Guest Director, Maggie Balsley, Brings Parody to the Hilltop
West Liberty students will direct and stage a contemporary play, Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, by Bert V. Royal, at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 21-23 and 3 p.m., Feb. 24.
Adjunct professor Maggie Balsley is the guest director for the production. Balsley, a resident of Washington, Pa., is active in the Pittsburgh arts community and its “Off the Wall” theater.
“This play is a parody that imagines characters from the popular comic strip Peanuts as teenagers. It is more than a story of teenage angst. It uses familiar characters in another context and places them in the harrowing position of today’s minefield of horrors. The play uses humor and even a touch of violence but ends with the thought that we shouldn’t despair. That in spite of all appearances it’s best to welcome life rather than cower and hide from it,” Balsley said.
The play begins with the character CB’s dog dying from rabies. CB begins to question the existence of an afterlife. His best friend Van is too burnt out to provide any coherent speculation; his sister has gone Goth; his ex-girlfriend, Marcy, was institutionalized; and his other friends are too inebriated to give him any sort of solace.
But a chance meeting with an artistic kid, Beethovan, 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.
“This play has proven one of the most popular of our season. The kids started getting excited about working on this play the minute they heard rumor that we might produce it. Most of the theatre majors bought copies of the script months ago to prepare for the audition,” said Michael Aulick, WLU theater director.
“Having Maggie come in and direct has been great for the program. She pushes them in ways that I don’t. She makes this program stronger and I am very glad we have been able to work her talents into the season,” he added.
West Liberty students in the cast include:
- CB, Derek Park, Wheeling
- CB’s Sister, Maggie Dillon, Athens, W.Va.
- Van, Andy Harper, Williamstown, W.Va.
- Van’s Sister, Meaghan Macey, Bunker Hill, W.Va.
- Beethoven, Mack Kale, Moundsville, W.Va.
- Matt, Carlito Gilchrist, Wheeling
- Tricia, Maura Reiff, Martinsburg, W.Va.
- Marcy, Alexandria Glotfelty, Cumberland, Md.
Technical Director for the production is Meta Lasch.
“Dog Sees God,” may not be appropriate for all ages due to language and subject matter. To make a reservation, please call 304-336-8277. To purchase tickets online, visit htpdogseesgod.brownpapertickets.com.