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‘Peanuts’ characters grown up in Drake production

On Sept. 29, the small cast of “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” will take the stage as it imitates the original characters from the Peanuts cartoon.

“I think ‘Dog Sees God’ is a great show about finding our true identity, and I think that the message is really powerful,” junior Kent Reynolds said. Reynolds will play Charlie Brown in the play. “I think my favorite part about theatre is its ability to take an audience on a journey and seeing the impact that journey has on them.”

Drake University Theatre’s production of “Dog Sees God” was written by Bert V. Royal in 2004 and is directed by Dr. Michael Rothmayer, associate professor of acting, directing and history.

The story takes place in a contemporary high school and addresses drug use, suicide, eating disorders, teen violence, rebellion and sexual identity. Charlie Brown questions what happens after people die when his dog dies from rabies. He continues to struggle with finding himself.

“The cool thing about ‘Dog Sees God’ is that the Peanuts characters are older in it,” Reynolds said. “They are in high school, so it is fun for the actors to expand on the characters that everyone knows and loves and make them more realistic and accessible.”

This will be first-year Kailey Hopkins’ debut on the Drake stage as she plays Tricia York, better known as Peppermint Patty.

“It’s extremely exciting in general to be in the show, but to be the only freshman is so much fun, mostly because I learn so much from Dr. Rothmayer as well as the upperclassmen,” Hopkins said. “I have learned so much being around everyone, and I love every second of it.”

The characters are identifiable with the original Peanuts cast but with a twist. Charlie Brown’s sister Sally has gone goth; his ex-girlfriend has been institutionalized; and most shocking of all Matt, otherwise known as “Pig-Pen,” is a germaphobe. Other characters like Van, or Linus, have fallen into the world of alcohol, drugs and partying.

“Charlie Brown is such an iconic character, and I am really excited that I get to play him, although it is kind of terrifying to be playing a character that is so well recognized all around the world,” Reynolds said.

Hopkins said she is excited about her role as Peppermint Patty.

“I am Tricia in the show,” Hopkins said. “She is very insecure but masks it by being mean to a girl named Frieda. She also speaks of how popular she is and how pretty she is when she is really overcompensating for her own insecurities.”

This show is recommended for mature audiences only.  It contains adult content, strong language and the use of non-tobacco cigarettes.

“Dog sees God” performances start on Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. and run through Oct. 1, and there is an additional show at 2 p.m. on Oct. 2, in the Studio Theatre at the Harmon Fine Arts Center.

Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and senior citizens and $1 for students with a Drake ID. Tickets can be reserved by calling the Drake Fine Arts box office at (515) 271-3841.

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