Theatre’s first winter show explores life with a disability

The theatre department premiered the play “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre.

The show ran up until Sunday, Feb. 24, with a special sensory-adapted version at 3 p.m.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” is about a young boy named Christopher Boone, who is on the autism spectrum.

He stumbles upon his neighbor’s murdered dog, which piques his interest in
finding out who did it.

During his investigation, he discovers secrets about his neighbors, his own family and himself.

The lead role of Christopher was played by Jared Kaufman, a first-year student.

“To prepare for this role, I did lots of research on people who identify as being on the autism spectrum,” Kaufman said. “I also had excellent guidance from our director, Tommy Wedge, on how to portray the character in an accurate way that also brings an authentic originality to it.”

The play shows Christopher’s emotions through various lights and sounds, making the show unique on the technical side.

Brianne Dolney played Siobhan, the narrator of Christopher’s story.

“There are times where the symphony acted as Christopher’s sensory symptoms,” Dolney said. “There aren’t a lot of shows that are so tech-heavy.”

The play had many scenes with bright visuals, small acrobatic stunts involving the whole crew and intricate choreographed moves.

The cast never left the stage; they sat on blocks to the side when it wasn’t their time to be in the spotlight.

The show also used multiple dialects, including Irish and British, as well as profound language.

“Playing this certain character was difficult and fun,” Dolney said. “I’m the only
person in the show with a dialect different than the others, so it was hard to learn that before my lines.”

Wedge saw the play as challenging yet rewarding.

“It’s a lovely piece of writing,” Wedge said. “I have two sons on the spectrum, so it’s lovely to see a play tailored to that. But it raises the bar because of that good writing.”

The show tackled the theme of treating those with developmental disorders the same as everyone else.

“I hoped the audience felt empathy,” Wedge said. “You’re trying to see someone else’s experience through their eyes and it’s a particular truthful way to see a life through Asperger’s.”

Reported by Abby Welsh, Vanguard Reporter

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