Community Through Theatre and local high school student, Maxwell Castagne, takes on the challenging role of Christopher Boone, lead in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, running in the Warehouse Theatre March 7-8 and 13-15, 2020.
Christopher, fifteen years old, stands beside Mrs. Shears’ dead dog. It has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in the book he is writing to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington. He has an extraordinary brain, exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and he distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.
When describing Christopher, Max told us that “Christopher is unique! He loves science and math, which I relate to because I like those subjects as well.” Max finds additional similarities with Christopher in that he also “doesn’t prefer to be touched, which is a trait that Christopher carries.”
“I’m not on the spectrum but there are many similarities between us which I’ve noticed throughout rehearsal,” said Max.
Preparing for the role, Max took the time to study the Netflix series ‘Atypical’, which is a heartfelt comedy that follows Sam, a teenager on the autism spectrum, who has decided he is ready to become more independent.
Max watched Atypical as a way to study an appropriate and accurate depiction of a person on the spectrum in current media. “My main goal when watching the show was to learn the “ticks” of Sam and how he reacted when things ‘set him off’,” said Max.
Max also visited EC Glass High School with Director of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Corey Wilson, and met with special education teacher Jennifer Lithgow to discuss different scenarios regarding how an individual on the spectrum might react in a certain situation.
“I definitely wanted to portray Christopher in the correct way,” said Max. “ I did a lot of research in preparation for the role”.
Another form of guidance Max received was from working with cast mates, of whom work or live with individuals with disabilities. “This helped me a lot, as they were able to give me a lot of advice on character development.”
Max says his takeaway from portraying the role of Christopher has allowed him to gain a newfound understanding for individuals with special needs. “Digging into this character, Christopher really just wants to be Christopher and he wants to be loved; maybe not touched, but he still wants that connection with people. He doesn’t like to be touched by strangers and that’s really not so odd”.
“The whole process has been hard but so much fun. Having gotten into theatre recently, I feel that it’s given me insight to more than I ever imagined having. I feel honored to play this role and put it in the right light. I’m able to show people that individuals with disabilities aren’t so different”.
Don’t miss your chance to see Max in the role of Christopher, as well as the rest of the cast, in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, running in the Warehouse Theatre March 7-8 and 13-15, 2020.
Tickets are available now at academycenter.org.
This event is sponsored by Campbell Insurance and First National Bank.