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Study Guide Contents 3.) Production Information 4.) Introduction 5.) Letter from the Education Director 6.) Aboutthe Playwright 7.) Characters 8.) Synopsis 9.)

Mickey Rowe - Autistic Actor

10.) Glassary 11.) Questions for Discussion 12.) Projects 13.) Elements of Teaching Theatre 15.) Sources & References

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Director of Educational Outreach Lauren Unbekant (315) 443-1150

Assistant Director of Education Kate Laissle (315) 442-7755

Group Sales & Student Matinees Tracey White (315) 443-9844

Box Office (315) 443-3275


Robert Hupp Artistic Director Jill A. Anderson Managing Director Kyle Bass Associate Artistic Director

Robert M. Hupp

Jill A. Anderson

Kyle Bass

Artistic Director

Managing Director

Associate Artistic Director

I N A S S O C I AT I O N W I T H I N D I A N A R E P E R T O R Y T H E AT R E

Janet Allen

Suzanne Sweeney

Executive Artistic Director

Managing Director

PRESENTS

A P L AY B Y

Simon Stephens BASED ON THE NOVEL BY

Mark Haddon

MEDIA SPONSORS

DIRECTED BY

Risa Brainin

OPENING NIGHT CHAMPAGNE TOAST SPONSOR

SEASON SPONSORS

SCENIC DESIGNER

COSTUME DESIGNER

LIGHTING DESIGNER

SOUND DESIGNER

Russell Metheny

Devon Painter

Michael Klaers

Todd Mack Reischman

PROJECTION DESIGNER

ORIGINAL MUSIC

VOICE & DIALECT COACH

MOVEMENT C O O R D I N AT O R

Katherine Freer

Michelle DiBucci

Thom Jones

Mariel Greenlee

D R A M AT U R G

S TA G E M A N A G E R

CASTING

Richard J. Roberts

Laura Jane Collins

Claire Simon Casting

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was first presented by the National Theatre, London at the Cottesloe Theatre on August 2nd 2012 and transferred to the Gielgud Theatre, West End, London on March 12th 2013. The Play opened in the USA at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on October 5th 2014. This Play is presented by kind permission of Warner Bros. Entertainment. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.� October 25 - November 12, 2017

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Welcome!

A few reminders...

audience etiquette BE PROMPT Give your students plenty of time to arrive, find their seats, and get situated. Have them visit the restrooms before the show begins. RESPECT OTHERS Please remind your students that their behavior and responses affect the quality of the performance and the enjoyment of the production for the entire audience. Live theatre means the actors and the audience are in the same room, and just as the audience can see and hear the performers, the performers can see and hear the audience. Please ask your students to avoid disturbing those around them. Please no talking or unnecessary or disruptive movement during the performance. Also, please remind students that cellphones should be switched off completely. No texting or tweeting, please. When students give their full attention to the action on the stage, they will be rewarded with the best performance possible.

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As you take your students on the exciting journey into the world of live theatre we hope that you’ll take a moment to help prepare them to make the most of their experience. Unlike movies or television, live theatre offers the thrill of unpredictability.

GOOD NOISE, BAD NOISE Instead of instructing students to remain totally silent, please discuss the difference between appropriate responses (laughter, applause, participation when requested) and inappropriate noise (talking, cell phones, etc).

With the actors present on stage, the audience response becomes an integral part of the performance and the overall experience: the more involved and attentive the audience, the better the show. Please remind your students that they play an important part in the success of the performance.

STAY WITH US Please do not leave or allow students to leave during the performance except in absolute emergencies. Again, reminding them to use the restrooms before the performance will help eliminate unnecessary disruption.

