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Design Statment

Dog Sees God: Confessions Of A Teenage Blockhead is a play that brings the world of The Peanuts into our reality. Bringing them into our reality of course comes with all the darkness and grittiness of our world as well. In this production I wanted to use the soundscape to help ground this play in our realty while giving hints and nods to the original source material. I approached the sound of this play with a sense of realism, but still keeping the audience aware that we are still in the "Peanuts" world. For most of the play I would use ambience and music that would fit in the world of the play given that it is our own. Yet in specific moments I go outside the realm of realism to give glimpses of the peanuts past. 

Thunder

In the beginning of the play, CB is writing a letter to his anonymous pen pal. In the letter he is describing the recent tragedy of losing his dog and the effects it's having on him. I used this monologue as a chance to foreshadow the end of the play. I put in sounds of thunder right before he says his dog died and at the end to transition us into the next scene. This not only helps represent the inner instability CB is feeling but also foreshadows the storm that occurs during the final scene of the play. 

Thunder #1 in Dear Pen Pal
00:00 / 00:17
Thunder #2 in Dear Pen Pal
00:00 / 00:11
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Backyard Ambience

In the next scene, we meet CBs Sister and they are at the makeshift funeral of their dog, who after hints given is assumed to be Snoopy. I added some background ambience to establish where we were in the scene with birds chirping as a nod to Woodstock as well as some wind. 

Outdoor Ambience - Canis Exequiae
00:00 / 02:38

Natural Mystic/Ambience

For the transition into the next scene, I decided to use the song Natural Mystic by Bob Marley. Not only does this evoke the stereotypical "stoner" vibe since the next scene is when we meet Van, the stoner of the friend group. The lyrics also tell a story of being stuck in the past and how things aren't the way they were. This encapsulates CBs thoughts this early in the show. I also added street ambience to establish our location with cars driving by.

Natural Mystic Bob Marley
00:00 / 03:04
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Street Ambience
00:00 / 04:50
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School Bus/Ambience

Going into the next scene I put in the sound of an oncoming school bus with the doors opening to establish that we are now at the school. After the bus leaves I put in sounds of background chatter since it takes place in front of the school as kids are being dropped off and heading inside. In this scene we meet the other characters like Matt. I wanted to help create the illusion that there were more people in the scene then there actually were.

School Ambience - Where Swine Live
00:00 / 01:35

Hallway Ambience 

In the next scene we are in the hallway at school in between classes. It is a short scene in which Beethoven and CBs Sister interact. I went ahead and added some ambience like background chatter and lockers being opened and closed to help establish the environment.

Hallway Ambience - The Pianist and the Platypus
00:00 / 06:07
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Woh Woh/Cafeteria Ambience

For the transition into the next scene, I included a snippet of the adult "Woh Woh" sound that were used in the Peanuts when adults talked. The reason for this is because Tricias first line mimics the same exact sounds. This reminds us that we are still in the Peanuts world. I also added some background ambience to fill out the space and make it feel larger. I had the ambience quickly fade when Tricia says "You're a pig!", this cause an even more awkward silence as if the the people around their table overheard and got quiet because they know how Matt feels about his nickname.

Cafeteria Ambience - Spork
00:00 / 07:24
Woh Woh Sounds - Transition Into Spork
00:00 / 00:10

The Vipers Nest

Going into this scene we hear Beethoven playing Prelude in E minor. I went ahead and recorded myself pounding on the keys to emulate Beethoven slamming down on the piano. I also recorded myself playing Heart and Soul terribly for CBs bit when he tries to play. I went ahead and used a professional recording of Heart and Soul for when Beethoven takes over.

Prelude In E Minor
00:00 / 03:14
Beethoven Slams Fist Down - The Vipers Nest
00:00 / 00:08
CB Trying his best at Heart and Soul - The Vipers Nest
00:00 / 00:18
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Beethoven Heart and Soul - The Vipers Nest
00:00 / 00:27
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Intimacy Motif #1

Due to Covid 19 and limitations it brought to the production, the director replaced intimacy with some devised movement. She wanted there to be music over these moments to establish these as intimate moments. I decided to use these motifs to have fun and give nods to the Peanuts. This first motif is the first 4 notes of the Charlie Brown Theme. All the motifs were played on my Arturia MiniLab Mk2 and recorded through Ableton.

Intimacy Motif #1 - The Vipers Nest
00:00 / 00:15
Charlie Brown ThemeVince Guaraldi
00:00 / 04:24

Drama Ambience

In this scene, CBs Sister is putting on the performance of her monologue piece. Because of the absurdity of the piece, I thought it would be fun to elevate the absurdity by adding in sound effects to accompany her performance. In my mind it's as if CBs Sister put in these sound effects herself because she couldn't get anyone to work tech on her piece (The video to the right is from rehearsal)

Drama Ambience and Sounds
00:00 / 01:54
Perry The Platypus - Drama
00:00 / 00:01
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Forever Loving Jah

Going into the next scene I used Forever Loving Jah by Bob Marley. I used the song to help return us to the vibe of the first scene between Van and CB. Also the songs lyrics emphasize Vans inner want for love and peace and "Harmony" as he states for everyone. It shows that he is truly a neutral character going with the flow. The ambience from the scene was also used again.

