Ever wondered what happened to Charlie Brown and friends when they grew up? The play “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” finds the famous Peanuts characters in high school, dealing with more than childhood shenanigans.
“Dog Sees God” deals with substance abuse, homosexuality and bullying. The director, sophomore Kiera Stevens, admitted that the play can be “in your face” at times, but that it is “shocking in a way that makes you think.”
The play also deals with “insecurity, self identity and social identity,” first-year Nic Roycroft said. Roycroft plays Charlie Brown.
“It’s kind of a coming out story,” senior Grant Hillard said. “But at the same time it’s a lot about being yourself and feeling free about that.”
Hillard plays Matt, a high school aged Pigpen.
Although the actors may be playing iconic characters, “the writer has taken those characters that we’re familiar with and created like completely new characters,” Hillard said.
“When you grow up, you are vastly different than you were even a year ago,” Roycroft said. “We’re constantly going through changes and so I feel like it does give a little bit of leeway to kind of play up whatever I want to be, whatever [Charlie Brown] is.”
Stevens felt a strong connection to the story. “I didn’t choose the play, the play chose me,” she said. After reading the script, she knew she wanted others to be able to see the play.
The play is running independently from Pacific Lutheran University’s theater department, and is entirely student produced.
Stevens felt limited by the guidelines students have to direct shows. Stevens explained that the two student directing programs, Upstart Crow and APO Main Stage, have specific guidelines for a show. APO Main Stage shows are reserved for bigger productions, while Upstart Crow is for smaller shows in the Black Box.
“[My show] didn’t work within either of those spaces, and I just felt very restricted” Stevens said. “So I thought to just do it on my own.”
Although there are many acting and directing majors “there’s not a lot of opportunities for us to be able to direct,” Stevens said. Both Hillard and Roycroft expressed interest in directing in the future.
Stevens wants a directing program for students called Dog House. Dog House would give students “a little bit more room to experiment” with their theater skills.
Stevens envisions this program giving opportunities to students to not only direct, but for writers and actors as well.
Since the show is independent, Stevens had to do everything on her own, from the initial analysis to planning auditions and callbacks.
“It all feels worth it because I’m very passionate about doing this show so it’s fun work,” Stevens said.
Although she directed one acts in high school, this is Stevens’ first time directing at PLU.
“The way that the show is turning out is giving me more confidence in myself that I can direct things,” Stevens said.
The show opened with a student preview on April 2, and runs through April 4. All shows are in the Cave at 7:30 p.m. 🅼