Twin Bill, a new theater company founded by twins, launches with 'Dog Sees God'

Twin Bill, a new theater company founded by twins, launches with 'Dog Sees God'
Jan. 30, 2016
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Nel Gomez and Brian Sy
Snoopy, Charlie Brown and their friends are known to most from their comic strip created by Charles M. Schulz or from their animated films, the most recent of which is "The Peanuts Movie."

Theater fans will be familiar with the musical adaptation using these characters: "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." Some will even know of its sequel "Snoopy The Musical."

Surprise, there is another stage adaptation. Described as an "unauthorized parody," Bert Royal's play "Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead" imagines the familiar characters, though with different but familiar names, as teenagers dealing with everything from identity to sexual abuse.

(Blockhead, for those unfamiliar with the Peanuts milieu, is what Charlie Brown's friend Lucy usually calls him.)

The play's world premiere was at the 2004 New York International Fringe Festival. For its Philippine premiere, Twin Bill Theater will be staging this dark comedy as its entry for Fringe Manila 2016.

Twin Bill Theater's cofounders are twin theater artists Francis Matheu, choreographer and actor, and Joseph Matheu, lighting designer. (Read about how they founded the company here.)

Joseph and Francis Matheu
Happiness is not a warm puppy as the play begins with CB's dog dying from rabies. This leads CB to wonder about the afterlife. He later on falls in love with a classmate, much to the disapproval of his sex-obsessed best friend Matt.

The play then goes on to tackle issues such as drug use, eating disorders, teen violence, rebellion and suicide.

Nel Gomez will play the introspective CB. His recent credits include Romeo in Manila Shakespeare Company's "Romeo and Juliet," Tristan in Egg Theater Company's "Maniacal," Sonny in 9 Works Theatrical's "Grease," Pinocchio and Joey in Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group's "Shrek the Musical" and "Saturday Night Fever The Musical," respectively.

Playing Matt is Brian Sy. His recent credits include "Bilanggo ng Pag-Ibig" and "King Lear" for Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas; "Sintang Dalisay" and "Fireflies" for Tanghalang Ateneo; and "Kleptomaniacs" for Tanghalang Pilipino.

The cast includes Vince Lim, Maronne Cruz, Gab Medina, Sarah Facuri, Kathleen Francisco and Camille Velicaria. Steven Conde directs. Jay Pangilinan will compose original music scoring for the show.

Twin Bill is preparing to stage two more "intimate productions" before the year ends as part of its inaugural season.

The play will be staged at Staple and Perk Bakery in Makati, which can accommodate up to 80 audience members per show.

The bakery will also host other Fringe Manila 2016 participants such as Dork and Pork band and OTM band, both of which will be playing jam sessions; and poets/musicians group The Loudmouth Collective and production company Sixteen Bars, both of which will be hosting open-mic nights.

Fringe Manila 2016 runs on  Feb. 10 to 28 in different venues across Metro Manila. This arts festival aims to showcase new material in theater, literature, music, dance, visual art, film, cabaret, performance art, circus, etc.

Fringe Manila is on its second year and was founded by Andrei Pamintuan, who serves as Festival Director.

Visit and like FringeMNL on Facebook.

"Dog Sees God" runs Feb. 11-14 and 26, 8 p.m.; and Feb. 14, 2:30 p.m., at Staple and Perk Bakery, 2306 Eco Plaza Bldg., Pasong Tamo Ext., Makati. Call 0927-4604652. 

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