May. 17th, 2017

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Over the weekend, we went to see the dramatic adaptation of THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME.  I dragged Darwin and Maksim.  Aran was looking forward to going.

It was a fantastic adaptation of novel to stage.  The stage is black with white lines that form a grid.  A set of white boxes line the sides, and a single red chair sits stage right.  Eventually learn the entire stage is embedded with LEDs that combine with lights and cookies to transform the stage into whatever set the scene needs, so we can pop quickly from a living room to a school to a neighbor's house to a city street.  Noise and lighting sometimes become overwhelming, deliberately so.

The story is told entirely from the point of view of Christopher, an autistic teenager who discovers his neighbor's dog has been killed with a pitchfork.  He sets out to learn who killed the dog, and discovers far more than he thought possible.  It's based on the novel of the same name.

The stage reinforces Christopher's autism.  The other characters, the set, the lights, everything happen from his point of view, so the actors don't act quite right--we're seeing them from an autist's eyes instead of our own.  The same is true of the set.  Lights snap from simple to confusing.  Christopher acts in ways that are confusing at the beginning of the play, but by the end make sense to the audience, even as they continue to confuse the other characters.

The play was painful and difficult for me.  There are a number of parallels between Christopher's situation and Aran's (though unlike Christopher's father, I've never gotten into a fistfight with Aran), which makes the play raw watching.  I understand what Christopher is going through, and I understand what his father is going through.  It was powerfully done and destined to become a literary classic, but I don't think I want to watch it again.

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