According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.

Friday, December 23, 2005

"Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead," Review by Matt Windman

Life has really changed for the Peanuts gang, according to “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead”: Linus is a burnt out Buddhist, Pigpen is a homophobic quarterback, Lucy is a pyromaniac, Linus is an abused pianist, and Charlie Brown is dealing with sexuality issues.

Bert V. Royal’s play premiered at last year’s Fringe Festival and has now graduated to an open-ended Off-Broadway staging, thanks to a cast of young actors bearing screen credits: Ian Somerhalder (“Lost”), Eddie Kaye Thomas (“American Pie”), Eliza Dushku (“Bring It On”), Ari Gaynor (“Mystic River”), and Logan Marshall Green (“The O.C.”), among others.

But what could have been a fabulously funny five minute skit is actually an amateurish attempt to write an existentialist comedy in the style of “Avenue Q” with hints of teen melodrama. The script is of such a doggerel quality that curse words and sexual references make up about half of the play.

The cast seems to enjoy themselves while making their characters more exaggerated, and Eddie Kay Thomas actually manages to make us care about his portrayal of Charlie Brown as a troubled high school youth. Even so, the play does not succeed in disguising unbearable mediocrity as outrageousness. In fact, fans of the Charlie Brown comic strips are most likely to be offended or bored.

Century Center for the Performing Arts, 111 East 15th Street, 212-239-6200, $25-65. Mon 8pm, Wed-Thurs 8pm, Fri 7 & 10pm, Sat 4 & 8pm, Sun 7pm.

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