Dog Meets God offers unforgettable moments, showcases next generation of Whitehorse acting talent

How to describe the Guild's new production of Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead? Think of it as a comedic cross between a Charlie Brown special and the Breakfast Club.

How to describe the Guild’s new production of Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead?

Think of it as a comedic cross between a Charlie Brown special and the Breakfast Club, viewed with teen-dysfunction lenses instead of 3D glasses.

It was a great night out at the Guild. There were a lot of laughs, a bit of nostalgia about watching Charlie Brown specials on CBC North when I was a kid, and more than a few deep thoughts to keep chewing on the next day.

I won’t spare the spoilers since – unfortunately for you if you missed it – the play closed last Saturday.

Bert Royal’s screenplay highlights how tough it is to be a teenager by taking the characters you recognize from Peanuts and putting them in a modern high school. It is immediately obvious we’ve left Charlie Brown Christmas Special territory when the play opens with CB and his teen-goth sister mourning the death of Snoopy, who had to be put down after getting rabies and eating his little-yellow-bird friend Woodstock.

The characters in the play go by different names than the Peanuts characters, presumably since the owners of the Peanuts copyright weren’t keen on their comic strip being associated with teen sex and marijuana. But the characters are immediately recognizable and, to keep it simple, I’ll go by the names you’re familiar with.

I especially enjoyed seeing the next generation of Whitehorse actors hit the stage. As much as I like seeing my own high-school vintage on the community-theatre stage (I won’t be forgetting James McCullough taking his shirt off during a saucy scene in Chicago any time soon!), it was inspiring to see current high school actors put on such vivid performances.

Brooke Fusick, a current F.H. Collins student, was hilariously alarming as hard-drinking and sex-crazed party girl Peppermint Patty. She and her buddy Marcie (Kayleigh Poelman, also from F.H. Collins) delivered their one-liners with perfect timing, pausing only to top up their chocolate milks in the school cafeteria with vodka.

Ben Soprovich projects a zen-like calm as stoner-philosopher Linus. Kayla Dewdney also does a fine job as Lucy, balancing the need to give sage advice to CB while demonstrating the reason why CB can only get that advice by visiting her in a secure psychiatric facility (she set the Little Red-Haired Girl’s hair on fire).

The play revolves around CB and Schroeder. Indeed, the surprise kiss between CB and Schroeder is another Guild image I won’t be forgetting. I was thinking that Kevin Ray, a Whitehorse newcomer, was doing a good job playing the slightly puzzled straight man that I remembered from Charlie Brown specials. Then the word “straight” took on a different meaning.

Schroeder is played by Loughran Thorson Looysen, also a high school student new to the Guild stage. I’ve seen him on other stages before, and he has matured impressively as an actor. His character is a childhood friend of the others, who is now shunned and bullied by them.

Ben Moffatt faced the challenge of acting the role of Pigpen, a homophobic jock, when he witnesses CB and Schroeder kissing. Since he was as scary as one of my classmates when another came out of the closet back in the day, I think Moffatt passed the test.

Schroeder’s suicide after Pigpen’s homophobic assault brought a profound silence over the audience. I think everyone was thinking about what they did or didn’t do in situations in their own pasts. When CB protests that he never bullied Schroeder, the latter reminds him that he didn’t do anything to stop it either.

The weakest part of the play is perhaps at the end, when the characters turn to the audience and give anti-bullying messages. It seemed more like a government-mandated empathy workshop than drama.

But it is an important message, so why not deliver it with a sledgehammer?

Kudos to director Clinton Walker and artistic director Anthony Trombetta for finding such a superb cast and putting on such a riveting show. I’m looking forward to the Guild’s next production. If you don’t have your tickets for Twelfth Night yet, you should buy them now.

Keith Halliday is a Yukon economist and author of the MacBride Museum’s Aurore of the Yukon series of historical children’s adventure novels. He won this year’s Ma Murray award for best columnist. You can follow him on Channel 9’s Yukonomist show.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, electionsyukon.ca has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

Yukon NDP leader Kate White, surrounded by socially distanced candidates, announces her platform in Whitehorse on March 29. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Kate White and the Yukon NDP Platform

A detailed look at the NDP platform and Kate White’s leadership campaign this election

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Sandy Silver announces the territorial election in Whitehorse. Silver is seeking a second term as premier and third term as Klondike MLA. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Getting to know Sandy Silver and the Yukon Liberal platform

Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver is vying for a second term as… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks to media in Whitehorse on October 30, 2020. Hanley is now encouraging Yukon to continue following health regulations, noting it could still be some time before changes to restrictions are made. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
No active COVID cases in Yukon

Hanley highlights concerns over variants, encourages vaccinations

Most Read