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Dear Educator, Live theatre is a place for people to gather and experience the joys, triumphs, and sorrows life has to offer. The Syracuse Stage education department is committed to providing the tools to make learning in and through the arts possible to address varied learning styles and to make connections to curricula and life itself. It is our goal in the education department to maximize the theatre experience for our education partners with experiential learning and in-depth arts programming. Thank you for your interest and support. Sincerely,

Lauren Unbekant Director of Educational Outreach

2017/2018 EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH SPONSORS Syracuse Stage is committed to providing students with rich theatre experiences that explore and examine what it is to be human. Research shows that children who participate in or are exposed to the arts show higher academic achievement, stronger self-esteem, and improved ability to plan and work toward a future goal. Many students in our community have their first taste of live theatre through Syracuse Stage’s outreach programs. Last season more than 15,500 students from across New York State attended or participated in the Bank of America Children’s Tour, artsEmerging, the Young Playwrights Festival, Backstory, Young Adult Council, and our Student Matinee Program. We gratefully acknowledge the corporations and foundations who support our commitment to in-depth arts education for our comunity.

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about the playwright

Simon stephens Born in 1971, Simon Stephens is a prolific and award-winning playwright, whose notable works include Punk Rock (2009) and an adaptation of Brecht and Weill’s The Threepenny Opera (2016). He recently collaborated with director Ivo van Hov on Obsession (2017), a stage version of Luchino Visconti’s 1943 screenplay Ossessione. His adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won seven Olivier Awards including Best Play in 2013. In 2015, the Broadway production of Curious Incident won five Tony Awards, including Best Play and Best Actor. Stephens has written more than 30 original plays and adaptations. Other award-winning works include Pornography (2008), which won the Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland; On the Shores of the Wide World, which garnered the Olivier Award in 2006; and Port, which won the Pearson Award for Best New Play in 2002.

Mark Haddon, born in 1962, first made his mark as a writer and illustrator of children’s books. His many works for kids include the Agent Z series, from whichAgent Z and Penguins from Mars was adapted into a sitcom for the BBC. As a young man, Haddon worked with autistic individuals, which provided inspiration for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The first of his novels written for adults, it won the Whitbread Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best First Book. His subsequent works include A Spot of Bother (2006), The Red House (2012), and The Pier Falls and Other Stories (2016). He has also written screenplays for the BBC’s Fungus the Bogeyman (2006) and Coming Down the Mountain (2007). Mark Haddon teaches creative writing and lives in Oxford, England.

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Characters

Christopher John Francis Boone: A 15 year-old English boy who lives with his father and attends a special school. Although his specific diagnosis is never identified, it is assumed that he is on the autism spectrum with characteristics we typically call Asperger’s Syndrome. He is a brilliant math student.

Mrs. Shears: The neighbor whose dog, Wellington, was dead with a garden fork stuck in him. She is an angry woman. Roger Shears: The Boones’ neighbor.

Siobhan: Christoperh’s teacher. She narrates part of the story, speaking from Christo- Reverend Peters: The proctor for Christopher’s A Level in Maths. pher’s writings. Toby: Christopher’s pet rat. Ed: Christopher’s father who is his sole caregiver. Ensemble: passersby, police, train employees, shopkeepers, neighbors, etc. Judy: Christopher’s mother, who now lives in London. She admits that caring for her son was overwhelming. Mrs. Alexander: A kindly neighbor.

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SYNOPSIS When a neighbor’s dog is found dead with a garden fork in his side, 15 year-old Christopher Boone is suspected because he is standing over and holding the dog. Christopher, who is highly intelligent and on the autism spectrum, decides to act as a detective, like Sherlock Holmes, to find the real culprit. In doing so he unearths a secret and undertakes a challenging journey from his home in Swindon to London. His experiences and discoveries along the way will change his life.

Mark Haddon on the role Christopher’s autism plays in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: “If he were diagnosed, he would be diagnosed as having Asperger’s syndrome, which is a form of autism. I suppose you’d call it high-functioning autism in that he can function on, you know, a day-to-day basis, in a kind of rudimentary way. But he has a serious difficulty with life in that he really doesn’t empathize with other human beings. He can’t read their faces. He can’t put himself in their shoes. And he can’t understand anything more than the literal meaning of whatever’s said to him, although I’m very careful in the book not to actually use the word ‘Asperger’s’ or ‘autism.’ ... Because I don’t want him to be labelled, and because, as with most people who have a disability, I don’t think it’s necessarily the most important thing about him….”

