Add hormones, saggy pants, and hair in funny places

Add hormones, saggy pants, and hair in funny places

What if the Peanuts gang had their stories documented into high school? Would we finally be able to understand the adults’ speech? Would it be as disappointing as The Rugrats’ All Growed Up? This weekend, Mariana Benjamin went to CUP’s performance to find out.

In the basement of the Diana center, seated in a house packed full of people, we laughed and cried and marveled at the talent displayed by the Columbia University Players in their production of Dog Sees God.  This show is a hyperbolic and hard-hitting portrayal of what could have happened to the beloved characters of the Peanuts comics as they grew up.

The play opens with Gerard Ramm (CC ’13) as a mopey, familiar, and yet remarkably powerful “CB” standing at the funeral of his precious dog.  Throughout the show he is joined by some of his usual playground friends, some immediately recognizable; others entirely transformed.  The play is full of pointed quips, phrases, and implicit Snoopy references, from Sam Mickel, (CC ’14) as the disturbingly convincing homophobic-germaphobe Matt, to Lorenzo Landini (CC ’13) as Van, a massive stoner and a constant source of comic relief.  Other highlighted characters include: Maria Diez (CC ’15) as CB’s sister, who was both laugh-out-loud hilarious and incredibly moving, Stephan Adamow (CC ’15) as the introspective and complicated Beethoven, and Amy Stringer (BC ’13) and Alexis Wilcock (BC ’14), as the obligatory, yet well portrayed, vapid teenage girls.

CB’s existential crisis about the death of his dog leads him to ask all of his friends, “What happens after you die?” This becomes the tie-in through the whole show, and leads the characters down spiraling paths of violence, sex, and eventual suicide.  The show tackles lots of twisted and relevant teenage issues, including bullying, gay-bashing, drugs and parties, and a diagnosed pyromaniac.   Sounds like a barrel of laughs, right?

Perhaps one of the best sequences of the play was a roughly ten minute scene between Gerard as CB and Tessa Slovis (BC ’13) as Van’s Sister. With a mandatory nod to “The Doctor is In,” Slovis brilliantly portrays the mind of a total sociopath, while keeping her choices honest and fresh.

Directed by Tara Pacheco (CC ’13), and put together by a superb production team, the show featured a set full of newspaper comics, and while pretty much hitting the nail on the head with that one, it was simple and didn’t detract from the action on stage.  Overall, Dog Sees God was a great example of just how fucked up teenagers can be, and how everyone’s childhood has to end somewhere.

The young cast via Peanuts Wikia