up. In the play, she is portrayed by Erin Dansevicus, a junior public relations and nonprofit leadership double major.
“Marcy is constantly seeking attention and ways to outshine Tricia [Peppermint Patty’s name in the play],” remarked Dansevicus. “Always being second best to Peppermint Patty in the past has led to Marcy’s need for attention from her peers even if it means engaging in self destructive behavior.”
Dansevicus is comfortable in the role. “I love playing this role because I am able to connect her childhood that was depicted in the “Peanuts” to her current age in this show,” she said.
Even Charlie Brown’s loving younger sister Sally has grown up in unexpected ways. In the play, she is simply known as CB’s Sister and is portrayed by Emily Daning, a sophomore theatre major.
“CB’s Sister to me can only be described as ‘finding herself,’” remarked Daning. “She goes through different personalities weekly, leaving her brother, CB, perpetually confused.”
Daning has a fondness for her role. “What I love about this character is how accurately she depicts a teenage girl in high school: confused, and always trying to understand what kind of identity she represents,” she said. “But what looks like naivety is really a young woman maturing and growing.”
The play is directed by senior theatre major Malic Williams, with fellow theatre major Margaret Rial as stage manager. Theatre major Kyle Andreas is scenic director. Costumes are designed by theatre major Kayla Boulton while lighting is designed by theatre major Kyle Wiltraut.
The play also stars communication major Tyler Hahn as CB, SRU Graduate Karter Schachner as Van, theatre major Joe Karl as Matt, music therapy major Alex Sharo as Beethoven, and English major Mel Lyon as Tricia.
“Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” debuted at Sheehy Theatre at the Maltby Center on Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. It will continue through Nov. 8. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door.