Ever wonder what the wholesome Peanuts characters would be like in their teenage years? The RIT Players and RIT Gay Alliance attempt to answer that question through the innovative combination of theater in-the-round and projection systems.
RIT presents Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead by Bert V. Royal, May 17-20 in James E. Booth Hall, room A428, with limited seating. Interpreted performances are Saturday evening and Sunday matinee. It is advised that this show is for an adult audience only.
In this 90-minute unauthorized parody, the Peanuts characters are perceived as teenagers dealing with difficult topics such as drug use, suicide, death, eating disorders and rebellion. Sexual identities are also questioned and experimented with throughout the play.
The adaptation taken by Jim Simmonds, director and adjunct professor in the College of Liberal Arts, will be in the round, which means the audience will surround the actors. In addition, projections are used to indicate scene changes and sets, created by David Halbstein. Simmonds, Halbstein and Marla Schweppe are the only professional staff working on the production—the actors, assistant directors, tech and production team are all undergraduate students at RIT.
“It has been a unique experience being able to work on Dog Sees God,” says Shawn Gray, fourth-year film and animation major. “I have really had to push myself as an actor due to the nature of the script. Having only ever played comedic roles, this part has gotten me to step way out of my comfort zone and expand my abilities as an actor. Performing in the round is also another challenge for everyone involved.”
Gray plays CB, who is having a hard time accepting the death of his dog and spirals to question other things in his life such as his sexuality and belief in God.