M-A Drama’s 2023 fall production, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, premiered this past weekend. The story, based on a 2003 novel by Mark Haddon of the same title, follows 15-year-old Christopher Boone as he investigates the mysterious murder of his neighbor’s dog.
Boone, played by sophomore Kealy Bryman, is a neurodivergent character and a mathematical genius, but ill-equipped to handle social situations.
“Despite being easily overwhelmed, Christopher thrives in mathematics and astronomy. He knows all of the prime numbers up to 7,507 and counts them out in order to calm himself down. He also often recites facts about the universe to whomever is around,” said Bryman.
Bryman said it was difficult to accurately and respectfully portray a neurodivergent character.
She continued, “I hope people are able to really delve into the character and see how someone on the spectrum may struggle with the smallest of things that neurotypical people may find straightforward.”
“I studied a lot about what people on the spectrum do to cope with stressful situations, and I watched all the interviews from the Broadway productions. I think there will always be people who find this kind of portrayal to be offensive or stereotypical, but portraying these types of characters is simply what acting entails,” Bryman said.
The production features a unique “blackbox” stage. Rather than being in the standard PAC seats, the audience is seated on the stage itself surrounding the actors on three sides.
The purpose of the unconventional stage is to create a more intimate environment. The audience will be more focused on Bryman rather than a large, heavily decorated set.
Junior Teagan Murphy, the costume designer for the production, said, “I wanted the costumes to reflect the humanity of the show, so I asked many cast members to bring in their own pieces for their costumes. In this way, the costuming for this show is an amalgamation of the cast and their own experiences.”
Murphy has been a member of the drama community since her freshman year. Although she no longer performs on the stage, she stays involved in the background through organizing and designing costumes.
Murphy explained, “It’s such an honor to work with people who are as passionate as I am about theater. This show is a celebration of humanity focused on interpersonal relationships, and these kinds of connections continue to expand my love for the arts.”
The production closes this weekend with performances on November 17th, 18th, and 19th. The closing show is already sold out, but you can buy tickets to the other two performances here to support your fellow Bears.
If you want a glimpse into the show, watch the trailer here.