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February 4, 2015

Imagine Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang as anguished teenagers. The Drexel Co-Op Theatre Company will stage a production of DOG SEES GOD: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, an irreverent, yet poignant drama that conceives the teenaged Charlie Brown and his friends as real people dealing with complex issues. The play, which opens Friday, February 13 at 8:00pm in the Black Box Theater (3401 Filbert Street), follows the gang through explorations of sexual identity, self, and social hierarchy. Digging deeply, it deals with such difficult topics such as drug use, suicide, eating disorders and teen violence.

A dark parody written by Bert V. Royal, DOG SEES GOD first premiered Off-Broadway in 2005. “The play is about finding faith in oneself to get up every morning and live authentically in the world. The ride is bumpy. It’s not the smoothest or the straightest path, but this play is ultimately about having hope that things will get better,” said Bill Fennelly, the play’s director and Theatre professor. A New York Times review called the play “…a welcome antidote to the notion that the “Peanuts” gang provides merely a slice of American cuteness, perfect for Hallmark cards or Broadway musicals. For while there are many winks to fans, the spirit of the play has as much in common with “Peanuts” as it does with the view of high school as a Darwinian hell (presented in movies like Heathers and Mean Girls).”

Audience members will be ushered individually into the Black Box and given a handwritten letter from a “pen pal.” The heartfelt letter sets the tone for the play and explains how audience members can participate, including by adding their own graffiti to the show’s set. “The idea is for the audience to engage in a way that’s deeply personal to them,” Fennelly says.

Despite an irreverent tone, The Co-Op Theatre Company’s production intends to establish a wider and sincere reach across the Drexel community, launching a conversation about issues that are difficult to discuss but which have touched the lives of nearly everyone in some way. The playbill will include information about the Drexel counseling center among other organizations and resources for anyone affected by the issues raised in the play.

A preview performance will take place on February 12 at 8:00pm, followed with opening night on February 13 and showtimes on February 14 and 19-21, all at 8:00pm; as well as a matinee on February 15 at 2:00pm. Click here to buy tickets, which are $5 for Drexel students/faculty/staff with ID; $10 for non-Drexel students; and $15 General Admission. Purchasing tickets in advance is highly encouraged, as seating is limited and may sell out. The play contains mature subject matter not suitable for young children.

Drexel’s Co-Op Theatre Company engages students from across the University in presenting a wide variety of productions each year. Students participate in all aspects of theatre production and performance, including acting, directing, design, costumes, lighting, sets, sound, publicity and box office. Auditions occur in the spring and the beginning of each fall term for incoming students, with scholarships available.