(Ashland, Ore.) – The Theatre Arts program of the Department of Performing Arts at Southern Oregon University presents “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” by Bert V. Royal, opening on Nov. 3 in the Center Square Theatre on the SOU campus.
A hit at the 2004 New York International Fringe Festival, the play satirizes the Peanuts comic strip by aging its cast of characters into their teenage years. SOU professor Kyle Haden directs this production.
“Since I have been a little kid, I have loved the Peanuts gang. I read all of the strips, watched the specials – you name it, I was into it,” said Haden. “So when I first heard about this play in 2005, I was extremely excited. I saw a production of it in Denver four years ago, and while I enjoyed the play, I felt very strongly that my love of the original characters could help me bring something interesting to this story.”
Occupied by teenage angst, experimentation and sexual identity, lead character CB and his friends face questions of morality, the existence of an afterlife and true friendship.
“I read an interview with Bert V. Royal, and he mentioned that after the death of Charles Schultz, he became very interested in these characters, and essentially wrote this play to answer the question, ‘What happens to a world after the loss of its creator?’” said Haden. “I think that loss and CB’s search for meaning are the strongest themes throughout the play, and they are certainly the ones that interest me the most.” Due to content and language, the play is intended for audiences over 17 years of age.
Haden most recently directed a workshop production of a new play called “Your Boyfriend May Be Imaginary” by Larry Kunofsky, which is scheduled to have its premiere in New York in spring 2012. He has been a working actor in New York City and at regional theatres, including the Guthrie, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Colorado Shakespeare Festival, for the ten past years. He joined the SOU Theatre Arts faculty in 2010
Josh Simpson plays CB, Erin O’Connor plays CB’s Sister, and Andrew Yabroff plays Van. The cast also features Gavin Douglas, Sarah Mitchell, Corey Porter, Alyssa Rhoney and Kate Torcom. Scenic design is by Anders Templeton, costumes are designed by Hanna Wisner, lighting design is by Chris Sackett and sound design is by Ewa Prokopczuk. Rebekah Whittaker is the assistant director and Veronica Sherry is the stage manager.
Performances are Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 3-5 and Nov. 10-12 at 8 p.m. and matinees at 2 p.m. are set for Saturday, Nov. 12 and Sunday, Nov. 13. Tickets are $21 regular, $18 senior, and $6 for students. Subscribers to three or more plays receive a discounted price of $17 per play for regular subscribers and $15 per play for seniors. The Theatre Arts building is located on South Mountain Avenue in Ashland, next to the Music Recital Hall. For ticket purchases, call (541) 552-6348. For more information, visit sou.edu/theatre.