When Pigpen turned into a germaphobe
Last week’s STF show, Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, blew audiences away with its original portrayals of every form of teen angst possible.
Written by Bert V. Royal, and directed by senior Zoe Drew-King, Dog Sees God transformed the beloved Peanuts comic strip characters into their most troubled high school selves.
From Charlie Brown, called CB and played by senior Billy Krolik, to Schroder, called Beethoven and played by senior Blake Erickson, each of the well-known characters saw their childhood quirks developed into near neuroses.
The entire play was framed as one of the still-unanswered letters that CB is always writing to his penpal.
This time, however, he is telling his penpal the tragic story of Snoopy’s death after he got rabies (and ate Woodstock) and had to be put down.
The centering question of the play comes from CB’s quest to find out what happens after death as he deals with the loss of his dog.
The audience is introduced to each of the now not-so-familiar characters as CB roams through his high school looking for anyone who can give him a comforting definition of the afterlife.
We meet Tricia (better known as Sir, played by senior Ellie Freeman) and Marcy (played by freshman Bennet Roper), who have turned into wild but lost party girls who take shots in the cafeteria during lunch.
There’s Matt, formerly Pigpen, (played by junior Will Putnam) who now religiously applies hand sanitizer and bullies Beethoven mercilessly; we also meet the perpetually high Van (a.k.a. Linus, played by sophomore Mel Schaffer), who falls for CB’s identity-confused little sister (played by senior Jen Bradley).
While searching for the answer to his question, “What do you think happens after we die?” CB encounters one particularly poignant response that highlights the theme of creator and creation interwoven throughout the play. In a conversation with Beethoven in the music room, Beethoven reminds CB, “You know they say a dog sees God in his master.” This answer is the only one that helps CB reconcile his grief at his dog’s death as well as his struggle for identity, as he begins to understand a greater purpose behind death.
Issues of homosexuality and pyromania were intermingled with sly references to the classic cartoon in this compelling STF performance.
The audience was encouraged, in the end, along with CB, to “maintain in your heart all that makes you who you are,” in a final twist that revealed CB’s penpal to be, in fact, his creator, CS. He was reassured that, while messy and sad at times, the beauty of life is enhanced by relationships.