The Hippodrome Theatre and the UF School of Theatre and Dance are partnering to present “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” a former Broadway show and recipient of five Tony Awards.
The Hippodrome will be putting on the show throughout the month until Sept. 22. Tickets can be purchased on thehipp.org or from the Hippodrome box office at 352-375-4477.
The play follows 15-year-old Christopher, a boy who possesses an extraordinary mind but has difficulty comprehending the outside world.
After being accused of killing the neighbor’s dog, Christopher sets out on a journey to find the guilty party and uncovers secrets that will change his life forever.
The play’s cast features a blend of professional Hippodrome actors and UF students.
A key component of the play is Christopher’s behavior, portrayed by actor Kyle Brumley, whose reactions to certain situations are often associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Though the disorder is never labeled as such in the play, Ralf Remshardt, the director of the show and a professor of theatre at UF, finds this variation from neurotypical characters important among audiences.
“I think it’s a play that very deeply and strongly appeals to our empathy for people who have a different set of experiences than we do,” said Remshardt.
Brumley’s portrayal of Christopher presents him as overwhelmingly smart one moment and simply overwhelmed the next, making Christopher both heartbreaking and endearing. Christopher is forced to face the intricacies of human interaction and the daunting experiences of the outside world that most consider ordinary.
Gloria Halsell, a UF acting senior, plays the role of Siobhan, Christopher’s teacher and mentor.
Halsell, whose brother is diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, finds the show offers a portrayal of individuals on the autistic spectrum and those around them that is both refreshing and heartening.
“My character and Mrs. Alexander are the people who are infatuated with his brain and his quirks and don't try to shut him down,” Halsell said, “which I think is something I will take further than the play.... It’s fostered a sense of being open, which is really nice, and I hope that the audience gets that too.”
The show, which must navigate the back-and-forth of Christopher’s experiences and emotions, delicately addresses the experience of a boy trying desperately to make sense of the world.
“Every night I cry,” Halsell said on the emotional experiences of Christopher’s character in the play.
Centered around a boy that finds the intricacies of right triangles far simpler than human nature, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” introduces audiences to a world that many have never seen before.