Monday, November 19, 2018

Autism on Stage

The Rogue surprised us on Saturday afternoon. We left laughing, smiling, feeling good about the world in general, after watching Hunter Hnat inhabit the role of Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

To call it triumphant is to understate the sorrow nestled inside.the story.  Christopher can't bear to be touched.  Loud noises send him into a tizzy.... I've been thinking about describing it and that's the best I can do.  He's uncontrollable and inconsolable and angry and hurt and scared and furious all at the same time.... and you watch his Mom and his Dad hold their breaking hearts together... barely.

He undertakes pragmatic projects, like passing his maths A levels three years earlier than most, and personal projects, involving trust and distance and doing what he doesn't think he wants to do at all.  There's never a moment of pity.  There's frustration and aggravation and terror and annoyance riding right alongside the love and affection and concern.... always the concern.

It's hard to love him, and they love him so.

The music was percussive and personal; hands on knees, on the sides of the cubes on which the actors sat, mouth noises ranging from beatbox through chanting to poetry.  The Director's Notes told us that All actors remain onstage unless prescrbed otherwise. That Greek Chorus stomped their feet when the scene shifted, hummed a few bars as they hustled through London, and managed to create discrete characters and a milling mob at the same time. Once again, The Rogue did much with little.

I'm always leary of book-to-play experiences, but between last season's Grapes of Wrath and this year's Curious Incident, I may be forced to change my mind.

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