When I read Mark Haddon's novel, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" in high school, there was a disconnect between myself and the narrator, Christopher. And when I put the book down, I didn't feel like I had just entered the world of a boy living on the autism spectrum. So when I found out that the West End production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was coming to Broadway, well...
While friend after friend of mine jumped onto the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time bandwagon, I stubbornly refused to follow suit. I was stronger than that. I wasn't just going to see a show simply due to critical acclaim.
Okay, I got weak. So sue me! I mean, the show had to have something to it if people were raving about it the way they were. Plus, the production came from England. And we can thank the Brits for just about everything that's good in the world:
I could go on all day.
So by that logic, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was going to be equally memorable and awesome. Right?
Whereas the novel lost me, the play gripped me and dove its way into my heart. I identified with Christopher instantly and sat there a willing prisoner in my seat as he presented the world through his eyes. And what a world it was! I couldn't imagine coping with what Christopher had no choice but to experience. As a brilliant but utterly misunderstood teenage boy, most of his day-to-day life was too much for him to process. Something as mundane as the London Underground was total sensory overload for Christopher: with all the bright lights, loud noises, and chaos. If somebody so much as even gently touched Christopher, he'd cover his ears and start screaming, sometimes resorting to violence to get the person away from him.
The majority of us have this unspoken code that we use to navigate our lives. It's the norm for us and we abide by it without thinking anything of it. For example, when my parents affectionately call me "the apple of [their] eye," I know that it's their way of saying how much I mean to them. It's as simple as that. But as far as Christopher is concerned, my parents saying that to me would be a lie because I am not a literal apple in anyone's eye.
The show's cuteness factor was boosted by the addition of animal actors: one rat and one puppy. I always get a kick out of theatre that employs animals, and I was a bit bummed that these guys weren't included in the curtain call, as they were definitely involved in the play.
But my experience wasn't truly made until after the curtain call. Okay, let me explain. At some point during the play, Christopher takes his A levels in mathematics and starts to explain exactly how he figured out one of the problems. Hilariously, he is interrupted by his mentor who argues that the audience would not want to see him work out a math problem during a play and suggests that he finish after the play is over. We all cracked up at this, and the play moved on. In fact, so much happened in the play that I forgot about the math problem altogether. But once the curtain call was over, I wondered aloud to myself, "You think he's actually gonna show us how he did that problem?" to which the person next to me replied, gathering his belongings, "Nah, that was just a joke." But I lingered in the theatre, so badly wanting something to happen.
And then it did.
Christopher ran back on stage and in under five minutes, dramatically and incredibly performed exactly how he worked out the problem, earning a standing ovation before gesturing at the ceiling, shouting "Confetti," and causing hundreds of little white paper squares to fall on our heads. I snatched as much as I could for keepsakes, and even as I write, that confetti still lives in the left pocket of my coat.
:( Sorry. This show is not currently showing.