When it premiered in 2004, Bert V. Royal’s Dog Sees God weathered an early legal flap over two lines of Peanuts®-infringing dialogue, but it hasn’t had to look over its shoulder (legally speaking) since.
On the other hand, South Park and Judd Apatow’s movies may have earned at least a little love here since this play owes so much to their sophomoric, raunchy aesthetic. (Which is to say, it’s funny.)
But then, as Samuel Beckett once wrote, “Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.” And Beckett’s estate might also be due a shout out from Dog. (Which is to say, it’s not just funny, but weirdly bipolar.)
This story, directed by JC Conway at the Footlight Players Theatre, begins with CB agonizing to his long-lost Pen Pal that his faithful dog had to be put down after going rabid and lunching on the Little Yellow Bird.
The loss hits him hard. “Where is God?” CB asks. It’s a noble impulse, this existential quest, but one that collapses the moment CB steps outside himself and into his frantic little world. Starting with the dog’s funeral.
Since none of CB’s friends bothered to show up, CB and his Sister try to improvise a memorial service, which instantly smacks head-on into their sibling rivalry. The play shifts gears into comic relief.
Throughout, Dog Sees God sprints most confidently in its Superbad mode. Foul-mouthed, trashy frat humor is home turf.
Dog See God has a great time swinging a wrecking ball at our memories of the comic-strip crew.
These teenagers party, drink at school, smoke dope, horizontally mambo, survive incestuous rape, even set fire to one another, and go to prison.
One more thing: We remember the scene in last fall’s production in which a silhouetted cast danced up a storm to the instantly nostalgia-inducing “Linus & Lucy.”
It was one moment in Dog See God that felt like the play stopped poking you in the eye and humbly doffed its hat to its cartoon inspiration.