WOOSTER, Ohio — The College of Wooster’s department of theatre and dance will present Simon Stephens’ adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” directed by Shirley Huston-Findley, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, at 7:30 p.m., each evening and a sensory-friendly matinee performance Nov. 3, at 5 p.m., in Freedlander Theatre (329 E. University St.).
Haddon’s novel “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” was the winner of more than 17 literary awards and Stephens’ adaptation to the stage has won seven Olivier Awards and five Tony Awards®. The story follows an autistic young man, 15 year-old Christopher, as he ventures out to find the killer of his neighbor’s dog. His detective work, forbidden by his father, takes on a frightening journey that turns his world upside down.
Christopher will be played by sophomore Brian Luck, while his father Ed is played by first-year student Owen Belfiore, mother Judy by sophomore Annie Sheneman, and teacher Siobhan by sophomore Elise Muhl. Other members of the cast include senior Seth Green (voice four), juniors Patrick Redick (voice three) and Max Gregg (understudy for voices), sophomores Gabby Sullivan, (voice one), Ricky Cooper (voice two), and Cat Moreschi (voice six), and first-year students Sarah Caley (voice five) and Amari Royal (understudy for voices).
The Sunday matinee is a first of its kind to be performed by the theatre and dance department at Wooster. According to Huston-Findley, “Our sensory-friendly performance encourages those who might not be able to attend a theatre production due to the overstimulation caused by the various elements of theatre (bright lights, loud sounds, delicate issues, adult language, etc.) to see the show knowing that those elements will be handled with them in mind. I hope that the performance encourages autistic folks to engage in the arts and advocate for accessibility as we are attempting to advocate for them with this performance.”
“One of the reasons for choosing this play is that ‘Curios Incident’ provides the students directly involved an opportunity to develop a level of empathy for those who require sensory-friendly considerations. Producing the show also ensures that we as artists recognize the need for art that is accessible to all and move beyond that recognition to practice.”
To aid in sensory accessibility, there will be someone on the edge of the stage providing visual cues before all light changes and sounds on stage. A trigger/trip preparation list, including an image of the set, a map of the theatre, notes on sensory preparation, and a list on content warnings is available online. In addition, there will be a quiet space just across the hall from Freedlander Theatre for anyone who might become overstimulated during the course of the production.
Tickets are $9 for general admission and $6 for senior citizens, faculty, staff, and non-College of Wooster students (Wooster students are admitted free, but must pick up their complimentary ticket at the box office ahead of time). The Sunday, Nov. 3, matinee is free. All performances are suitable for ages 13 and up. The box office opens Monday, Oct. 28. Additional information about the play is available by calling the box office (330-263-2241).