Dog Sees God Captures Pain of Teen Bullying

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Zach Hatch and Jesse Reyes in “Dog Sees God.”

A powerful, visceral tale of teen bullying, Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead contains excellent acting and production work as it reveals the self-hatred of a group of young high school students. The play forcefully presents the consequences of contemporary events by playing off the memories of well known children’s characters.

CB (Zack Hatch) mourns over the loss of his dog and turns to his family and friends for comfort. He realizes that most are lost in angst, and finds a like minded soul in old friend Beethoven (Jesse Reyes). Will they be authentic to their souls or subsume their identities to remain part of the clique?

The play engenders strong emotions with its presentation of the lost teenagers: nihilistic, brooding and self-sabotaging. They abuse both themselves and others, with homosexuality the ultimate sin.

The cast is excellent, led by the strong performance of Hatch as CB: ironic, understated and introspective. Adam Epelbaum (Van), Reyes, Chiari Russi (CB’s sister) and Mary Neely (Van’s sister) also give fine performances.

Director Travis Donnelly builds an energetic flow to the play, keeping it light and moving at the beginning before heavier subject matter gets mixed into the proceedings.

Donnelly also crafts a lean, sleek look to the production, with lighting and sound enhancing the mood as well.

While the show packs an emotional wallop, it is definitely for adult audiences only, containing graphic language, sexual situations and implied drug use.

The Askew Theatre Company presents Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. through April 17 at the Avery Schreiber Theatre located at 11050 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. Tickets cost $15. Call (323) 960-7745 or visit www.plays411.com/dogseesgod.

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