The Tech Players kicked off their spring season Feb. 11 with the opening of “Dog Sees God.”
The story takes the beloved characters of Charlie Brown, matures them to teenagers, and throws them into high school. Charlie, Linus, Peppermint Patty, and Pig Pen all are there, trying to find their identity and a place in the world around them. Former Tech student Joe Clark is directing the show, while Mark Creter, artistic director of the Backdoor Playhouse, oversees the production as producer.
Due to ongoing renovations of the Jere Whitson Building and the Backdoor Playhouse, the Tech Players are currently performing at the Cookeville Performance Arts Center, located on the corner of Broadway and Walnut Avenue.
“Since CPAC was already doing a production the week before, we had four days to rehearse inside the auditorium we would be performing in,” said Creter.
Rehearsals started in December in the newly renovated Talon Theatre inside Foundation Hall.
“CPAC has been very welcoming and was ready for our Sunday move-in. They are also taking care of all ticket sales and concessions, which has allowed to focus solely on the show,” said Creter.
“Dog Sees God” features returning Tech Players Matthew Hooper, Rachel Mayes, Trenton Nash, Braden Wahl, and Samia Anderson. New to the Tech Players this season is Sy Matlock, who is playing the part of Charlie Brown’s sister.
“I have always loved the stage,” said Matlock. “I did performances throughout my high school career and loved every second of it. I found out about the auditions from a great friend of mine and cast mate Trenton Nash, and I was thrilled to even get the chance to audition.”
Despite being new to the ensemble, Matlock says she has felt right at home since rehearsals began.
“I have never been around such uplifting and encouraging people. These people have worked with each other for years and they took me in like I was a part of their theater family,” said Matlock.
Creter said he is very satisfied with the mix of repeat actors and new faces that have joined Tech Players.
“Everyone brought the same amount of talent. I thought it was very well-balanced and I love that it truly is an ensemble effort. Everybody gets their time to shine in this production,” said Creter. “This is a very professional group and I was blown away at opening night.”
The show does contain some sensitive material that may not be suitable for all ages such as: onstage drinking and drug use, foul language, and sexual content. It also explores themes of homosexuality, school shootings, and the treatment of women.
“Some of the students beside me were uncomfortable by the show,” said Creter. “And that’s fine, I like that. There’s a lot of laughter in this play but there’s also some real gut punching moments in it as well. I think it’s such a fine example of how powerful theatre can be, that it can take you from laughter to tears in the course of two hours.”
The show runs at CPAC through Feb. 20. Admission is free to Tech students with their Eagle Card.