On Wednesday October third, Ms. Nicole Roberge’s Drama 9, 10 and Musical Theater 11 classes went to watch an adaption of a play based off an original book. The play took place at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage in Vancouver, with a running time of two hours and twenty minutes, along with an intermission. 56 students from Roberge’s drama classes watched a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, based on a book written by Mark Haddon.
Mark Haddon has won three awards for his book, and the play adaptation has earned six Tony Award nominations. Canada’s highest circulated newspaper, The Toronto Star, praises the play as, “A sheer celebration of live theatre.” The book is centered around a fifteen-year-old boy named Christopher Boone who is on the autism spectrum. Christopher lives with his father, Ed Boone, who told him that his mother, Judy, died two years ago of a heart attack. Christopher discovers the dead body of his neighbour, Mrs. Shears’ dog, Wellington, who is speared by a garden fork. While under suspicion for the death of Wellington, Christopher discovers many secrets about his family and the members of his neighbourhood. This book deals with many themes, such as coming of age, newfound independence, and coping with loss and secrecy.
“My biggest take away from the play was that all the actors are very supportive of each other. They’re all reacting to each other, so it’s very interesting to watch their interactions,” said Grade 10 student Claire Bajaj. “I think Ms. Roberge chose this play for us to see because the actors are the same age as us and it relates to us in a way. Some of the events are very relatable with real-life experiences that everyone has lived through,” said Bajaj. Another Grade 10 student, Alexandra Newbery, shared her experience with the play. “I really learned how someone with autism lives compared to other people, and the challenges that they face in life. There’s lot of emotion in it, and I feel that lots of people in the audience can relate to the play in different ways,” said Newbery. “I thought the acting was very good and seeing how the actors really put themselves into their characters’ situations and how they played their roles was impressive.”
Ms. Roberge felt this was a good play for her students to watch. “It should inspire the students to be better theater makers themselves. It’s not about the message-it’s about the medium, the art form. The message of the play is really moving and captivating, though, because it is the story of a young man on the autism spectrum who experiences wildly wonderful and terribly terrible things through the course of the play,” said Roberge. “Some of the challenges in the story revolve around Christopher, as he is an atypical thinker. It also becomes clear that his life is full of celebration, as ours could be, and at the end of the story, he asks the crowd ‘can I do anything?’ And we are led to believe that he can do anything,” said Roberge.
Roberge saw the play in New York with the original cast, and she loved it. She was curious about the Vancouver version with Vancouver actors. “It was really different because the set, the technology and the lighting, everything about it was different. I was really impressed with the performance and the way the technology was an important part of the show,” said Roberge. Roberge was impressed with the message her students received after watching the play, and she hopes to continue seeing theater performances over the 2018-2019 school year.
feature image from bing.com-https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-night-time