by Heather Bouvier | Thursday evening, I had the pleasure of attending Actor’s Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time which is running through Oct 10th. You could say I’m a bit of the theatre enthusiast, after all, it’s in my profile on FB, so it must be legit. Additionally, I am the Creative Director and Founder of Stage & Set as well as a former theatre kid now parenting a theatre kid, so you could say, the Arts are something I’m partial to.
I often take in shows in our area. I have season tickets to Broadway Series, on the board of the Bunbury Theatre, and take in as many local shows as I can, when I can. However, for some reason, I always seem to miss the shows at Actor’s. After seeing this one, suffice it to say, that will not be happening anymore!
I knew nothing about the show prior to my arrival, so I have zero expectations going in. Side note: I feel this is something to cherish. We often go in with preconceived notions of how a show should be and soon find ourselves disappointed when it doesn’t meet our perceived expectations. But in this scenario, I was due for much delight and surprise!
The story is based of Mark Haddon’s internationally best selling book and is written from the perspective of autistic (though the author never said the boy had autism or Asperger’s, it is assumed) teenager, named Christopher. In the opening scene, Christopher has found his neighbor’s dog murdered by a pitch fork which he finds extremely upsetting and thus begins his journey to solve the crime and uncover the murderer. The story is quasi narrated by Christopher’s dialogue and his teacher’s, Sionbhan’s, reading of the book Christopher is writing as he tries to solve the crime.
The tale is rife with emotion, with Christopher’s father taking the role as primary caregiver. It is refreshing to see a father play such a pivotal part in parenting since these are roles typically left for the mother. The mother appears to have passed, but perhaps caring for a son with autism proved too much for her, so maybe she passed on in another sense. You’ll have to see it for yourself to see how these relationships play out. Including the fun grandmotherly neighbor, who just wants to love Christopher as her own, but he is reluctant to interact with because in his literal world, she is a “stranger”.
The story was eye opening to those who do not interact with those living on the spectrum on a daily basis. I do not see how someone could come away from this production without a greater sense of empathy and understanding of autism. The story shows beauty in every form as well as humanity and failures.
Christopher was played by Alexander Stuart. It’s hard to believe he is a college graduate. I have not seen acting like this in years. He absolutely blew me away with his mannerisms, cadence, and British accent. Had I not known I was watching a play, I would have believed him to be a teenager with autism. Don’t get me wrong, the rest of the cast is equally fantastic, but it was truly hard to take my eyes off of him and I feel it would have been that way whether he was the lead or a supporting role. . His regional debut, is not one to miss!
The show is running through Oct 10. You can find tickets online at www.actorstheatre.org. If you, like me, are raising a thespian, Actor’s also offers Teen Night for shows, the exception being A Christmas Carol and Dracula, where teens grades 8-12 can attend for only $10 a ticket. This also includes a cast chat after the show.
Heather Bouvier is a resident of New Albany, IN. She is a stage mom (KG Bouvier), entrepreneur (Stage & Set), and overall arts enthusiast. A former theatre kid herself, she continues to support the arts both as a patron and utilizing her business development skills.