New MTYP play highlights importance of relationships

Positive messages include realistic sibling interactions

Illustration by Kathleen Bergen

Manitoba Theatre for Young People’s (MTYP) newest play, Dib and Dob and the Journey Home, demonstrates how a piece of art can attempt to positively affect people and their relationships.

Dib and Dob shows us how fun and complicated siblings relationships are,” MTYP marketing manager Greg Klassen says. 

Dib and Dob is about two brothers who, after being lost in the woods for a long time, have made up their own language. Throughout the play, they slowly teach the audience their made-up language. The two brothers don’t really know what home is, but the audience follows their attempts to find it.

“The ones we love are the ones who can make us laugh hardest, but also the ones who can hurt us most. On their journey home, Dib and Dob learn to break out of all-too-familiar patterns to rediscover their love for one another,” Klassen says. 

He says the lessons extend beyond sibling relationships.

“Close friends, parents and children, cousins can all relate to the relationship of Dib and Dob. The two brothers only have each other, so their differences create tension,” Klassen says.

This dynamic is something everyone can relate to, but is especially important for children to see because messages found in media can have a lasting impact on audiences, specifically children.

Research by Dr. Dale Kunkel, a professor of communications at the University of Southern California, has shown that violence on television can have a substantial negative impact on youth.

The three groups of harmful effects are children’s learning of aggressive attitudes and behaviours; desensitization and increased callousness to victims of violence; and increased fear of being victimized themselves.

“Children are probably the most likely to have not fully developed their critical thinking skills and, as such, are often vulnerable to manipulative media,” Ryan Clement, a professor at the University of Winnipeg, says.

Dib and Dob shows the complex relationship siblings have, but also how differences and conflict can always be resolved, and the only home you need can be found in someone you love, Klassen says.

“When Dob saves his older brother, Dib has to reevaluate their relationship as equals, and they discover they have found home because they are together,” he says.

He says the play reminds the audience to value the relationships and people in their lives.

“For adolescents, they find themselves at a crossroads where they are transitioning from a child defined by their association with their parents, to adult individuals that must find their own identity,” Clement says.

He says media is simply a tool. Ultimately, how it is used is a human decision.

Dib and Dob and the Journey Home runs from Jan. 27 to Feb. 5 at Manitoba Theatre for Young People. Tickets are $16 for youth and $20 for adults. Find more info and buy tickets at

Published in Volume 71, Number 17 of The Uniter (January 26, 2017)

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