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From a 2006 interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air


Mickey Rowe -Autistic Actor

Advocates for people with autism often say, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” Just like the general population, autistic people are individuals with different personalities, talents, and limitations. As described by the Autism Society, autism is “a complex disability; signs usually appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others”. It is a “spectrum” condition. People are affected in different ways and to different degrees. Actor Mickey Rowe, who plays Christopher in the Indiana Repertory Theater/Syracuse Stage production of The Curious Incident, is the first autistic actor to play the role. In an article for Playbill, he says, “With autism comes a new way of thinking; a fresh eye, a fresh mind. Literally, a completely different wiring of the brain.”

From Page to Stage with The Curious Incident The book Curious Incident has the audience reading the pages of Christopher’s journal and he tells his story through drawings, diagrams and photos. In the play, Christopher’s teacher Siobhan functions as a narrator, reading portions of Christopher’s first-person observations in his book, occasionally conversing with him what he has written. At times, ensemble members, who play multiple roles, also speak his thoughts as the production attempts to have us see and hear the world as Christopher does. The set design completes our entry in his mind. In terms of style, we see the world subjectively. Sometimes, this means emphasizing things that would ordinarily

go unnoticed but are very important to Christopher, as a person on the autism spectrum and as a detective. The play also uses a complex time structure, moving cinematically between the play’s present, with Siobhan’s reading the journal, to events in the past. At the end of The Curious Incident onstage, we learn that we have been watching a play written from Christopher’s novel. It is a play-within-a-play.

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Glossary A levels: The advanced level exams needed to leave school in the United Kingdom. They are given in separate areas of study. In The Curious Incident, Christopher is taking the Maths A Levels. They are part of the General Certificate of Education, are national examinations, and like our College Boards or ACT, they are required for entrance into university.

Lemon squash: A carbonated drink made from a fruit syrup, in this case lemon. Lose my rag: To get angry or lose one’s temper.

Aloo gobi sag: An Indiana dish consisting of cauliflower and potatoes, seasoned with garam masala. Indian food, often as take-out or packaged food, is as popular in England as Mexican food here.

Marks & Spencer: A popular chain of department stores. In slang, it is often called “Marks & Sparks.”

A to Z: A pocket-sized map guide to London.

Tube: The London subway system.

Battenberg Cake: A sponge cake constructed to create a checkerboard pattern of pink and yellow layers when cut.

Trainers: Sneakers.

Bed-sit: A one-room apartment that we would call a studio. Biscuit: Cookie British Rail: The English train system, which is much more extensive and popular than our own Amtrak. Cashpoint card: A debit card

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Invigilator: An exam proctor.

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Plonker: A fool.


What has changed by the end of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time? Has Christopher grown? If so, how? Has anyone else grown or changed? If so, how? Christopher Boone is often perplexed that people talk in metaphors. He gives familiar examples like “ the apple of his eye” and “a skeleton in the cupboard” (we would say ‘closet’). He also cites the very English phrase “a pig of a day.” What do you think a pig of a day would be? What are some other metaphors that we commonly use that might confuse Christopher, who sees the world in a very structured way? How might they appear to a person who is new to the English language? What are the derivations of these phrases? How did they come to mean what they do? Christopher says, “On the bus on the way to school we passed four red cars in a row, so today is a good day.” Any time he see a lot of red objects is a good day for Christopher. Why? Do little things make a good day for you? What makes a good day for you? Murder mysteries operate by a series of unspoken rules. Using books you have read or films and television shows you have seen as examples, list those rules. How does Christopher’s investigation follow or not follow these rules? How does his particular way of seeing the world help his detective work? Does it hinder his investigation? When reduced to a one sentence description, Christopher’s parents appear to be unsympathetic or even villainous. Does your opinion change when we see their motives and have a fuller understanding of the lives they lead?

