Oregon Contemporary Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time generated so much buzz even before it opened that the company has extended the run.
The script by Simon Stephens, based on the acclaimed young adult novel by Mark Haddon, received top awards on Broadway and in London. The local production, directed by John Schmor with consummate skill, fulfills all expectations.
Christopher, superbly played by Nate Pereira, is an autistic 15 year old. He’s a genius at math, but he can’t be touched and he rarely stops fidgeting. With the help of flawless projections and a stunning toy train, the play succeeds in letting us experience the world as he does — too loud, too fast, too confusing — while at the same time we see how unaware he is of danger.
Christopher is at his most productive with his teacher Siobhan. In Allison Mickelson’s finely crafted portrayal she is smart, focussed and trust-worthy.
This modern version of the young hero’s journey begins when Christopher sees a neighbor’s dead dog pinned to the ground by a pitchfork. Since the boy is suspected of the crime, he sets out to find the true culprit by interviewing neighbors he has never dared to approach.
In trying to unravel the mystery he discovers others, and his sheltered life cracks open. Paul Dunkel and Inga Wilson are outstanding as his troubled parents. Six other fine actors play multiple roles, including inanimate objects.
Through humor, tension and sorrow we realize this boy who sees everything, never lies and understands that he’s part of the universe, might be able to achieve success and happiness.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time runs through February 8th. Better buy tickets right now.