Manchester University
Oak Leaves

October 18, 2019

curious incident

MU Theater Society Prepares for Upcoming November Play 

Alex Baker


Kira Lace Hawkins, lecturer of theatre, is no rookie when it comes to producing plays. This upcoming November, all eyes will be on her and her crew to showcase her tenth play produced at Manchester University, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.” The story, which is set in London, will focus on a boy named Christopher Boone who has behavioral differences.

“The show opens with him attempting to solve the mystery of who killed his neighbor’s dog, and through that mystery we find out more about how Christopher relates to his family, and how he relates to the world around him,” Hawkins says. The purpose of the story is to depict who Christopher Boone truly is.

“It’s written in a very fast-paced style meant to give us the idea that we’re in Christopher’s brain,” Hawkins says. “Where normal plays have 15 or so long scenes that are ten or more minutes each, this play has 57 scenes that move in quick succession.” Hawkins is interested in producing plays that are somewhat thought-provoking, and believes audience members should leave with a desire to discuss what they have just seen. “It’s challenging and life-affirming and they hopefully leave with a renewed sense of self-confidence and worth,” Hawkins says.

“I chose this play because it’s fresh and modern, and it also presents a really fun challenge for the ensemble acting-wise,” she continues.  When deciding what play she wants to produce next for the University, Hawkins does not take an easy route. “It’s such an exciting artistic challenge to move so quickly from place to place playing several different characters,” she says.

Spartans involved are eager to show this play to the Manchester community. Arpan Paul, senior, will be playing Roger. Paul noted that his character may not have a lot of lines, but Roger is still important. Mackenzie Weadick, senior, cannot wait for her peers to view the play. “This is one of my very favorite plays and I am so excited we get to share it with the school,” she says in excitement. Weadick will be playing Christopher’s teacher, Siobhan. Students will be able to connect with this modern play.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” touches on overcoming obstacles to achieve dreams that seem nonrealistic. Also, the boy will relate himself to his parents and see how they are similar/different. This means he will start to find who he really is. Hawkins believes that students will be inspired by the story as there will be many moments for students to connect with the main character.

Both Paul and Weadick believe that all theatric elements are present to entertain viewers for the duration of the play. “The audience should expect a really nice story, comedic relief, a smell of detective mystery topped with pros and cons of daily life of a child facing some mental/behavioral challenges,” Paul says. “Overall it’s a mixture of all the ingredients needed for a complete entertainment of the audience.” 

Weadick is amped up for the viewers. “This show is captivating, funny, sad, and everything in between,” she says. “Be ready for anything!”

Not only will students have the opportunity to be in the play, but community members are also participating. “I was also excited to get some age-appropriate community members involved--we have Janeen Kooi and Heidi Fairchild who both work at the University, and Dr. Eric Reichenbach who is a family practice doctor in town playing some of our older characters,” Hawkins said.

The staging factors are crucial. The design of the set gives Hawkins an opportunity to captivate the audience with her creativity. Since the main character is great at mathematics, she and her set designer came up with the idea to make moving blocks that are shaped like Tetris cubes, which is the main character’s favorite game. “The lights should be exciting, and we plan to use flashy projections to add to the modern feel, as well as to help us understand the types of chaos that enters Christopher’s brain,” Hawkins says.

All of the production factors play a role in development of Christopher Boone’s character. The first show is on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m., followed by the second performance on Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. Then the last show will take place on Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. The play can be seen in Cordier Auditorium at Manchester University for all three dates.