The Curious Incident of the the Dog in the Nighttime – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Tyler Nowakowski is quite remarkable. As a third year BFA Acting candidate at the University of Connecticut, he has taken on the challenging and difficult task of inhabiting the mind and body of a teenager grabbling with autism.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” may be the most wildly different, imaginative, remarkable and disturbingly emotional play you will ever experience. You don’t just see the play, you feel it. You are a witness and a participant in the engaging action that swirls around a 15 year old boy, Christopher John Francis Boone. The Jorgensen Theatre on the UCONN campus has been transformed until Sunday, March 8 into a mathematical cube of lights and directions to accommodate Christopher’s unusual world.The projections created by Taylor Edelle Stuart add to the realism of his often complicated existence.

Christopher is capable of amazing mind shattering revelations. You, the audience, are invited to enter into his vastly different views of reality and lets you hang on to his coattails for a bumpy and unbelievable ride. Based on a book by Mark Haddon, it has crossed the pond from London in the form of a new play adapted in 2014 by Simon Stephens.

How disturbing is it to discover a neighbor’s dog has died…not just died, but been murdered? What if you are then suspected of committing that heinous act? Christopher Boone determines that he must clear his own name and learn who the real culprit is. Enter Sherlock Holmes.

That decision takes him on a disturbing and frightening journey. In his autistic world, many things are too difficult for him to comprehend. He hates anything yellow or brown and loves mathematics, especially prime numbers. Anything new is scary, being touched is an anathema, loud noises are disorienting. With a resilence that is almost beyond his ken, Christopher sets off on an odyssey worthy of Ulysses, a young detective determined to uncover the truth.

With resources he didn’t even realize he possessed, he leaves the safety and ordered life he has always known, to go on a grand and dangerous and mysterious adventure. Along the way, he encounters teachers, subway and train conductors, policemen and an assortment of family, friends and strangers including his father Joe Cassidy and mother Margot White and favorite teacher Thalia Eddy as well as Elizabeth Jebran, Mauricio Miranda, Justin Jager, Matthew Antoci, Alexandra Brokowski and Nicolle Cooper who aide or hinder his mission. Kristin Wold directs this intriguing and exciting theatrical revelation into the mind.

For tickets ($26-35, students $10), call the Connecticut Repertory Theatre at 860-486-2113 or online at crt.uconn.edu. Performances are Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Thursday an ASL interpretaton at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., a Sensory Friendly show, and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Follow Christopher on his journey of discovery, one that is unexpectedly shocking and totally unanticipated.

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