Louisville Repertory Company is changing up its programming with an unauthorized homage to Charles Schulz’s Peanuts gang. Bert V. Royal’s play “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” re-imagines the Peanuts characters as confused high schoolers. Names are changed, but the characters are still recognizable.
“Van” is a stoner who smoked the last scraps of his beloved blanket. “CB” is still a blockhead, but now he’s questioning his sexuality and possibly in love with his piano-playing classmate. Good grief.
“It’s Charlie Brown, but it’s Charlie Brown plus ten years, and thankfully it felt familiar,” says Todd Ziegler, who plays CB. “I’m hoping I can convey the Charlie Brown people will remember, and there are a few moments in there everyone will recognize. I say 'good grief' at least once.”
He says even though the play is irreverent, it’s as much of a tribute as a parody.
“It’s a very extreme take on the characters. It deals with a lot of things that I don’t think Charles Schulz ever got into, like questions of sexuality, teenage identity and issues of abuse and drug use and things like that,” says Ziegler.
Louisville Rep typically stages 20th century classics like “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Arsenic and Old Lace.” Ziegler says “Dog Sees God” is an experiment of sorts for the company, to see if a newer play based on familiar subjects can be as successful as an old favorite.
Direceted by Natalie Fields, “Dog Sees God” opens Thursday and runs through August 25 at The Bard's Town.