Forever Loving Jah Bob Marley
00:00 / 03:31

You're Invited Sounds

Going into the next scene, Marcy is giving a slam poetry like announcement for her house party. During this I added the sound of a kick drum getting faster and faster in tempo as we got to the end. It gets faster until it reaches the bpm of Linus and Lucy. Then, Linus and Lucy fades in as the characters dance to it, recreating the iconic dancing. I then had the song suddenly switch to Wow by Post Malone to bring us back into the our reality. I pitch shifted the song to match the key of Linus and Lucy to keep the connection to Linus and Lucy.

Metronome Beat - You're Invited
00:00 / 01:16
Linus And Lucy Going Into Wow - You're Invited
00:00 / 02:39
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Intimacy Motif #2

In this 2nd instance of the intimacy motif I kept it quick and simple since it's in the middle of an intense scene. This motif is just 2 notes, C and B. 

Intimacy Motif #2 - You're Invited
00:00 / 00:10

Intimacy Motif #3

For the final intimacy motif, I took the melody from the song Happiness from the Peanuts show and slowed it down. This harkens back to the optimistic feel of the song and represents CBs happiness as he finally feels like he can be himself. 

Intimacy Motif #3 - Transition into The Hangover
00:00 / 00:15
HappinessClark Gesner
00:00 / 02:53
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Fire is Bad 

In this scene, we meet Vans Sister who CB used to be in a relationship with and is currently in a mental institution for lighting a girls hair on fire. I used a sound of a cell door opening and closing to signify where we were going into the scene as well as a buzzer that a guard uses to say that time is almost up. I also added the sound of a guard banging on a window when Vans Sister gets rowdy. I added the woh woh sounds with it because it's mentioned that all adults still sound like they did in the peanuts.

Prison Cell Door Open and Close - Fire Is Bad
00:00 / 00:05
Guard Banging on Window - Fire Is Bad
00:00 / 00:03
Cell Door Buzz - Fire Is Bad
00:00 / 00:01

Mal Di Luna

In Mal Di Luna we find Beethoven again practicing the piano. We hear him playing Revolutionary Etude. After CB leaves, Matt enters and threatens Beethoven and tells him to play something, he proceeds to play Moonlight Sonata. After Beethoven calls Matt by his nickname "Pigpen" Matt explodes and slams the piano cover onto Beethoven's hands. I recorded the sound of myself slamming my hands onto a keyboard to emulate the sound it would have made.

Revolutionary Etude - Mal Di Luna
00:00 / 02:57
Moonlight Sonata - Mal Di Luna
00:00 / 06:53
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Matt Slams Down - Mal Di Luna
00:00 / 00:08
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Taphephobia

After Mal Di Luna, CB comes forward talking about when Chopin died he requested that Mozarts requiem be played at his funeral. He then reveals that Beethoven took his own life sometime after the previous scene. I decided to put in a piano version of Lacrimosa. Both because it comes from Mozarts requiem and it is a piano piece that honors Beethoven, but Lacrimosa translates to "weeping" and "tearful" which is exactly how CB is feeling internally even if he doesn't show it. I also added reverb to it to emulate the sound of it being played in a church. 

Lacrimosa Mozart
00:00 / 03:34

Dear CB

Going into the final scene of the show there was one final thunder sound effect that I put in along with the sound of rain that comes in and gets slightly more intense as the scene goes on, until it fully takes over at the end of the scene once CB finds out who his pen pal is and breaks down. This brings the initial thunder effects from the first scene full circle.

Thunder - Transition into Dear CB
00:00 / 00:20
Rain - Dear CB
00:00 / 05:40
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Curtain Call

For curtain call I decided to use the song Little Birdie by Vince Guaraldi. I think that ending the show with this song gives a hopeful and optimistic end to a darker take on the peanuts. Even with the bittersweet ending of the play, I wanted to evoke the same feeling of watching the peanuts with it's endless optimism and light hearted nature as a final reminder that we are still in Peanuts world. No matter what story is told, there is always a lesson to be learned and using Little Birdie at the end is almost like saying to CB that everything will be alright, you just need to give it time.

Little Birdie Vince Guaraldi
00:00 / 03:05

Cue Sheet

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Rehearsal Team

Production Team

Graphic Designer - Kayla Decker

Director - Angel Lee
Stage Manager - Jaime Bridgers
Asst. Stage Manager - Courtney Kopp
CB - Zac O'Keefe
CB's Sister - Lydia Lamb
Van - Kameron Boucher
Matt - Hank Geers
Marcy - Olivia Daenke
Tricia - Bonnie Juene
Vans Sister - Genesis Sanchez

Dog Sees God Playlist Link