WKU theatre takes on an ‘unauthorized parody’

Miles Schroader

Rehearsal has begun for director Scott Stroot and his cast of WKU students in the play “Dog Sees God.” The play is an “unauthorized parody” written by Bert V. Royal that follows teen-aged versions of characters based on the comic strip “Peanuts.”

Stroot said when deciding what play to direct, he chose “Dog Sees God” because of its roles for both male and female actors, the target age and the relevance of a beloved old cartoon in “Peanuts.”

The play never uses the names of the actual “Peanuts” characters, and neither Charles Schultz, nor United Features Syndicate have any affiliation with the making of it.

The characters go through issues such as bullying, depression, homophobia, drug and alcohol abuse and violence during the play. Even as the characters face serious issues, humor plays a big role throughout.

“This is not the play to bring grandma to,” Sheperdsville freshman Matthew Kerman said.

Kerman plays “Van” in the play, who is inspired by “Linus.” He explained that he has played “Linus” before in high school, and this role is completely different because of how much darker it is.

“It’s really a special show,” Hope Pauly, a junior from Villa Hills, said. “It’s definitely a comedy; but that doesn’t mean there’s not very serious topics. The humor juxtaposed with the themes it represents is definitely going to entertain. But, when people leave the theater, I hope that people make some changes in their lives due to what they saw.”

Pauly plays “Tricia” in the play, who is inspired by “Peppermint Patty.”

Stroot said there is language in the play that some might find offensive. He said that this play is for mature audiences who aren’t afraid to be presented with mature language and situations. Viewer discretion is advised.

There are only eight characters in the play, and Stroot said 81 people auditioned. This meant he was faced with difficult decisions when casting.

“I felt really blessed that I was one of the eight chosen,”  Kerman said. “It’s been a dream role of mine since sophomore year of high school. I didn’t really expect to get it since I’m a freshman, so I’m really excited.”

Louisville freshman Becca Willenbrink  who plays “Marcy” in the play, inspired by “Marci,” explained the cast has become close because of the intensity and vulnerability of the subject matter in the show.

“I want the audience to get sucked in and really enjoy the play,” Stroot said. “I want them to enjoy the humor, but also to be moved by the very real situations that these kids find themselves in.”

The play will be held Feb. 23 through Feb. 28 in the Lab Theatre of Gordon Wilson Hall.

Reporter Miles Schroader can be reached at 270-745-6288 and [email protected]