ASD colors Christopher's world, outcomes
It is fair to say life is a challenge for most of us.
Rules, relationships, responsibilities are intertwined in a cerebral sea of synopsis, responses, and neural connectivity creating our own personal behavioral palette of co-existence.
'Challenging,' 'Not right,' 'A little off,' are labels we give those around us that decisions, good outcomes are at times a tough to achieve.
Such is the case for Christopher in the Hippodrome Theatre's new production. The Curious incident of the Dog in the Night-Time continuing with performances on various days and times through September 22 THIS Hipp production is in collaboration with the University of Florida's School of Theatre and Dance.
CAN YOU SAY UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES
"We would never ask if a character in a novel was a correct representation of a cellist or a lesbian or an archbishop. There is no such thing. And the same is true for people who are given the label disabled. They are as various and individual as any other group in society."
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time takes place in the year 1998 in and around the town of Swindon, England. The fifteen-year-old narrator of the story, Christopher John Francis Boone, discovers the slain body of his neighbor's poodle, Wellington, on the neighbor's front lawn one evening and sets out to uncover the murderer. His investigation is at times aided, and at other times hampered, by the mild form of autism he lives with. After Christopher hits a policeman in a misunderstanding at the scene of the crime, the police take Christopher into custody.
Christopher chronicles his investigation in a book—the book we are reading—as part of a school assignment. He uncovers a more tangled plot than was first apparent when he discovers that his father and the owner of the slain dog, Mrs. Shears, had a romantic affair. He subsequently learns that their affair began in reaction to another relationship, one carried on between Mr. Shears and Christopher's mother, before she disappeared from Christopher's life.
After a Summer of Oldie-Goldie tunes, laughing and yucking theatrical scenarios, I was ready for thought provoking theatre. I was not disappointed. The Hippodrome staff, tech crew(s), and actors have created a thoughtful, compelling story of perspective that will at time leave the viewer on the outside looking in.
In a smart confluence of excellent writing expertise in a twist of fate I found myself inside of Christopher looking out into a world challenges through his autism spectrum disorder.
What an incredible experience.
Taking the more is better approach to theater in the round I counted over thirty characters in this play with the primary characters Christopher, (Kyle Brumley), Ed, (Clint Thorton), and Judy, (Cynthia Beckert) garnering most of the audience attention.
Smart move on the Hipp's part for selecting Atlanta's Kyle Brumley to portray Christopher, a confused teenage with the world determined to fit in. Mr. Brumley's perfect teenage mannerism depicting a teenager struggling with the idea he might be a little different than others.
Clint Thornton did a masterful job of being a frustrated parent trying his best digging out of a mountain of daily mental health challenges.
Judy, the mother of this family triage offered a surprise glimpse into the family struggles of Christopher, Ed, and Judy explaining how this famiy group is really not much different than any other family unit.
I found the character Siobhan (Gloria Halsell) to be a compelling part of the story as she moved the story forward by aiding Christopher with mental problem solving and achieving outcomes.
Much applause to Hipp Director, and UF Professor Ralf Remshardt, the Hippodrome Technical crews and Scenic Designer Mihai Ciupe for creating a winding, myriad, of color and movement 'snake-like' about the stage giving me the impression of traveling Christopher's mental synapse as he resolves issues, problems.
This award winning screenplay did a wonderful job of moving the story quickly forward eliminating the oft anticipated 'lull' before the second act while the story is developed.
We are lucky GLOBers to have such a fine acting troupe among us working their craft at the Hippodrome Theater. Big, giant, toast to the Hippodrome for creating a masterful presentation of extraordinary talent and professional ability.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Special thanks to the Downtown Gainesville website, and the Hippodrome's Michael Eaddy for the use of their images. The Hippodrome's production of The Curious incident of the Dog in the Night-Time continues with performances on various days and times through September 22. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.