“Dog Sees Goda�� Makes Bullying Issue Relevant at BHSU
March 21, 2015 • 58 views
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The Black Hills State University theatre department put on a production of “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” by Bert V. Royal Feb. 19-21 at the Blackbox Theater in Pangburn Hall.
It was a humorous production, but it was also an emotional, and even controversial play that turned the subject of bullying and intolerance into a relevant topic for many of those who attended.
The play was a parody of the “Peanuts” cartoon characters created by Charles M. Schulz, but this was no kids’ show. Signs were put up warning that the production contained adult themes and used coarse language. It covered topics such as death, sexual identity, substance abuse, abortion, and suicide, but the overall theme was the consequences of bullying. It had the audience laughing one minute and crying the next.
“Dog Sees God” opened with teenager CB, an allusion to Charlie Brown, reeling over the recent death of his beloved dog, and it ended much the same way it started. As he dealt with death and his sexual identity, his friends dealt with drugs, alcohol, and an aborted pregnancy.
The play was already emotional for many as it broached difficult topics, but especially after Friday’s performance. Several of the cast members and audience goers reported that some attendants that night booed scenes where CB and Beethoven kissed, and they cheered during the scene where Beethoven’s hands were broken.
Several were outraged, including cast member and music major Kirk Hauck who played Beethoven. He personally identified with his character and experienced bullying himself during high school.
“a��There are people that I’m going to school with that — if that happened in real life is that how they would react? Your reaction to — that character, who’s already gone through so much, and to laugh at that and to think that is a good thing — I find that immensely disturbing,” said Hauck.
Music and theater major Matt Adair, who played CB, also felt angry over the actions of some of the audience during Friday’s performance, but was pleased by the overall response of people who attended the play.
“We had so many people come to us after the show in tears and thank us for doing this play and creating a dialogue. I had people I didn’t even know sharing their heartbreak and their stories with us. Maybe those guys learned nothing from the show, but they were only a handful out of over 200 that left taking the messages to heart,” Adair said.
Photography major and recent BHSU graduate Emily Morse, who played Van’s sister, believed that the issue of bullying was still present and needed to be addressed.
“This is a show that I strongly believe needs to be performed over and over,” Morse said. “I really hope the experience of “Dog Sees Goda�� sheds light on the subject of bullying and what we can do to eliminate hatred once and for all.”
Other cast members included Cody Pepitone who played Van, Kassi Blue, who played CB’s sister, Francesca Romano, who played Tricia, Anne Orban, who played Marcy and Kris Monroe who played Matt. The performance was directed by Albert J. Juhrend.