On Mar. 29, the upper-level students of the Theatre program will be presenting Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Block Head as the focus of their annual fundraising gala. This year, the gala benefits the Central Island Chapter of the MS Society of Canada and the Mike Monych Scholarship Fund. Tickets are $30 each, or $50 for a pair. Doors open at 6 p.m., and guests will enjoy appetizers and pre-show entertainment before the play begins at 8 p.m.
James Gibson, who plays Mattor, Pig Penand who also runs public relations for the show, tells me that the play, written by Bert V. Royal, is an unauthorized parody of the cartoon strip Charlie Brown, minus the innocence. “After his dog dies from rabies, Charlie Brown [CB]. . .begins to question the existence of an afterlife and the decisions he has made. His newly Buddhist best friend is too burnt out for any sort of coherent thought, his ex-girlfriend is incarcerated, his sister can’t decide on a personality, and the rest of his friends are too obsessed with sex, drugs, and partying to give any sort of solace. But after CB runs into the school freakan artistic, soft soulhe begins to reconsider his path in life and change the person he has become.”
Gibson says that the show’s director, Kieran Hunt, picked this play, and that the class subsequently voted to stage it because of the questionable material it explores. “At the beginning of the year we have three people bring forth ideas for shows. We pick shows that are beneficial to the theatre, are good budget-wise, and then the whole upper-level production class votes on it. This one was chosen because it has some fairly questionable material that is really fun to work with. And it’s kind of just something we can sink our teeth into.” Gibson stresses that the show’s content is for mature audiences because, “it is fairly inappropriate. But it’s got an amazing message. It’s a very sad play but it’s very inspirational.”
According to Gibson, the students chose to donate half of the proceeds of this event to the MS Society, “because our director [Hunt], his father actually has MS, and so they work really closely with the organization and they suggested it. We wanted to do something that hadn’t been done yet at the school and [Hunt] suggested MS and we were all on board.” The other half of the proceeds go towards the Mike Monych Scholarship, which was created by the family of a theatre student who passed away a couple of years ago. The scholarship benefits first-year theatre students who show leadership and initiative.
Besides the opening gala event, Dog Sees God will also be shown on Mar. 30 and 31. Tickets for these showings are $10 for students/seniors, and $12 for adults. Tickets for all showings are available at the VIU Bookstore.