THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME At Open Book Theatre
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time brings the mystery novel to life on the intimate stage at Open Book Theatre in Trenton
An adaptation of the popular novel will soon take the stage at Open Book Theatre in Trenton. The story follows Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old who sets out to solve the mystery of who killed the neighbor's dog. Christopher is a mathematical genius but has a hard time interacting with the outside world - he doesn't understand metaphor, doesn't like to be touched, and has strong color preferences. The character is widely considered to be on the autism spectrum, although a diagnosis is never stated. Author Mark Haddon wrote in his blog that "Curious Incident is not a book about Asperger's... if anything it's a novel about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way."
Of course, it's also a mystery. The title is a nod to Sherlock Holmes, and is a quote from an Arthur Conan Doyle short story titled "The Adventure of Silver Blaze." Christopher uncovers many secrets as he goes about solving the murder of the dog.
The stage adaptation by playwright Simon Stephens uses the immediacy and theatricality of the stage to immerse the audience in Christopher's world, just as the novel is narrated by Christopher.
Joshua Whitson plays Christopher, and says it's the most challenging role he's ever done. "I feel like it is important that everyone takes a moment to step into someone else's shoes. We are all on our own journeys and sometimes we get caught up in them. Seeing the world through the eyes of someone on the spectrum will remind you that one man's mountain is another man's mole hill." He adds, "when I first saw this show I walked away a better person having gone through this journey."
Artistic Director Krista Schafer Ewbank read the novel when it was published in 2003, and loved it. "As soon as I heard it had been adapted for the stage, I followed its progress. I watched it win the Tony Award. As soon as it was published, I purchased a copy of the script. I tried to get the rights to stage it then, but it was unavailable because they were about to send it out on a national tour. I saw the production that came to the Fisher. It was amazing." Open Book Theatre will be the first company in Michigan to present its own production. Schafer Ewbank is excited about staging the show in Open Book's intimate 80 seat black box theatre. "The audience will never be more than 3 rows away from the action. It changes how you interact with the characters, and with the story. It presents different challenges, for the designers and the performers, but also for the audience. You get involved in a much more intense way."
Individual tickets are only $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors, and $15 for students, with all tickets for the opening night gala at $30 each. Tickets can be purchased online at openbooktc.com. More information can be found online, or by calling (734) 288-7753.
The play features Joshua Whitson as Christopher, Jaclynn Cherry as Siobhan, Robert Schorr as Ed Boon, Carrie Jay Sayers as Judy Boone. Jean Pilon, Joshua Brown, Dale Dobson, Allison Megroet and Linda Rabin Hammell play various characters throughout the play. Directed by Adriane Galea with set by Shane O'Connor, lighting design by Harley Miah, props design by Reyna DeSilva, and stage management by Danielle Gilbert.