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Pre-Play Activity Author Mark Haddon has stated that The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is “a novel about a young mathematician who has some strange behavioral problems. And I think that’s right.” On his A Level Maths test, he is asked to solve this problem:

Show that a triangle with sides that can be written in the form of n squared plus one, n squared minus one and two n (where n is greater than one) is right angled.

How would you solve it? After the curtain call for the stage production, Christopher returns to the stage to show his answer. How is his approach like or unlike yours? Post-Play Activity The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is not told as a conventional stage narrative. Since it tries to let us into Christopher’s mind, it is more like a visual and aural collage. He tells a story with a beginning, middle, and end, but is filled with his impressions, sometimes with hyper-attention to details. Create a collage of your own day, with written notes and phrases, and impressions expressed through pictures.

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elements of drama PLOT

What is the story line? What happened before the play started? What do the characters want? What do they do to achieve their goals? What do they stand to gain/lose? THEME

What ideas are wrestled with in the play? What questions does the play pose? Does it present an opinion? CHARACTER

Who are the people in the story? What are their relationships? Why do they do what they do? How does age/status/etc. affect them? LANGUAGE

What do the characters say? How do they say it? When do they say it? MUSIC

How do music and sound help to tell the story? SPECTACLE

How do the elements come together to create the whole performance?

Other Elements: Conflict/Resolution, Action, Improvisation, Non-verbal communication, Staging, Humor, Realism and other styles, Metaphor, Language, Tone, Pattern & Repetition, Emotion, Point of view.

Any piece of theatre comprises multiple art forms. As you explore this production with your students, examine the use of:

WRITING VISUAL ART/DESIGN MUSIC/SOUND DANCE/MOVEMENT

activity

At its core, drama is about characters working toward goals and overcoming obstacles. Ask students to use their bodies and voices to create characters who are: very old, very young, very strong, very weak, very tired, very energetic, very cold, very warm. Have their characters interact with others. Give them an objective to fulfill despite environmental obstacles. Later, recap by asking how these obstacles affected their characters and the pursuit of their objectives.

INQUIRY

How are each of these art forms used in this production? Why are they used? How do they help to tell the story?

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elements of design LINE can have length, width, texture, direction, and

curve. There are five basic varieties: vertical, horizontal, diagonal, curved, and zig-zag.

SHAPE is two-dimensional and encloses space.

It can be geometric (e.g. squares and circles), man-made, or free-form.

FORM is three-dimensional. It encloses space

and fills space. It can be geometric (e.g. cubes and cylinders), man-made, or free-form.

COLOR has three basic properties:

HUE is the name of the color (e.g. red, blue, green), INTENSITY is the strength of the color (bright or dull), VALUE is the range of lightness to darkness.

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TEXTURE refers to the “feel” of an

object’s surface. It can be smooth, rough, soft, etc. Textures may be ACTUAL (able to be felt) or IMPLIED (suggested visually through the artist’s technique).

SPACE is defined and determined

by shapes and forms. Positive space is enclosed by shapes and forms, while negative space exists around them.


Sources and Resources: Sources http://www.autism-society.org http://www.cnyasa.org. Frank, Priscilla. “Finally an Actor With Autism is Starring in Curious Incident.” Huffington Post, May 11 2017. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mickey-rowe-autism_us_59130afde4b050bdca6112d7 Gross, Terry (26 June 2003). “Interview: Mark Haddon Talks About His New Book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”. Fresh Air. NPR. Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Vintage Books, 2003. Haddon, Mark. http://www.markhaddon.com Stephens, Simon. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Bloomsbury, 2012.

