Students Explore Autism and Relationships Through Production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Upper School actors and crew presented The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time last week to three sold-out audiences. The story centers around Christopher, played by Cal Barton ‘21, as he struggles to sort out a mystery surrounding the stabbing of a neighbor’s dog. Christopher, a mathematics whiz with autism, learns through the course of the play that most of the adults in his life have not been honest with him. He pushes against his own boundaries in an attempt to discover the truth, and, in the end, emerges stronger and with renewed relationships.

Barton took his responsibility of portraying Christopher seriously. He said, “From the moment I was cast as Christopher, I knew that I had a difficult job to do; my primary concern had to do with maintaining a balance wherein autism spectrum clues would play an important enough role in the story so that Christopher’s character would be received as he was written to be received while also making those clues unclear enough so as to not be offensive. I did a lot of research for that reason, and the play has really changed my worldview regarding disabilities.”

Jaylah McMurtry ’21 played the role of Siobhan, Christopher’s learning assistant at school, who encourages him to explore the mystery of the dog and document his findings in a notebook which he entitles The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. She said, “The show really opened my eyes to see that despite the challenges you are dealt and all of the naysayers in your life, you can do anything you put effort toward in order to achieve. I was able to discover such meaning from the play below the surface because as a cast we all were very committed to telling the story for audiences that could be somewhat relatable and potentially inspire people. That atmosphere and level of hard work from a cast is such a unique experience that does not always come with every show, so I am grateful to have been a part of it.”

In addition to the three weekend performances, the Upper School students offered a production for Middle School students Friday morning. The performance sparked animated conversation among the younger classmates as they headed back to the Middle School after the performance.

Congratulations to the entire cast and crew for a stellar performance and creative production!