Screen production at Dietrich Theatercexplores life of boy on autism spectrum

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TUNKHANNOCK — “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” by Mark Haddon is universally acclaimed, and now this amazing novel has been adapted for the stage by Simon Stephens for National Theatre Live.

This screen production comes to the Dietrich Theater on two Sundays, Aug. 12 and 19, at 2 p.m. This story is told through the lens of a 15-year-old-boy on the autism spectrum and how he navigates the world around him. But it is not just about autism. It is really all about our differences, that we all have to find our way, and it is about the role of empathy that is so crucial.

The book “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” is one of the featured books on the PBS Great American Read. The first showing on Aug. 12 will be introduced by Chris Norton of WVIA who will also give away some Great American Read T-shirts afterward.

Director Marianne Elliot explains that she wanted the audience to be immersed in what it was like to be in Christopher’s world, choosing to stage the play in theater-in-the round. Movement Directors have “choreographed” what life is like for Christopher, showing what life can be like for all of us as we make sense of what life brings to us. Elliot also directed the amazing National Theater Live production of “War Horse,” featuring life-like puppets.

Actor Luke Treadaway plays Christopher and his challenging navigation through everyday demands, such as getting from one place to the other on London’s transportation system and trying to understand the complexity of metaphors he hears in everyday speech. Elliott weaves every element at her disposal to encourage audiences to understand the nature and importance of empathy, which is at the heart of the novel.

Critics rave about this production.

“There are, to put it mildly, huge pitfalls attendant upon dramatizing so intensely personal a first-person narrative, not least because Christopher’s connection to other people is so fractured. The novel exists within Christopher’s private world which is, initially at least, seen solely from his perspective. That ought to present obstacles to dramatization since presenting characters on stage show people in three dimensions. Yet this translation of the narrative allows neither Christopher’s vision nor Haddon’s concept to be diluted,” according to David Benedict of Variety magazine.

Another reviewer, Henry Hitchens, exclaims, “’The Curious Incident’ is a beautiful, eloquent show about the wonders of a life that initially seems hopelessly constrained. And Treadaway is thrillingly good, I don’t think there’s a better performance right now on the London stage.”

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” won seven Olivier Awards and five Tony Awards. Tickets to the screenings of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” are available online at or at the door. General admission is $14. Senior and member tickets are $12 each and student tickets are $10 each. photo
Screen production comes to Dietrich Theater Aug. 12, 19