BWW Interview: Dominic Torres of THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at Omaha Community Playhouse
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME opened January 18 at the Omaha Community Playhouse. This winner of five Tony Awards, including Best Play, is based on the novel of the same title by Mark Haddon. The story centers on a teenaged autistic boy who is determined to solve the mystery of his neighbor's dog who has been killed with a garden fork.
Director Kimberly Faith Hickman directs a cast led by young newcomer, Dominic Torres. I spoke with Dominic for a few minutes to get his perspective on being on stage in a play with a weighty subject.
The Omaha Community Playhouse staff suggested that I interview you. They are very impressed with you. You seem to be quite a special guy. How old are you?
What grade are you in?
I'm in seventh grade at Beveridge Magnet School.
Do you have any brothers or sisters?
I have one younger brother and three younger sisters.
Are any of them interested in performing?
Right now, they are all toddler age. So, no. Not at the moment.
Is this your first show?
This is my first big theatre show. I have done shows for my old school, Crestridge. I was in Lion King Jr as young Simba. I was in Aladdin Jr as Iago.
What made you audition for this show?
Well, actually, I have a friend I've known from preschool. Her name is Stella. She was in Shrek (at the Omaha Community Playhouse). One night friends asked me if I wanted to go see her in Shrek and I said, "Oh yeah, sure!" And I saw it. Everyone in that performance was just amazing. I saw all the kids and I was like, "Hmm. Maybe I could do that." The next day, I went to the website and saw there were auditions coming up. And I went to them.
How did you prepare for the audition?
I bought the script and I read through it about five times. At the auditions, they assigned us characters and had us read whatever part they wanted us to read from the script.
Are you pretty good at memorizing lines?
Yeah, it comes pretty easy for me. At the beginning, it's usually kinda tough. But once you get closer and closer to opening, I'm ready. I'm usually ready a couple weeks before.
If someone asks you what this play is about, what would you tell them?
It's about a 15 year old boy who is on the autism spectrum. He finds that his neighbor's dog is murdered. He takes it upon himself to find out who killed the dog because this is a very important subject to him. Along the way he has more adventures. He finds out things about his parents. He finds out things about himself that he never knew before. He gained confidence.
What is the hardest part for you being in this production?
I think the hardest part for me is taking on the autism act. I'm not really used to it. I've not seen a lot of it. My director, Kimberly Faith Hickman, has shown me things like a couple of videos and some examples. But in the beginning that was the hardest part-doing actions that kids on the autistic spectrum do. That was the hardest part.
Do you have anything in common with Christopher?
Ah, I like to find things out. I think confidence level is the same. But that's pretty much it.
What do your classmates think about you being in this show?
My classmates have told me that they want to come see it. They were surprised at first. If one of my friends was in a big productions, I'd be so happy for him.
Don't you have a former teacher in the show with you?
Mr. Schik is my drama teacher at Beveridge. He is currently in the play Of Mice and Men coming up at the Playhouse. He's playing Lennie.
What would you say to those who are considering seeing this show?
I think people should come and see the show. It's truly, truly very inspiring. The moral of the story is that the diagnosis does not describe you. Even if you are on the autism spectrum, or whatever other spectrums there are, you are still a person. You can do what you want to do if you put your mind to it.
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME runs through February 10 on the Hawks MainStage Theatre. Wednesday-Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm. Tickets are available at the OCP box office at 6915 Cass St in Omaha, by phone at 402-553-0800, or online at www.omahaplayhouse.com.
Special exhibits will be on display in the lobby.
Photo Credit: Christian Robertson