A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Come on everyone, let’s go see a show! Show is defined as a spectacle or display of something, typically an impressive one. This is the type of “show” I have become accustomed to in my monthly visits to the Orpheum and other local stages. Grandeur, ensemble numbers, and flashy costumes have been featured on these stages frequently in recent years. A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time at first seems to be no different, with its stunning technology ridden set that seamlessly works its was into the plot. The main difference, however, is if you take away all of the flashy lights and special effects, A Curious Incident would still be the same thought provoking and heart wrenching show as before.
Christopher Boone (played flawlessly by Adam Langdon) is a fifteen year old boy on the autism spectrum. Autism, as a mental disorder, is a hard to diagnose, hard to deal with disease. Everyone on the spectrum is different, ranging from mild socializing disorders to inability to speak to others. Often times, these children are just shoved into special education classrooms in schools, leaving parents wondering what future their children have and how they will be able to live in society. Ed Boone (played by Gene Gillette) exemplifies this paternal worry by working day and night to provide for his son. Christopher has a brilliant mind, and the technical elements in the show allow each audience member to experience what it is like to be inside of his head. We see his thought process mapped out on stage, with all the ensemble members voicing his inner thoughts from the sidelines.
How can something so little as the death of a dog lead to an emotional rollercoaster of a story that leaves audience members on the edge of their seats for the entirety of the production? Christopher’s struggle to grasp social cues and refusal to have physical contact with others allow for a once in a lifetime chance to feel as though you are inside of someone else’s head. You become attached to every character, from the emotionally broken father to the small rat, Toby, that Christopher keeps as a pet. All of the actors bring you deeper and deeper into the show until you feel as though you have known these people your entire life. The most heartbreaking part of A Curious Incident is the permeating realism. It is a story that could be you, your neighbors, or anyone else in the world. It is a story that feels like reality.
A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is playing at the Orpheum until Sunday, December 4th. It is recommended for viewers 10 and older due to explicit content.