By LOIS KINDLE
East Bay High School Theatre will present “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” its third show of the 2023-2024 season, Feb. 21 – Feb. 23.
Based on the 2003 mystery novel by British writer Mark Haddon and script written by Simon Stephens, the award-winning play will take place at the school’s Kathryn Hill Auditorium, 7710 Big Bend Road, Gibsonton, at 7 p.m. each evening. Doors open at 6:30. It will include a 15-minute intermission. Concessions will be sold.
Tickets are $7 at the door, payable in cash or via Cash App or Venmo – no credit cards or checks. Community groups of 10 or more seniors are invited to bring busloads of residents for a discounted price. Contact email@example.com or call 813-671-5134 for group rates.
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is the story of Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old boy with autism who lives in the United Kingdom with his father, Ed. When Christopher’s neighbor’s dog, Wellington, turns up dead in the garden next door, the teen makes it his personal mission to find out what happened.
During his investigation, Christopher uncovers secrets about his own family and is confronted with issues he never knew existed. The story explores autism and how it affects not just Christopher, but also everyone around him.
“We analyzed this script in my AICE (Advanced International Certificate of Education) accelerated theatre class last year, and the students were immediately drawn to the story, “ said Krista Blanchette, theatre director. “Two of my daughters, ages 11 and 14, have autism, and my students are well-acquainted with them. As a theatre group, we felt that producing this show was an opportunity to illustrate the real world of autism and its effects on the family. At the same time, it gives our theatre students the challenge of creating incredibly diverse characters and exploring their craft.”
Due to the play’s adult subject matter, which includes a real depiction of the family dynamic and how the mind of a person with autism maneuvers in the world, this play is not intended for audiences under 12. Directed by Blanchette, it features a cast of 13 performers, including the following main characters: Christopher Boone (played by Carlos Santiz); Siobhan (by Savannah Feaster); Christopher’s mother, Judy Boone, (by Sadie Van Liew) and his dad, Ed Boone (by Ian D. Silverman).
“The serious subject matter of this show has been a challenge,” said Van Liew. “This is a complete change from our last production. I have really enjoyed taking on the accent work required for my character and working on the relationship between the characters has been enlightening as a performer.”
“Playing a character with autism has shifted my perspective into understanding a unique way of experiencing the world,” he said. “It’s about showing an audience how someone with autism navigates the complexity of his interactions in the world.
I’ll know my role was performed correctly once everyone gets that we’re all more alike than we are different.”
Founded in 1973, East Bay Theatre is celebrating its 50th season. It was started by English/drama teacher Lynn Lota, who recently passed away. She was replaced in 1999 by Blanchette, whose last name was Pelham at the time.
“It was very different back then,” she said. “I started with about 60 or so students and now have close to 200. We initially produced 2 shows per year and now do five.”
In 2002, Blanchette founded the Moving Minds Theatre Co. for honors drama students, which now includes 35.
The next East Bay Theatre production will be the musical “Chicago” May 9-11.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 813-671-5134.