Title: Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead
Author: Bert V. Royal
Summary: An exploration of what happened to the Peanuts characters once they reached adolescence and lost their innocence, Dog Sees God portrays our favorite childhood children as they deal with death, suicide, sexual identity, mental illness, and more.
This play is possibly the most heartbreaking, hilarious, tragic, poignant, and personal play I have ever experienced and probably ever will. It takes everything a teenager could possibly go through and portrays it in a way that isn't rushed or cliche. It is very possible that the combination of discovering your sexual identity and teenage bullying along with the mental illness of a friend and the death of your pet might seem so angsty and dramatic that it becomes trite and cliche. Dog Sees God wasn't this at all. It managed to fit all these horrible things into about fifty pages without seeming melodramatic at all. In fact, they were portrayed with ample charm and humor.
It starts out with the beginning of a letter from CB (aka Charlie Brown) to a pen pal he has been writing to since he was a young boy, but who has never wrote him back. He is talking about all the things that have happened to him in the past. They are written to be performed as monologues in the past tense, and CB starts out by talking about his dog" (who is not named, but we all know it's Snoopy) death from rabies. This gets CB questioning what happens after death. Do dogs go heaven?
The rest of the play takes you through a very short time span - two weeks at most - in which CB's live is completely turned upside down. Throughout this painful adventure, we meet a vaguely familiar cast of characters. A boy with a blanket that was recently burned to break of the habit of carrying it around with him everywhere, a hypochondriac named Matt who was once called Pigpen, CB's little sister who is going through different identities weekly, and a pyro in a mental institution for setting a girl's hair on fire who once had a booth that read "The doctor is in" that charged 10 cents for a psychoanalysis. To a person well-acquainted with Charles Schultz's brilliant series and its characters, these characters are easily recognizable, but you don't need to know their background to be able to enjoy the play. It stands alone perfectly fine.
It is a wonderful portrayal of everything that can possibly go wrong in a person's life, and how it all goes wrong for one poor "blockhead." I don't want to give away too much of the plot, because it is SO SHORT, but this play can be read and adoresd by someone who loves Peanuts just as easily as it can be read and adored by someone who's never heard of the comic. I recommend it to almost anyone and I have no ideas about what could have possibly been done better. The only thing to watch out for is that while it is very non-explicit, things that might upset sensitive people are mentioned.
But all in all, it is the best piece of literature I have read in a very, very long time.