Over the summer my mom and I went to see a different kind of Broadway show. Not a musical, but a play that was so moving I remember it vividly (even though it was a while ago). We saw The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Unfortunately the show is now off Broadway but I would definitely recommend it was it still playing.
The stage is a reflection of the main character, Christopher Boone’s mind. Christopher has autism and this show provides insight on a person with autism’s life. Christopher is not very good at communicating with people but has a brilliant mind. The story also provides insight on the people who care for children and young adults with autism. Christopher’s father is a very conflicted man and the audience learns more about his past as Christopher is determined to solve the mystery of how a neighbor’s dog ended up dead. This mystery leads him on a spiraling story of discovery, not only about the mystery but about himself and his family.
Because the plot is so intense and I can not do it justice, I will explain how the story shines light on people with autism and their caretakers. For one, the main character tells the story of a teenage boy with autism who is very awkward with people but has a brilliant mind. He is extremely smart and the actor who I saw playing his part was just as brilliant. Christopher’s thoughts were the audience’s perception of the play, and Christopher had an amazing memory and would recall facts in long monologues that only he could tell so vividly. It is not uncommon for children with autism to be extremely intelligent, they just have a hard time connecting with people and can not get the words out.
Although Christopher and all other children with autism are brilliant, they can be a lot of work and stress for parents and caretakers. Christopher, for example, would have fits and roll on the ground grabbing his head and moaning whenever he didn’t understand something. He had a very kind teacher that taught him how to calm down and channel his feelings in a book, which is a large part of the play. Christopher’s father is very stressed out because he cannot understand his son. He keeps information from him because he doesn’t think Christopher is ready, but this only causes more stress. Stress is not uncommon for caretakers of a person with any disability.