Everyone knows, or has at least heard of, the Peanuts cartoons and comics starring Charlie Brown, his beagle Snoopy, and his group of friends Linus, Lucy, and Peppermint Patty. However, in Citamard Players’ first show of the season, “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead,” director Joseph Brice and writer Bert Royal present the Peanuts Gang experiencing the pressure of teenage and high school life with hilarious and surprising results.
As the show starts, it becomes apparent that the lives and personalities of these characters have been turned upside down within the past ten years. Charlie “CB” Brown (Peter Ferraiolo) is getting over the loss of his beloved dog Snoopy, who was infected with rabies and killed his bird companion Woodstock as a result. Sally (Bri Kozier), Charlie Brown’s once perky and ditzy little sister, is now a gothic poet who can not seem to decide if she wants to be a Wiccan or a Christian. Linus (Aaron Dake), Charlie Brown’s philosophical best friend who always carried around a blue blanket, is now a stoner who tries to comfort the grieving CB by telling him about Buddhist belief of reincarnation after death. Peppermint Patty (Ashley Harmon) and Marcy (Christine Furey) have grown to be pair of promiscuous and insecure party girls. Linus’s sister Lucy (Christina Rivera) is now a convicted arsonist who still manages to give life advice for a nickel from behind bars. Shroeder (Josh Dorshiemer), or as he’s now called “Beethoven,” though still a brilliant pianist, has become an outcast at school because of his sexuality. The once dirty Pigpen “Matt” (Jeffrey Wolfthal) is now a germaphobe, homophobe, and bully at school.
However, it also showed that some things never do change, even for the Peanuts Gang. CB still gets depressed when things don’t go the way he wanted them to, Marcy still occasionally calls Peppermint Patty “sir,” Linus still manages to be pretty philosophical, even when he’s high, and CB’s little sister is still boy-crazy, especially for Beethoven.
The best part of this show, besides the clever concept and humor, was the actors and how well they presented their characters and played off of each other. Ferraiolo played CB with confused teenage angst but still stayed true to the insecure but hopeful blockhead that everyone knows and loves. His character hooks up with and forms a deep but fragile relationship with Beethoven, and he and Dorshiemer handled their scenes together very well. Harmon and Furey provided some of the funniest scenes in the show as their characters get drunk at school, gossip about girls they hate, and ponder the invention of sporks. Rivera only appeared in one other scene besides the ending scene, but her scene was definitely memorable. She plays the once bossy Lucy as a zany and crazy pyromaniac who can still be very insightful, especially when giving CB advice about his relationship with Beethoven.
Despite its hilariously angsty humor, “Dog Sees God” ends on tragic and shocking note, and the characters are faced with a moral about growing up. They are all trying to figure out who they are in life, but deep down they are still the same kids they were ten years ago. They need to remember what made them unique and quirky when they were younger, because that is part of what makes them who they are today.
Overall, “Dog Sees God” was a solid season opener for Citamard. It went from wacky and funny one minute to somber and dramatic the next, and delivered both belly laughs and a relatable message. The concept of seeing children characters in TV series as adults and teenagers can be a bit of a cliché, but Citamard handles it very successfully with its edgy humor, the unique twist it gave to each character, and the talented cast and production team.