Alpha Psi Omega presents ‘Dog Sees God’

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 at 4:52 PM

The lights dim, focusing on a red-painted wooden cross with the name “Snoopy” written on it. Thus sets the tone of “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead,” a tale of the beloved “Peanuts” gang all grown up and gone wild.  

Written by Bert V. Royal and presented by Alpha Psi Omega, “Dog Sees God” is a dark comedy with plenty of heavy and humorous moments. Each character is a slight corruption of the “Peanuts" kids, all going through their own angsty, teenage riots.  

Charlie Brown’s luck is one that stays true to the real character; misfortune continues to follow him wherever he goes. Lukas Gerlach made an earnest and melodramatic Charlie, who is struggling with the death of his old dog Snoopy and working up the courage to be himself.  

Charlie’s sister is a foil, and Titilayo Ogunduyilemi put a lot of thought into the character in order to create a very honest and offbeat Sally. She is finding herself, as shown through her oddly artistic “Metamorphosis of a Platypus” monologues. When asked how Ogunduyilemi was able to connect with her character, she answered: “I wanted to portray her as compassionate and thoughtful. She’s not as manic as Charlie Brown and one of the realest characters. I went through a similar phase in school of trying to find my identity, so I could relate to her in that.”  

Mikhail Ferree was Van, the blanket and bud-smoking stoner version of Linus. Van is the strongest comedic relief in “Dog Sees God,” his dazed personality and pseudo-philosophical ramblings attempting to smooth over any tension between his friends. 

The day after Marcy’s wild banger, Van’s whip in the lunchroom and Shaggy impression was, like, “hilarious Scoob,” and he steals the “Salisbury Steak” scene.  

Matt, formerly known as the dust-cloud accumulating “Pigpen,” now has obsessive compulsive disorder, requiring everything to be clean, so most of his filth has been transferred into his personality. Morgan Gore brings enormous attitude to his character’s interactions and does a great job in creating a three-dimensional bully with some serious underlying insecurities.  

Beethoven (known as Schroeder in “Peanuts”) was the sulky sensitive musician and victim of the group’s relentless bullying. Beethoven’s character carries a load on his shoulders, and Charlie Brown’s brash actions only get him into more trouble. Eric Reiche actually learned piano in a few weeks in order to humbly portray the doomed prodigy.  

Taylor Birk and Abigail Delk played the loud-mouthed dynamic duo Tricia (Peppermint Patty) and Marcy, who brought out the best in each other and made their friendship very believable. The Spork monologue is where these two shine, belligerently gossiping about their classmates and sharing milk-vodka cocktails.  

Amelia Tatone played Van’s sister (Lucy), who is locked in the insane asylum and hooked on lithium. The visit is the only scene with Van’s sister; Tatone made it memorable by screeching and perching atop her chair with her chin resting delicately on her cuffed hands and a crazed look in her eyes. 

When I asked Tatone how she prepared her vocals for all the screaming, she replied: “Coffee. I drink lots of coffee before I go out to get my energy up.”  

“Dog Sees God” contains many intense situations such as suicide, drug use, violence and bullying. It is recommended for mature audiences only. Despite the heavy topics, the raunchy humor helps take some edge off, and the ending is a poignant wrap-up that even made me tear up.  

The attention to detail, whether in the dramatic lighting, the swift prop changes by the run crew, and the costumes chosen by the actors for their characters, brought a strong sense of dedication to the production. This is a show you do not want to miss this season.  

The opening weekend was Oct. 19-22, but no fear, there will be another weekend of performances Oct. 26-28, with shows at 7:30 p.m., and a matinee performance on Sunday, Oct. 29 at 2:30 p.m.  

For those who enjoyed the bawdy humor of “Dog Sees God,” but perhaps prefer more classical theater, the next production will be Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” running from Nov. 9-19.  

Livia Homerski can be reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com.

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