Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, by Bert V. Royal
This play brought a lot to the table, other than just an author with a mysterious middle name. It brought more than simple intrigue upon finding out that Royal’s characters are all tragic teenage versions of your favourite Charlie Brown characters. But, of course, for legal purposes, they probably aren’t. Charlie Brown becomes CB, or Charles B, or Chuck B, a wonderfully ambiguous set of names that the audience probably wouldn’t associate with the lovely childhood comic they love so much, especially when in his first entrance he is telling the audience of his dog’s death. A morbid Charlie Brown tale for CB’s audience, which has also grown to a morbid age. Seems the fitting conclusion that C.S. was never going to write.
The plays deals heavily with depression, dealing with loss, identity, bullying, and homosexuality. It’s a distortion and a Romanization of the insecurities within these childhood heroes; Royal puts these characters through hell so that our hells have something to empathise with. I’m sure one of the characters was written specifically for me, and I’ll be damned if one wasn’t written specifically for you.
All the ambiguous praise aside, I liked it for what it was; it was Charlie Brown if what happened mattered. It was still simple. It was still cute. But it had kick. It wasn’t the most poetic play I’ve read. Or the hardest hitting. Or the funniest, cleverest, anything-est. But it gave me everything I wanted with its concept. And you know, sometimes that’s more than witty exposition and setting fire to the stage.
Scene study with this play would have me looking at two scenes, one for with a male partner, and one a female. The male male scene is a scene between CB and Beethoven (any guesses who this character is?). It’s really a monologue turned fight turned reunion that gives the actors a lot to explore. The male female scene is a reunion turned discovery, filled with lots of clever references to the Peanuts characters we know and love. It doesn’t seem as challenging, but looks mighty rewarding.
"Do you ever feel like you’re not a real person? That you’re the product of someone’s imagination and you can’t think for yourself because you’re really like just some "creation" and that somewhere there’s people laughing every time you fail?"
"People meditate to clear their minds. I don’t get that. I don’t ever want to have a clear mind again."
I have a copy of this I could lend.