If you’ve ever wanted to see the Peanuts gang all grown up, with teenage rebellion, drugs, alcohol and swearing included, now is your chance.
Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, the “unauthorized parody,” delves into the teenage lives of Charlie Brown, now called C.B. and his familiar group of friends. While the show may have its fair share of laughs, the University of Wisconsin - Superior theatre department has produced an intense show that focuses on bullying, eating disorders, homosexuality and suicide.
“Not only is it entertaining, and pointed at times, but it really has a deeper message to it,” Nicole Zappitello, who plays the mature version of Sally, said. “There are a lot of issues that are brought up in this show and really brought up to the surface.”
C.B. isn’t the only one with a new name. Pig-Pen takes on his real name, Matt. Linus, the play’s drug-addicted character becomes Van. Schroeder assumes the name of his musical idol, Beethoven. Peppermint Patty is transformed from her tomboy ego in Peanuts to the pretty and popular Tricia. In most productions she is just that, though UWS and director Kirsten Hambleton went with a different approach.
“It fit with the theme of the play, of finding yourself and becoming yourself,” Andrew Kirov, who plays Tricia says. “My character has been characterized as masculine before, and I think it’s trying to say something about the character’s interactions with others.”
While the play may attract a lot of people because of the “blockhead” in the title, Hambleton says that the name brand can make the show challenging.
“Because people have a preconceived idea of what their going to see, because it’s based on strong characters, might be shocking for some people, who grew up with this comic strip,” she says. “We tried to present it in a way that is entertaining and realistic without shocking just to shock.”
Though the play may shock some Peanuts veterans, the cast agrees that the real goal is for audiences to take away the message.
“I hope audiences feel more open about talking about these issues with other people,” Alison Haider who plays Marcy says. “Because a lot of these are very hidden issues, like suicide and eating disorders. I hope it starts a conversation between audience members.”
To become a part of the conversation, see the show in the Experimental Theatre in the Holden Fine and Applied Arts Center on Mar. 29 and 30; and Apr. 4-6. Tickets can be bought at the door and more information can be found on UW-Superior’s University Theatre website.