By Katelyn Masserelli
Making the dreaded transition from high school to college can be a freshman’s worst nightmare. Will I be able to make friends? Can I handle the workload? Most importantly, how am I going to make an impact at my new school? For freshman musical theatre major Maeve Osgood, the dreaded first-year status did not stop her from pursuing what she loves: theatre.
Over this semester, Osgood took on directing a play written by Bert V. Royal called Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, which is based off the popular cartoon Charlie Brown after the characters grow up. She is working alongside assistant director and fellow freshman musical theatre major Skylar Rosenthal and faculty advisor Aaron Walker.
The main character CB, who is played by senior musical theatre major Bradley Roberts,tries to seek consolation from friends after his dog dies. He is reintroduced to his old friend Beethoven, played by sophomore advertising/public relations and theatre major Spencer Hubbard. The two high school students create controversy throughout their school when they strike up a same-sex relationship.
“The play speaks to a lot of current social issues,” Osgood said. “The characters are relatable because each has their own personal issues. I wanted to do something real that would speak to my audience.”
When first starting rehearsals with the cast, Osgood and Rosenthal were adamant on how they wanted the characters portrayed. They want real reactions from their cast in the performances.
“We didn’t want [the cast] to act,” Rosenthal said. “We wanted them to be raw and to personalize their performances for the audience, so they can see real people with real issues. The play has many different aspects and messages for different people.”
Osgood has been able to not only pull together a piece relevant for viewers, but also work with a cast with upperclassmen and some underclassmen. Though hesitant at first, the cast and crew came together for the sole purpose of telling Royal’s story for UT students.
“[Osgood] attacked this whole project with such vigor and enthusiasm that it has really blossomed and she’s been such a strong backbone the whole time,” Roberts said.
She may make it look easy, but with much dedication to making her production ready for opening night, she sacrificed any free time she had for rehearsals and preparations for the play’s debut.
“When I wasn’t at rehearsals, class or doing schoolwork, I was working on the play,” Osgood said.
Her dedication to her production stems from her love for the theatre. Growing up, she had a passion for performing and singing. In only her junior year of high school she was directing a school play for her advanced theatre class. The experience she gained in high school is helping her now in college with the play’s production.
Faculty advisor Walker was able to help Osgood and Rosenthal secure the Cass Building’s Black box on campus for the play to be shown in and give Osgood direction on not only leading a cast, but leading a cast containing mostly older students.
“[Walker] wants us to succeed,” Rosenthal said, “He has taken time out of his busy schedule because he is just as passionate about the project as we are.”
According to Rosenthal, this will be the first time a completely live student production will be shown at the Black Box. Osgood preferred this location because of the more intimate atmosphere needed for the play.
“We’re hoping the audience never feels the need to look down at their playbill,” Rosenthal said. “We want them to be so engaged in the play and the characters that they never feel the need to look down.”
Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead will be performed March 25 and 26 at 7pm at Cass Building’s Black box. Door will open at 6:30 p.m. and admission is free.
Katelyn Massarelli can be reached at email@example.com.
CORRECTION: The headline both in print and online originally read “Musical” however Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead is a play. This was corrected on 3/26. The Minaret apologizes for the discrepancy.