Monday, June 20, 2016

The Curious Incident of the Blog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, adapted from the novel by Simon Stephens, portrays a detective-like story through the mind of Christopher Boone, a 15 year old on the autism spectrum. Although frequently branded as a Sherlock Holmes story for teens because of the title, this is not the case. The Curious Incident of the Dog is not just a detective story, but a coming of age story about a teen who is trying to discover his place in the world amongst all the chaos around him.
The play opens to Christopher discovering the murder of his neighbor’s dog Wellington, after which sets Christopher on an unraveling
journey to find who killed Wellington. Christopher’s journey is displayed in an innovative way with the many uses of the walls, floor, and creative stage direction. The use of frequent projections on the gridded walls and floors helps convey the experience as if it were through Chris’ eyes. In a particular scene where Chris travels, loud noises ring about and massive projections display with disrupting regularity. Amongst these sights and sounds, several cast members help lift Christopher to either float or walk in different orientations in order for the audience to truly feel the sense of confusion and amount of intake this teen is taking in all at once for the first time.
Christopher says that he sees everything that a normal person merely only glances at and it is made apparent through not only the use of the amazing lighting for projections and cast interaction, but also through the music. The music consistently jumbles multiple layers of tracks and finds itself in a repetitive nature that gives off an excellent audio portrayal of what Christopher’s mind might be representative of given the information intake he receives. A musician that came to mind after watching this play is Phillip Glass. Phillip Glass composes music in the minimalist form which approaches music through reiterative musical phrases that usually have gradual transformation with somewhat of a pulse. This musical representation fits beautifully with the narrative structure of The Curious Incident due to its disjointed story telling with jumping between scenes whilst revealing the growth of Christopher.

The Curious Incident of the Dog takes on a difficult subject to talk about and tells it beautifully through its compelling use of lighting, stage direction, and musicality that takes the audience on a journey of growth. The play is not afraid to try new things in order to provide a window into the mind of someone on the autism spectrum. Audience members with an open mind and a want to be compelled will find this case worth investigating.

Review read:
Listen to Phillip Glass:

*Bonus listen to another minimalist/contempary I enjoy by the name of Nico Muhley:

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