Monday, May 8, 2017

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time Play





The stage adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time is powerful. It is also loud, confusing, and sensorily overwhelming. 

Ironically, I can't recommend it for people with processing issues 
such as the main character has. This is clearly deliberate, since the
staging puts us in Christopher's position. We have to cope with
an overwhelming amount of stimuli and try to make sense of what
is going on in a challenging environment.

The subject matter rules it out for most pre-teens in any case,
but the staging also proved too upsetting for the young adult with
sensory sensitivities in our group.  

The brilliant concept of having a light box stage that can swim with stars, show maps, or let characters draw in light on the walls sets the show apart. Audience members adjust quickly to conventions, but the designers seemed determined to constantly surprise and challenge viewers. I still have no clear idea of the significance of the light up boxes the cast moved around the stage - but they looked great. The almost circus trick of Christopher curled up on fewer and fewer boxes was stunning, as were all the train sequences the astronaut scene, and the maths (English usage).

I definitely found the play worthwhile and moving. I also sometimes wished I were home alone with a good book. If in fact my son went or goes through anything like this in the way he experiences the world, I am more impressed than ever at how much he accomplishes.

Last week I wrote that Christopher in the book did not seem like someone on the spectrum to me. Christopher in the play came much closer - the melt downs he has in the play especially. Theory of mind deficits are a bit more in evidence, still .  .  . being able
to say that you find people confusing is just so - well - not what I usually see or read about in (non-fictional) kids with autism. 


Kids with autism have seen and enjoyed this show. However,
if you or someone you are planning to bring has sensory issues, I would advise caution. You may want to wait for an autism friendly performance (there have been some). And remember, the dog in the book and in the play does nothing in the night-time because it is dead. The play starts with a horrible loud noise and a dead dog.



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