The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Brian Coats, Education Programs Associate
NOTE: This Play Guide may contain mild spoilers about the story of the show. If you like to be completely surprised by the play, you may wish to wait until after seeing it to read the Play Guide.
September 6 – October 1, 2017
- Christopher Boone: A 15-year-old amateur detective investigating the murder of his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, to clear his own name and discover the truth.
- Ed Boone: Christopher’s father who wishes for Christopher to stop his detective work, fearing that he will get into more trouble.
- Siobhan: Christopher’s teacher, who helps him to understand how to navigate the world around him. She also acts as the narrator for Christopher’s mystery novel about Wellington’s murder.
- Mrs. Shears: Christopher’s neighbor and the owner of Wellington, the dog at the heart of Christopher’s murder mystery. She and Ed have a complicated relationship as well.
- Judy: Christopher’s mother who died before the murder of Wellington. During the course of his investigation, Christopher discovers secrets about her that he never knew before.
- Roger Shears: Mrs. Shears’ husband who disappeared many years ago and becomes Christopher’s Prime Suspect in the case of Wellington’s murder.
- Mrs. Alexander: Christopher’s neighbor who helps him with his investigation and unravels a mystery that Christopher never knew existed.
What's The Story?
Mrs. Shears’ dog, Wellington, is dead. He has been stabbed with a gardening fork and 15-year-old amateur detective Christopher Boone was discovered at the scene of the crime. However, Christopher didn’t kill Wellington. He says he didn’t and Christopher John Francis Boone does not tell lies. Struggling to understand why no one around him cares to know who really killed Wellington, Christopher takes it upon himself to investigate.
What starts as a straightforward murder investigation becomes a complicated mess of secrets, betrayals, far-off travels, and one young boy’s discovery of the larger world around him. Within one mystery lies another mystery, a mystery that upsets Christopher’s entire life and carries him off to places unknown with only his pet rat, Toby, for company.
Will Christopher discover who really killed Wellington? Will Christopher find out why his father refuses to talk about his mother, who died only a few years before? And, most importantly, will Christopher be able to take his A-Level Maths Examinations?
A Familiar World from a New Perspective
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time tells the story of a teenager struggling to navigate the world around him, discovering secrets that upset his previously innocent perspective of life and causing him to re-orient himself in an unfamiliar adult world. Stories of adolescence such as these have been told for as long as anyone has been telling and recording stories, across all types of media. An entire genre of literature known as coming-of-age stories commits itself to these narratives. Television shows and movies such as The Fosters and Boyhood, respectively, devote more of their screen time to characters’ internal struggles than action and plot. What makes these formulaic stories about teenagers transitioning from childhood to adulthood so everlasting? Why do they seems to appeal to the masses, regardless of generation?
During their adolescent period, teenagers find themselves in new and confusing places and situations. They go through physical, emotional, and mental changes that affect their understanding of everything around them. While each protagonist of a coming-of-age story is different and experiences different events that bring them into adulthood, they are at their core the same type of character: an innocent teenager that must mature in some way throughout the course of the story’s action. From the first moments of the play, the audience understands that Christopher is a special protagonist; his story is different because he himself is different, and that is where the renewed interest in this typical story develops. It is how Christopher reacts to it that makes it new and exciting for the audience.
Since the publication of Mark Haddon’s novel in 2003, Christopher Boone has been labeled by critics and medical professionals alike as a young man on the Autism Spectrum. However, for those unaware of what exactly being on the Spectrum entails, Christopher is just a regular teenage boy with a larger than average intelligence and a different way of seeing and interacting with the world. His story is one that all adults have experienced, all teenagers are currently experiencing, and all children will one day face. It is a tale as old as time itself, but one made new by the refreshing and captivating protagonist at the heart of it.
Join us for this visceral and mysterious coming-of-age adventure as it opens The Rep’s 51st Mainstage Season!