By Natalie La Roche/ Staff Writer
FIU Theater gears up for another attention-grabbing play with “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time,” based on the best-selling novel by Mark Haddon and adapted by Simon Stevens.
FIU Theater will bring the audience into Christopher Boone’s world at a key moment in his life. He is determined to discover the criminal responsible for killing his neighbor’s dog, but his investigation leads him to more questions than answers.
One of the cornerstones of the play is that its protagonist has autism. So when piecing together this incarnation of the show, FIU Alum and director Victoria Collado defined a mindful approach for the production and the experience she wants to give the audience.
“So that was the first thing I said to our design team… we have to consider our audience members that do have autism so that they can experience this without having to have an uncomfortable experience,” she said.
Judy Boone, Christopher’s mom, is played by senior Daniella Valdivieso. She feels her character can be easily written off as a bad person for mistakes she made in mothering Christopher, but Valvieso found insight about the meaning of the show, and life itself, through Judy.
A big part of the story is about not being able to change the past, but about accepting it regardless and allowing it to inform a better version of ourselves today. It’s about “…accepting the full package to move forward,” said Valdivieso.
Themes of connection are further explored in collaboration. Valdivieso and Collado comment on how important the ensemble is in this piece, and how every member supports and leads each other.
The production’s participants aren’t only concerned with what they can do for the show, but about what it can bring for the audience as well.
“I would love for the audience to walk away not making people with autism less-than. I would love for them to really see the possibilities for anybody on this planet. Just come out with more kindness, if I could put it really simply,” says Collado.
It’s similar for Valdivieso. “I hope that people leave, and this is for every show but especially this, leave the performance curious. What is in myself that I need to look at? What is in others that I’m denying? And what can I do in my life and in this world and in this community to help others and to really just work harder and do more?”
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” will run at Wertheim Performing Arts Center at the Modesto Maidique campus starting Feb. 18 through Feb. 27. Tickets for the show are on sale at https://fiutheatre.universitytickets.com/