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'Dog Sees God' to be performed Oct. 27-30

Nick Munson
10/13/2011
The Monmouth College theatre department will present Bert V. Royal’s dark comedy “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead,” Oct. 27 – 29 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 30 at 2 p.m. in the WIT Studio Theatre.

Tickets are $6 for adults; $5 for students and senior citizens; and $4 for MC students, faculty and staff. They may be reserved by calling 309-457-2104 or by e-mailing theater@monm.edu. An experimental black-box theatre, the WIT is located on the lower level of the Haldeman-Thiessen Science Center.

In 2004, “Dog Sees God” was one of the breakout hits at the New York International Fringe Festival, winning the Excellence Award for Best Overall Production. Royal’s play pulls the audience through a world of drug use, suicide, underage drinking, pyromania, eating disorders, teen violence, rebellion, love and the search for of one’s sexual identity. These difficult topics stream through characters who show surprising similarities to members of the beloved Peanuts gang, created by the late Charles Schulz.

When CB, played by Mike Bennett of Monmouth, has to put down his beloved dog, he starts to question the existence of an afterlife. He asks his friends and family – played by Chase Mowery of Fairbury, Nicholas Munson of Moline, Allyson Frazier of Schaumburg, Kady Patterson of Geneseo, Ivy Bekker of Bloomington and Colleen Sinclair of Arlington Heights – what they think awaits us after death, but he receives no real comfort due to their own unique issues. But a chance reconnection with his old friend Beethoven, played by Marcus Bailey of Knoxville, gives him peace of mind. Through Beethoven, CB becomes the target of bullying, and Beethoven and CB’s friendship eventually turns into something more.

Students in the college’s Theatre Repertory Company course, who are all theatre majors or minors, are in charge of the production and each has been assigned a major responsibility.

“This show was chosen because it combines dark issues that speak to your soul with moments of hilarity that will have you rolling in the aisles,” said assistant professor of theatre Janeve West.

“The characters have passed puberty with a vengeance, and have to cope with the issues of becoming adults: acting on our identity; integrating death into life; discrimination and understanding the incomprehensible genesis of violence,” wrote a critic from the fringe festival.

“This intimate mood makes the show a perfect fit for the intimate space that is the WIT Studio Theatre,” added West.

A series of discussions and events hosted by a variety of student organizations will be held on conjunction with “Dog Sees God.” A night of coming-out stories told by professors and students will be held on campus at The Underground at 7 p.m. on Oct. 19. On Oct. 27, audience members are invited to stay for a post-show Q&A with the cast and crew, and there will be a pre-show discussion on the topic of teen suicide at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 28 at 6:30. Cindy Beadles, MC’s director of counseling services, will host the latter event.

Due to adult language and situations, viewer discretion is advised.