‘Curious Incident’ portrays unique perspective of autism

by Analicia Cass/Staff Writer

Often movies and plays are viewed by an audience that is unaware the stories are based on the plot of a book. The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Nighttime is one of those times.

It all starts when this boy Christopher – who  is high on the autism spectrum – finds his neighbor’s dog dead in the yard with a pitchfork sticking in it. The The Curious Incident is about him investigating who killed the dog because it is his belief that the person should be punished the same as a person who murders another. When Christopher finds out the culprit is someone he’s close with, he feels like that person may harm him too; he goes to be with his mother in a city far away. In the end, he is back home and all is well, or as well as it could be. Through his adventure he is caught by police, faces terrifying obstacles, and has to learn how to live with autism in the outside world.

I went to see The Curious Incident in October. The play was amazing! It portrayed the characters very well. I was able to see the characters acting and speaking the same way while I read the book. The man who played the main character, Christopher, is on the autism spectrum, but not at the level of the character he portrayed. He had an inside view of what it is like to be on the spectrum and did his best to show it to the audience so there would be no misconceptions. During an after-show questionnaire, he said it was important for him to portray this character properly because having autism in the real world is hard, harder than most things in life. A few other members of the cast also had family members on the spectrum and the play was important to them because they tried their hardest to represent regular everyday people and how they judged or treated an autistic person. With the cast having this insight, it made the play even more intriguing.

Both the play and the book had a unique perspective on how this storyline would actually go for a teenager with autism. He has more obstacles and hardships than the average person who would just bury the dog and be sad. He has a harder time with emotions and speaking to people. With Christopher’s autism being high on the spectrum, he shows the fidgeting in his hands and when something upsets him he screams and curls up on the ground and sometimes hits himself. This is the side of autism few people speak about, and this book and play really represent it realistically.

As you watch there are parts that make laugh until your sides hurt. There are parts that make you rethink how you’ve talked to others; they make you rethink your actions. There are even parts where you want to cry with them and you can feel their pain.

The book is depicted wonderfully through the play; it even seems as though there aren’t any details missing from the play that are found in the book. From the emotions and appearance of the characters all the way to the small details. The book is very descriptive because it is told from the point of view of a teenager with autism and he pays very close attention to the small details.

The book is an amazing read and I do recommend it to everyone. It is eye opening and the details really don’t let you put the book down. And the play, no matter the cast, is incredible; even though it changes from play to play, you’re guaranteed a show that pays attention to detail and will exceed your expectations.