Monday, June 29, 2015

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

That was the first show we saw. I have to say all the things we saw over the weekend were high energy. High energy with a bit of loud screaming thrown in as well.

This was a great play. But the stagging added to just how amazing it was. As Christian said if this had been a straight play, it would not have been as impressive. The set was fairly bare bones. Just a stage with a grid on it. But at the same time it was incredibly elaborate. The main character would use chalk and draw on the floor and you would see those drawings on the back wall. There were small doors on the side walls that gave access to all sorts of props. There doors in the floor that lead to discoveries by the main character. There was even a recreation of train tracks on the Tube.

It really gave insight into what an autistic person’s life if like and what happens to the lives around that person. Also the lengths that some people will go to hide events from people. And the havoc of hiding those events can cause.

Here’s a sampling of reviews:

New York Times:
But more than any mainstream theater production I know, it forces you to adopt, wholesale, the point of view of someone with whom you may initially feel you have little in common. That’s Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old mathematical genius for whom walking down the street or holding a conversation is a herculean challenge.

Played by the recent Juilliard school graduate Alex Sharp, in the kind of smashing Broadway debut young actors classically dream about, Christopher is in some ways a parent’s nightmare. He hates being touched, is bewildered by the common clich├ęs of small talk and is sent into cataclysmic tantrums by any violation of his rigidly ritualized world.

But he has a distinct advantage over most of us, and he knows it. “I see everything,” he says, while looking out the window during the first train ride of his life. “Most other people are lazy.


Believe the buzz. The National Theater Production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is spectacular, like Cirque du Soleil with brains. Scribe Simon Stephens has made sensitive work of adapting Mark Haddon’s bestselling book about a high-functioning boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who learns to use his uncanny genius for math to navigate the world. Under Marianne Elliott’s imaginative direction, a brilliant design team allows us to inhabit the boy’s consciousness on a terrifying journey that begins with the death of a dog and ends with his discovery of the power of his own mind.

In his extraordinary debut performance, Alex Sharp (who graduated this spring from Juilliard) plays 15-year-old Christopher Boone, who lives in a suburb of London with his father (Ian Barford, in a searing performance) and attends a school for children with special needs. Christopher exhibits the behavioral traits of hyper-sensitive autistic children, including the screaming meltdowns when someone touches him. But he also has that characteristic and quite wonderful inability to tell a lie, along with a prodigious talent for mathematics that his sympathetic teacher, Siobhan (a radiant Francesca Faridany), cultivates.

Washington Post:
“The Curious Incident” revives, on the strengths of its ingenious design and the dazzling portrayal of its main character, 15-year-old Christopher Boone, by 25-year-old Alex Sharp, in a thoroughly commanding Broadway debut.

Based closely on Mark Haddon’s 2003 novel, about a gifted English boy who’s challenged both by a neurological disorder and the severe disturbances of his broken home, Simon Stephens’s script begins with Christopher’s discovery of the body of a neighbor’s dog, speared by a pitchfork — a killing at first mistakenly blamed on him. And though the play embarks with Christopher on his mission to find the killer, the show’s more important ingredients are the unusual workings of Christopher’s brain.

Bunny Christie’s set, a grid lined like a piece of graph paper, is a splendid canvas for Christopher’s rigidly ordered, numerically oriented circuitry, as well as for the images generated by video designer Finn Ross and lighting designer Paule Constable. The odd gaps in Christopher’s ability to relate to other people — he can’t bear to be touched, for instance — are filled for us by the pictorial rendering of his interior life. Projections of cascading numbers and letters, representations of street noise as flashes of undifferentiated static, vividly capture the external stimuli that overwhelm him.

You know a play is pretty special when it gets nominated for best choreography.

I was blown away by it.

I was told by Stu to stay after everyone took their bows because there was one additional piece of the play. Earlier when Christopher was taking his test there was a problem he wanted to show his work for. His therapist says that that would bore the audience. She suggested doing it after the play ended. And that’s what happened, Christopher showed his work on the problem. A great way to end the show.

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