I saw “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” at the Ahmanson Wednesday night. I loved the Mark Haddon book about Christopher, the eccentric boy pursuing the murderer of Wellington, his neighbor’s dog.
The production startled me. I wasn’t expecting computer graphics, choreography, or a clanging soundtrack, but these special effects worked wonderfully as Christopher, played with brilliance by Adam Langdon, parsed out complex maths problems, grew disoriented and frightened in the London train station, and mimed being afloat in outer space.
Even while intent on the play I thought a lot about my own Christopher, who read “The Curious Incident” when he was only 10. I knew he’d love the book, so I read it to him first, carefully skipping over the F word, which peppers every page. But he seized the book from me and devoured it on his own, and decided to do his “Book in a Bag” project on the story.
This alternative book report format requires a book summary, a decorated paper bag with items from the book inside, and a copy of the book displayed on students’ desk. Christopher tucked a fork, a tiny plastic dog, a scrap of yellow cloth (Christopher in the book abhors yellow), a letter, and a model train in the bag. He was in 5th grade in a parochial school at the time, so the adult book with the salty language gave the project a deliciously subversive quality.
His teacher, Mrs. Hapgood (name changed to protect the incurious) bestowed an A on his project, but never asked about the book or flipped through it to see what it was about. Christopher and I shared a conspiratorial snicker about that.
I went to the theater alone Wednesday night, riding the Blue Line from the Wardlow Station in Long Beach and trekking the mile or so from the 7th Street Metro Station to the Ahmanson and back after the play ended. Everything about the evening seemed somewhat strange, wandering around Los Angeles on a weeknight, being in a theater audience, which is now a rare experience for me, and listening to the assortment of slightly mad people on the train back home.
I told David the following morning that I wanted to go to the theater every night from now on. So far I haven’t made that come true, but I can always fantasize.