“Peanuts” characters mature in “Dog Sees God”

Cast member Abby Lewis, left, and director Ian Wells, right.
Cast member Abby Lewis, left, and director Ian Wells, right. Alyssa Brown / The Watchdog

Stage Fright Productions will be performing the play “Dog Sees God” for the first production of spring quarter. “Dog Sees God” will run from April 13 to April 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Stop Gap Theatre. Originally written by Bert V. Royal, the play is a dark parody of Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip, showing the main characters as teenagers struggling through themes like death, drugs and identity.

The play uses different names for each of the center characters from “Peanuts,” most of them being similar to or parodies of the originals. In the stage production, CB – played by Drew Brady – is Charlie Brown and Van – played by Hayden Wires – is Linus. Each of the characters’ personalities also have a bleak spin on them, creating a much darker premise for the play. Bellevue College’s production is directed by Ian Wells, who was chosen by the members of Stage Fright to direct a production of his choice.

“Dog Sees God [is] a great way to appreciate the Peanuts as they get a little older and a little angstier while still keeping all of the charm that made these characters so lovable in the first place,” said Abby Lewis, who will be playing CB’s sister in the production. “A huge theme in this show is death and how people cope with grief.”

“While it makes these lovable children into frightening adolescents, it retains a level of nostalgia and social commentary,” said Drew Brady on the show’s theme. “I think while the show is enhanced by some of the “Peanuts” nostalgia, the conflicts and resolutions of the characters can stand on their own without the references. Each of the characters possess the essence of their “Peanuts” origins, but face the dim realities of the teenage and adult world.”
“They’ve done so much research into their characters,” said Tori Cooper, costumer for the play. “It’s interesting to see people’s reactions to them in a more adult setting.”

“I feel like the subject matter will make the audience feel uncomfortable, which is totally intentional and normal. I am also anticipating the audience may not like the interpretations of some of their most beloved childhood characters because they don’t turn out to be very great human beings, but the ending of the show is so moving and powerful that I think any dissatisfied audience members will be won over.” said Brady.

Lewis also said she is looking forward to how people will react to the ending of the show. “Even reading it is enough to elicit a strong response, and the first time I saw it blocked I got chills. The audience is in for a big surprise.”

All of the cast and crew of “Dog Sees God” are a part of Stage Fright Productions, a program that provides a more in depth experience for BC students to write, direct and learn new skills about theatre and performing arts.

General admission tickets for “Dog Sees God” are on sale online for $5 via Brown Paper Tickets through the Bellevue College website.