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Calendar >  CCAE Premiere of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night” a Mesmerizing Success

CCAE Premiere of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night” a Mesmerizing Success

By   /  February 26, 2024  /  No Comments

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TR Robertson -A standing ovation for both the performers and the production staff for the sold-out Saturday night performance of Simon Stephens adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, was a clear indication of just how stunning and mesmerizing the audience’s reaction was to what they had witnessed on stage. This unique play takes the audience through a wide range of emotions and visual trips as a story unfolds involving an autistic 15-year-old boy, Christopher Boone, and his journey involving solving a murdered neighbor’s dog, a mystery finding 43 letters written by his supposedly decease mother and an adventure as he travels to London in search of more answers. Along with this, the play deals with Christopher’s challenges in school, his interactions with his mentor, his interactions with neighbors and other people, and his relationship with his family.

  • Australian actor Daniel Patrick Russell

Photos by Karli Cadel

This award-winning play opened in 2012 at the Royal National Theatre in London. It moved to Broadway in 2014, opening at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The play won seven Laurence Olivier Awards, five Tony Awards including Best Play, six Drama Best Awards including Outstanding Play and five Outer Critics Circle Awards including Best Play.

The key to this wonderfully produced play is the incredible performance by Australian born Daniel Patrick Russell, who plays Christopher Boone. Daniel has recently been on Broadway in “The Music Man” starring Hugh Jackman and has toured playing the title role in “Billy Elliot the Musical”. He also appeared in Steven Spielberg’s film “West Side Story”. Daniel is a neurodivergent actor who said in a recent interview that he could easily identify with Christopher for this play.

His performance along with the amazing multi-tiered scaffolded set design complete with massive back stage video screen and large screened TV hanging high above the front of the stage designed by Scenic Designer and Cinematographer Matthew Herman; the beautifully effective lighting techniques of Lighting Designer Mike Billings; the coordination of Projection Designer Blake McCarty; the precisely timed sounds from Sound Designer Jon Fredette; the original score from Music Composer Maxwell Transue; the appropriate costuming from Costume Designer Janet Pitcher, props from Props Master Holly Lapp and Wig & Hair Designer Peter Herman; and the creative and wonderfully choreographed movements and patterns from Choreographer Natalie Iscovich, all working together to present the audience with some degree of understanding about what someone, like Christopher who is on the Autistic Spectrum, is going through based on all of the things going on in his life. Award winning Director J. Scott Lapp, Artistic Director at CCAE Theatricals, even brought in Marcy Fibrow, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who is the Regional Clinical Director at The Center for Autism and Related Disorders, LLC, who worked with the entire cast and production staff to assist them in presenting this play to give the audience a glimpse into the life of someone like Christopher and how he deals with everything going on around him.

The staging of this play is absolutely amazing. The focus is to give the audience an occasional glimpse inside Christopher’s head as things unfold around him and as he tries to figure out how to handle various situations. Using 20 music sequences, video and projections on both screens, and two live mobile cameras on stage Christopher’s actions and thoughts are presented. The play becomes a truly immersive experience for those in the audience. The carefully choreographed dance movements and abstract expressions also play into Christopher’s world and his reactions to a variety of things, such as loud noise, crowds of strangers, being touched, unknown experiences for him like the bathroom scene in the train station.  

The first act of the play takes the audience through the mystery of Christopher’s search for who killed his neighbor’s dog, his relationship with his mentor and his school and his relationship with his father, especially after discovering a number of letters from his mother, hidden from him and written to him after he had been told she had died. The second act deals with the adventure Christopher sets out on to discover the truth for himself and his search for his mother and ends in the family drama Christopher finds himself having to deal with, as well as a situation at his school he adamantly wants to accomplish.

A tremendous supporting cast, many of whom play a number of different parts in the play, all assist in making this performance one of the best on stage this year. Playing Christopher’s supportive teacher/mentor, Siobhan, is Allison Spratt Pearce. She is also the narrator in the play, assisting the audience in keeping up with Christopher’s thoughts as she reads from the book he has written. Playing Christopher’s angst filled father, Ed, is Nathan Madden. Nathan gives a powerful performance as a father suffering from hidden demons about things he has done, his family situation, trying to deal with Christopher and his actions. Playing Judy, Christopher’s mother, is Regina A. Fernandez. Regina may be the most difficult to understand in the play as some will find it hard to sympathize with her actions in the play. The remainder of the cast plays a number of pivotal or significant roles in Christopher’s life as well as playing a variety of roles of people Christopher runs into. They will also assist when he slips into his fantasy world, becoming part of his thought process. These performers include Berto Fernandez, Drew Bradford, Melissa Fernandes, Dallas McLaughlin, Leianna Weaver and Christine Hewitt.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is definitely a play you should put on your must-see list. The play will only be at the Escondido Center Theater at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido for the remainder of this week with the final performance March 3rd. For more information or tickets go to www.theatricals.org or for ticket information call 800-988-4253.

Next up for CCAE Theatricals is “Motown” March 29 and 30.

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  • Published: 2 months ago on February 26, 2024
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  • Last Modified: February 27, 2024 @ 12:03 am
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