Thursday, July 3, 2014

Show Preview: Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Turning Mark Haddon's novel into a poignant and brilliant stage production, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” lets audiences peer into the mind of fifteen year old Christopher Boone. Turning away from plot summary and towards personal applicability, the most interesting piece I found happens to be the relation to my career path of Special Education. Christopher appears to have a high-functioning form of Autism Spectrum Disorder, colloquially called Aspergers Syndrome. This is never outright diagnosed, other than Christopher saying he has "behavioral problems". Haddon in fact prefers Christopher's own description of himself as opposed to directly diagnosing him as Aspergers, according to both Ben Brantley of the NY Times and Charles Spencer of The Daily Telegraph.

Whatever the exact term used, the production aspects of play are dependent on this aspect of Christopher. The soundtrack leans towards a "glitch/techno” style, hinting at Christopher's love of math and computers; the set is a simplistic grid. These factors mesh wonderfully to bring audiences in to the world of Christopher's mind. Having seen and worked with autistic kids before, it is extremely difficult to understand what they are thinking and how they work. Therapists, parents, teachers, and doctors all desire to "get inside their head", and "Curious Incident" does just that. Of course, it all depends upon how the actor portrays Christopher, a job sensitively approached originally by Luke Treadaway, now left to Graham Butler.

So, what do we, as an audience, get to take away? According to Brantley, “you’re likely to reconsider the dauntless battle your own mind is always waging against the onslaught of stimuli that is life”.  I couldn’t agree more. But on a less dense level, I ask you to look at Christopher and other people with Autism Spectrum not with a sense of pity, but a sense of awe and a heart of love. If given a chance, these individuals will open your eyes to see your own flaws for what they are, honestly and sensitively.

And now for a few things you should click on, ‘cause they’re cool!

Brantley's Review:

Spencer's Review:


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