Clear Space Theatre Company, in collaboration with Children’s Beach House, will present the award-winning British mystery play, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 29 and March 1. The play will use a readers’ theater format in which actors read from handheld scripts.
“Reader’s theater is about telling the story,” Director Mary Caligiure said. “I have also added stylized staging to the performance so there is a lot more going on than what is normally experienced in a readers’ theater format.”
The 2003 novel, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” was written by Mark Haddon and adapted to the stage by playwright Simon Stephens.
The leading character, 15-year-old Christopher, sets out to solve the murder of the neighbor’s dog, Wellington, after he has been implicated in its demise. The story is an examination of the human condition through the development of Christopher, a mathematical whiz who struggles with the demands of everyday life and interactions with others. He’s never gone beyond his street. He fears strangers and doesn’t like to be touched by anyone. Yet, he’s determined to find out what happened to Wellington.
“I’ve never had a role so dramatic and so emotionally demanding,” says Gavin Conner, who plays Christopher. Conner, 16, said he has taken time to research the character so he can do it justice. “I want to make sure I am reacting the way he would. And he interacts with a lot of people.”
Caligiure said, “The story is about entering Christopher’s mind and his world. He is different than those who don’t have the challenges he has. We learn about his life.” She is a drama therapist educated in mental health. “I am very excited to work with this play and the members of the cast,” she said.
Other primary characters are Christopher’s father Ed, played by Bryan Whitcomb; his mother Judy, played by Dena Lagonigro; and his teacher Siobhan, played by Meg Kelly. Ten additional actors play a chorus of other characters representing Christopher’s thoughts and experiences, which Caligiure says brings depth and energy to the performance.
“This year Clear Space partners with Children's Beach House in Lewes,” said Clear Space Executive Director Wesley Paulson. “I look forward to the opportunity to work together with a local charity, using live theater as a way to bring attention to important needs in our community.”
Partners in prior years have included Fund for Women, Immanuel Shelter, CAMP Rehoboth, Beebe Healthcare’s Women’s Health Services, and AIDS Delaware.
The mission of Children’s Beach House is to help children with communicative disabilities and other special needs to be successful in life, and help them reach their highest potential while becoming members of their families and communities. For more information, go to www.cbhinc.org.
Sponsored by Morris James LLP Attorneys at Law, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” will be performed at 6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 29, and 2 p.m., Sunday, March 1. Tickets are $50 and include a pre-show reception with hors d'oeuvres, beer and wine. Proceeds benefit Children’s Beach House and Clear Space’s Arts Institute Scholarship Fund. For more information about performing arts education or for show tickets, go to www.ClearSpaceTheatre.org or call 302-227-2270.