Useful Resources http://www.autism-society.org Valuable resources about autism, its many forms, and living with the condition http://www.cnyasa.org Local, support, information for families, programs, and a newsletter can be found at the Central New York Chapter of the Autism Society,. Grandin, Temple. Thinking in Pictures. Vintage Books, 2006. Temple Grandin is probably the country’s most famous autistic person. In this first book she speaks both as scientist and autistic person, telling in essays how she thinks in pictures rather than words. She discusses her childhood and her insight into the thought processes of animals. Grandin, Temple, with Richard Panek. The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed. First Mariner Books, 2014. Grandin’s story was dramatized in a fine film: Temple Grandin. HBO films, Claire Danes, Catherine O’Hara, Julia Ormond, dir, Mick Jackson. SYRACUSE STAGE EDUCATION

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Lord, Cynthia. Rules. Scholastic Press, 2006. Newberry Award-winning book for grades 4-7. Catherine, who is twelve, makes rules for her brother David, whois autistic. Many of the rules are practical like, “No toys in the fish tank.” Others are social:”It’s okay to hug mom, but not the clerk at the video store.” When Catherine befriends, Jason, a non-verbal boy in a wheelchair, her viewpoint begins to change. Also helpful is Cynthia Lord’s website: http://www.cynthialord.com/rules.html Kluth, Paula and Shouse, John. The Autism Checklist: A Practical Reference For Parents and Teachers. John Wiley and Sons, 2009. As described on Amazon: A practical resource filled with information, tips, and checklists for helping kids with autism. This useful, accessible guide offers teachers and parents a better understanding of children on the autism spectrum and provides them with the kinds of support and intervention they need. Written in an easy-to-read checklist format, the book is filled with up-to-date research, practical advice, and helpful resources on a wide range of topics. The book covers five areas: basic information on autism, checklists for parents, checklists for teachers, effective support strategies, and helpful resources. • Provides vital, accessible information for parents and teachers working with children in the autism spectrum • Contains a wealth of useful strategies, information, and resources • A volume in the popular Jossey-Bass Checklist series • Offers a comprehensive yet affordable resource • Kluth is the bestselling author of You’re Going to Love This Kid!: Teaching Students with Autism Actor Mickey Rowe has enjoying media attention with his casting in The Curious Incident. Some interesting pieces are:

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This article has a link to his audition tape for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: Frank, Priscilla. “Finally an Actor With Autism is Starring in Curious Incident.” Huffington Post, May 11 2017. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mickey-rowe-autism_us_59130afde4b050bdca6112d7

Rowe, Mickey. “The First Actor With Autism to play Curious Incident’s Autistic Lead Speaks Out. Playbill, May13 2017. http://www.playbill.com/article/the-first-actor-with-autism-to-play-curious-incidents-autistic-lead-speaks-out

A Seattle news video spotlighting Rowe in a local children’s theater production. http://www.king5.com/entertainment/television/programs/evening/autistic-actor-mickey-rowe/114272020

Rozsa, Matthew. “For Once, an Autistic Role Will Be Played by an Autistic Actor.” Salon, May15 2017. http://www.salon.com/2017/05/15/mickey-rowe-the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-at-night-time-autistic/

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THE THREE MUSKETEERS ADAPTED FROM THE NOVEL BY ALEXANDRE DUMAS | BY CATHERINE BUSH | DIRECTED BY ROBERT HUPP CO-PRODUCED WITH THE SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF DRAMA

NEXT TO NORMAL MUSIC BY TOM KITT | BOOK AND LYRICS BY BRIAN YORKEY | DIRECTED BY ROBERT HUPP | CHOREOGRAPHY BY ANTHONY SALATINO | MUSICAL DIRECTION BY BRIAN CIMMET

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THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME BY SIMON STEPHENS | ADAPTED FROM THE NOVEL BY MARK HADDON DIRECTED BY RISA BRAININ CO-PRODUCED WITH INDIANA REPERTORY THEATRE

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Curious Incident Study Guide