Winter show opens this week at Middle Park High School
Students in the Middle Park High School theater program are in final preparations for their winter production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” which is scheduled to run Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The show, based on Mark Haddon’s best-selling 2003 novel of the same name, takes the audience inside the mind of Christopher, an intelligent, neurodivergent 15-year-old boy. The play opens at seven minutes past midnight, with Christopher standing beside his neighbor’s dead dog, Wellington, who has been speared with a garden fork.
Finding himself under suspicion, Christopher is determined to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington, and he carefully records each fact of the crime. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a thrilling journey that upturns his world.
The role of Christopher is played by Ellie Gagnon — a senior who recently learned that she is also on the autistic spectrum.
“I definitely relate to Christopher, like how he zones out and becomes fixated on things,” she said in a press release. “I appreciate how he has a special interest in space.”
While Gagnon says it was “a little stressful” when she first discovered her own neurodivergence, she now accepts it as part of who she is. As for taking on the challenging role of a 15-year-old on the spectrum, Gagnon said she was excited when the opportunity arose.
“I don’t think there’s a lot of positive representation in the media for people with autism,” she said. “Christopher is a positive representation because he shows that people with autism can come out of their shell and do what they want. I wanted to do this to break some of those barriers.”
Christopher’s dedicated teacher, Siobhan, is played by senior Collette Mace. Christopher’s mother and father are played by juniors Olivia Kendziorski and Connor Murdoch.
The rest of the cast — Christopher’s neighbors as well as the police officers and others he meets on his journey — are played by Paddy Aither, Maisyn Allen, Brooke Bailey, Nathan Chua, Gerrick Emal, Ashlynn Ferguson, Sarah Lantermans, Vallie Mace, Jacki Martinski, Tyler Maurais, Paloma Merrell, Kaelen Peters, Titus Rome, and Macy Spiewak.
The tech team for this production is led by seniors Holly Cormier (costumes), Chance Hein (sound), and Erik Lawrence (lighting and scenic design). Tech team members include Mateo Dytkiewicz, Kaya Hamasaki, Jill Hamlin, Kaylee Hoover, Anna Lantermans, Victor O’Flaherty, Major Powell, Frida Rosas, Brayden Webb, and Adam Zeleznikar.
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” will play 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Middle Park High School. Tickets will be available at the door at $10 for adults, $5 for youth and free for seniors and East Grand students and staff.
Audience members should note that the performance includes flashing lights and strong adult language. Masks will be recommended for the audience.
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