Millbrook’s fall play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, adapted for Broadway from the 2003 novel by Mark Haddon, promises to deliver compelling sights and sounds over three nights at the Chelsea Morrison Theater. Director Elaine Lifter has assembled a cast and crew of approximately 40 students to bring the piece to life.
Set in England, the play tells the story of Christopher, a teenager on the Autism spectrum, as he investigates the grisly death of a neighbor’s dog. Christopher’s particular experience of Autism makes him unsure in his personal interactions but very at ease in the realm of math and logic. As he systematically seeks answers to the questions around him, he eventually undertakes a deeper investigation of his family and his identity.
Many of the visual elements of Millbrook’s production of the play will take the form of projections designed to reveal the inner workings of Christopher’s mind. These striking scene-setters were designed by the crew in collaboration with Peter Leibold, a professional lighting designer, and Millbrook math students and include hand-written equations and formulae. Peter has worked with theater companies across the country and received a New Hampshire Theatre Award in 2018 for his work. There is a heavy emphasis on prime numbers, in which Christopher takes refuge when under stress. As with the visual components of the production, sound design and musical elements were entirely student-generated and add to the intensity of the story.
Though the show is truly brought to life by the ensemble cast, Stephen Peschel ’22, a first-time actor, will play Christopher. Peschel initially came to the theater to work on the crew and was encouraged to try out for the cast. According to Lifter, Peschel “nailed it” in his audition and has brought so much of himself to the role that his performance promises to be memorable. Second-time student Assistant Director Jack Bloom ’20 has been invaluable in bringing the production to life. Students from art courses including Performance Portfolio, Playwriting, and Improv fill out the cast and crew.
This fall play connects the cast, crew, and audience with an organization that serves the area Autism community. Representatives from the Anderson Center for Autism in Staatsburg will visit prior to the show for a forum-like presentation on Autism to the cast, crew, and Millbrook community at large. An exhibit featuring work by Autistic adults in the Expressive Arts program at the Anderson Center will be shown in the lobby throughout the run. Proceeds from the show will benefit the center.
There will be three performances of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Chelsea Morrison Theater at Millbrook School:
November 14, 15, and 16 at 8 p.m.
Preview article by Jeff Zelevansky
Photos by Marielle LaCosse