“Dog See’s God,” which begins its run at The Rafter’s Theater this week, follows the journey of teenagers in high school, and the up’s and down’s of growing up. The play, which is set in the late 1990s and early 2,000s deals with controversial topics including drug abuse, eating disorders, and suicide. Millersville alum: Jeff Wolfthal, who is directing Dog Sees God, says that “The whole reason to do a play with these controversial topics is to start a conversation… and to let people know that these topics are real and do happen.”
Although the play is dark by nature, Wolfthal states “If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or drug abuse, this play is here to show you that you are not the only one struggling.” Student stage manager Jordan Rippon also believes that, “It is not even a struggle to relate to the characters in this play, because everyone knows what it is like to face loss and even go through high school.” Even though the play is now 17 years old, the themes, according to Rippon and Wolfthal, still are “shockingly relevant today.”
Along with h being a contemporary drama, “Dog Sees God” also boasts its fair share of comedy. Since graduating from Millersville in 2011, Wolfthal has worked as a teacher, has run a school drama program, and now works as a professional actor and director in Lancaster. He was excited to come back to Millersville to bring his knowledge and experience to the students.
Wolfthal, who has directed and acted in mostly comedic productions, believes that comedy gives audiences a chance to laugh at the punch lines in the play while also giving them a chance to reflect upon the show on a deeper level. Wolfthal encourages the audience to look past the coarse language and instead focus on its intent in the scene.
One of Wolfthal’s main goals as the director of “Dog Sees God” is to make sure all of the controversial material and coarse language cames from a genuine and honest place. This may seem like a tough task for student actors, but Wolfthal and Rippon both assured that these student actors are doing work that is at the level of “professionals.”
“Dog Sees God” is promised to be unlike any play Millersville has done; it is extremely controversial and truly takes advantage of the freedom of college theater. According to Rippon, “Nothing in the play is sugar-coated.” Wolfthal, when looking for shows to direct at Millersville, wanted to bring a play into the Millersville community community that was non-traditional and groundbreaking.
With “Spring Awakening” and now “Dog Sees God,” Millersville continues to offer contemporary and challenging works of theater. “Dog Sees God,” which runs at Rafters Theater from February 24th- March 5th, promises to be another landmark production that not only will advance Millersville’s thriving theater community, but will also enlighten the public of this school.
Tickets for Dog Sees God are available in advance in The SMC for MU students for $5. Millersville students can buy tickets at the door for $7 with their student ID. Tickets are also $10 for adults. This is a production that is not to be missed.