The tenth and final play I worked on in high school was a story of a neurodivergent boy, a dead dog, and a complicated family. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is based on Mark Haddon’s novel. When I heard Montclair State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance was producing it, I knew I had to see it. The play introduces us to 15-year-old Christopher, his discovery of a dead dog in his neighbor’s yard, and the investigation that ensues.
Within five minutes of the show I knew it would be the next subject of my writing. Because I knew I could only approach this show subjectively and persuasively, I chose to write a journalistic review of the performance. A piece of academic criticism that required vision through theoretical lenses was not an option for me in this case. Instead, my mission was to herald the play’s best qualities and just relish in the nostalgia of my high school days.
MSU put on five performances between March 18-25 in Memorial Auditorium. I went on Wednesday, March 23rd, and vigorously wrote a piece on it that night. My review was published by The Montclarion the following Monday.
In my review, I touched on my expectations. I had never seen a show in Memorial Auditorium, so I was unaware of the technical capabilities of the space. Students were likely being graded on set, lighting, and audio design, so projections that are typically used for this production were not used. Coming from a technical background I was nervous that the lack of projections would lessen the spectacle. It did not.
The set design was stunning. Not using projections actually opened up the complexity of the set, for projections usually call for stable screens like in my high school’s production. MSU’s set design achieved the simplicity that lies on the other side of complexity.
You can check out my journalistic theatre review here.