On October 1st The Guild Hall Society will kick off its 2015/16 season with Bert V. Royal’s dark comedy Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead. The play is considered an unauthorized parody of the iconic Peanuts characters created by Charles M. Schulz. The story imagines the gang as teenagers with all the ups, downs and drama that come with growing up. However this is not your run of the mill comic strip.
Anthony Trombetta who is currently in his second year as artistic director with The Guild Hall explains that it has some laugh out loud moments, but, as he puts it “dark things do happen in the show. It’s a raw uncensored look at teenage life.”
Trombetta had known about the play for a while and when he finally read it, and fell in love with the script.
Trombetta also brought back veteran director and actor Clinton Walker to help mold and find a fine balance between the shows humour, darker undertones and personal messages. Walker, who resides in Toronto, is up to the task bringing a true professional theatre experience to the Guild.
“With Clinton, the more experienced actors get a workout and, for those who have never acted before they get a crash course 401 style,” Trombetta says. “He gives a great product… delivers every time.”
Walker, who is directing his sixth show at the Guild, is happy to be back in the Yukon.
“One of the reasons I think I got picked was to really nurture a new crop of students,” Walker says. “Out of the eight actors in the cast, five have never graced the guild hall stage. There’s a great mix of people who are from this neck of the woods and out of the territory.” In a cool nod to The Guild’s 2008 production of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown Kayla Ware will reprise her role as “Lucy,” though her characters and the two shows are vastly different and have no connection to each other.
Content is one of Walker’s major challenges.
“It’s a heightened look at teenage culture, and a very specific portion of teenage culture – they’re all pretty troubled, all really self-involved, that could come in two dimensions,” Walker says. “My challenge is respecting the playwright, but that the same time trying to put some love in these people, ensuring that we have some empathy for them.”
He also decided to set the show in the 1990s, where he feels it was a simpler time to be a teenager.
“There’s something a little more raw about the ‘90s experience, there was an anger that defined them,” Walker says. “Now it’s almost fine to be despondent – irony has seemed to invade today’s teen culture.
“I think it’s important to know that this play is not your average Peanuts, and it’s finding that challenge between campy and fun, and that the audience cares.”
If there’s one message that Clinton would like to convey to everyone is The aim is for Dog Sees God to be a fun, thought provoking work of theatre that is carefully crafted by our community of artists, volunteers, and professionals.
Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead runs October 1-17. For more information go to www.GuildHall.ca