Using the fall play in your courses

From Cinse Bonino, Center for Instructional Practice

Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead

Performance dates
November 13-16 at 7:30 PM & NOVEMBER 16 at 2:00 PM
Alumni Auditorium
$10.00/General   $5.00/ Champlain Faculty and Staff
Students free with Champlain College ID
Tickets at the door
email ambermcouture@gmail.com for information

Links about the play
Tropes: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Theatre/DogSeesGod?from=Main.DogSeesGod

Tumblr info: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/dog-sees-god

Free ebook of play: http://www.gobookee.net/dog-sees-god-script/

Overview
In Bert V. Royal’s comic drama, we meet a group of high school students who struggle with the usual challenges—bullying, sexual identity, self- identity, loyalty, deception, and even death. CB, the protagonist, struggles with questions about mortality and life’s purpose after the death of his dog. In questioning who he is, we see how CB sometimes takes his actions to the extreme. By the end, he still doesn’t know the kind of person he would like to be, but he is resolved to figure it out.

Description from DPS site
THE STORY: When CB’s dog dies from rabies, CB begins to question the existence of an afterlife. His best friend is too burnt out to provide any coherent speculation; his sister has gone goth; his ex-girlfriend has recently been institutionalized; and his other friends are too inebriated to give him any sort of solace. But a chance meeting with an artistic kid, the target of this group’s bullying, offers CB a peace of mind and sets in motion a friendship that will push teen angst to the very limits. Drug use, suicide, eating disorders, teen violence, rebellion and sexual identity collide and careen toward an ending that’s both haunting and hopeful.
http://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=3754

The director’s note:
“I do hope you can cover this play in your classes. In synopses that you find you will see a giveaway that these characters are based on the Peanut’s comic strip gang. Although I realize that this fact cannot be completely hidden, my approach to the execution of this play is not to give this fact away freely. I would prefer if the audience figured it out themselves, if at all. If your student’s figure it out during the lessons that is fine, but I would appreciate if they could discover this on their own.”

Suggestions for using the play in your class

Self & Identity/ Psychology; Communication:
·      How do the ways in which our parents or others who knew us when we were young affect how we see ourselves? how they see us now that we are more mature?
·      How do close friendships and shared experiences affect our self-image and the way we see those who are in our close circle of friends?
·      What childhood tendencies have we held onto in our lives? Which ones have been helpful? Which are no longer appropriate but difficult to let go?
·      What are some of the different ways people, especially young adults act out their fears and concerns as they attempt to establish who they are and who they will become? How might this look similar and different at other stages of life?

Western History & Culture:
·      What types of support does our culture provide for teens and early adults as they mature?
·      How has the concept of ‘childhood’ changed over time in Western culture? How is it similar and different in other cultures?
·      How do clichés and other social groups affect adolescence and early adulthood in Western culture?

Human Rights/Social Work:
·      What rights do/should children have?
·      When should children be held responsible for their actions?
·      When should children be allowed to make their own choices in areas such as medical care and religion?
·      Should government or parents dictate what teens can and cannot do in areas such as dress and sexual activity as they ‘discover’ who they are?
·      In your opinion is the discrepancy among the voting, drinking, driving, and marrying age requirements logical or not?
·      Does who we are as children and teens label us and follow us into adulthood? Why or why not?

Writing; Playwriting; Acting:
·      Are we able to be surprised by the identity of the characters in this play? Why or why not? What did the writer and director do or fail to do to achieve this result?
·      What is the main theme of this play? Does it connect to the play’s secret? Would this ‘message’ from the play be as effective without the secret? Why or why not?
·      What do you think the challenges might be of playing the grown-up version of a well-know child character? How might an actor meet these challenges?
·      How would you dress these characters to hint at their identities but not reveal them in an overt way?

Art:
·      Create a sketch or other portrait representation of how a well-known child character or personality might look at a particular point in the future.
·      Create a sketch or other portrait representation of how a well-known character or personality might have looked as a child. Compare your portrait to an actual photograph or portrait.
·      Create a portrait of yourself at a future age.
·      Create a portrait of an adult in your family imagining them at your own age or much older.

Marketing/PR:
·      How could you promote this play in a way that does not give away its secret but hints at it in an enticing manner?
·      What do you see as the main focus of this play? How would you use that to promote it to specific non-profit groups? to specific commercial audiences?

Game Design:
·      What other childhood characters envisioned as teens or young adults might you design a game around? What would happen in the game?
·      How might you use the imagined childhood version of various characters to design a game?
·      How might you use the concept of retooling or upgrading abilities or skills that worked in childhood (lower levels of gameplay) in order to make them effective in upper levels (early adulthood, adulthood, senior years)? How might this look as an action game? As a serious education game?

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