Little Theatre of Alexandria Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage BlockheadBy Betsy Marks Delaney • Jul 12th, 2010 • Category: Fringe, Reviews
Little Theatre of Alexandria
Through July 24th
Reviewed July 10th, 2010
The Official Description: Good Grief! CB’s dog died; he asks his friends about the afterlife. Friendships push teen angst to the very limits. Drugs, suicide, eating disorders, teen violence, and sexual identity collide and careen toward an ending that’s both haunting and hopeful.
You may think this quirky, unauthorized parody of the familiar Peanuts kids as seen in their teen years would be filled with humor. You’d be right to a certain extent, but this exceptionally dark Black Comedy/Drama bears only a passing resemblance to its inspiration. Audience members snicker or laugh outright as familiar characters are identified in turn, but the amusement quickly gives way to a growing understanding of the loss of innocence and sometimes horror that comes with growing up in today’s very real world of drugs, self-loathing, sexual identity and more, blown up to comic (and not so comic) proportions.
The play starts when CB, our hero in parallel, laments the passing of his dog. His sister, on first appearance a Goth chick seeking her identity, sets the tone for this realization of youth through the use of clever minimalist settings. We find ourselves at the dog’s funeral, the only guests who can find the time to attend. Through this shattering event, we cross with CB into his present-day world of high school freaks and geeks. We find CB’s Sister, Van, Matt, Beethoven, Tricia, Marcy, and Van’s Sister, (all parallels to well-known characters, presented in vignettes of mingled humor and despair). We also find a path to teen drug use, eating disorders, and suicide. The cast as a whole does an extraordinary job with tough material, especially as it relates to the LGBT community.
There are funny moments to be sure, but the end is a forceful argument for recognizing and diffusing hate, for finding gentler means of self-expression and understanding our differences before they cause harm. This fabulous, tough to watch production made me cry. See it if you can, but be prepared for adult language, situations and violence. This is definitely not a family show.
Directed by William D. Parker, Produced by Jennifer Lyman
Patrick Murphy Doneghy as CB, Allison S. Galen as CB’s Sister, Silvano Melgar as Van, Shawn g. Byers as Matt, Keith J. Miller as Beethoven, Nicole Jacobs as Trish, Kat Sanchez as Marcy, Jennifer Finch as Van’s Sister, Robert King as CB (understudy).
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Betsy Marks Delaney is founder and Artistic Director of OutOftheBlackBox Theatre Company (O2B2) and General Manager of the Greenbelt Arts Center. Since 2006 Betsy has worked as a director, producer, designer and more. Betsy has also worked with Washington Revels, Arena Stage, the now-defunct Harlequin Dinner Theatre and with community theatre companies both in Maryland and in upstate New York. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Technical Theatre from SUNY New Paltz. Through Hawkeswood Productions, Betsy produces archival performance videos and YouTube highlight spots.