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February 15, 2019

A ‘Curious’ mystery — and an inclusive performance — part of SVSU's latest theatre production

Curious Incident QuoteSaginaw Valley State University's theatre department will stage its production of Simon Stephens' play, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” from Wednesday to Sunday, Feb. 20-24, in SVSU's Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.

Based on Mark Haddon’s best-selling 2003 novel of the same name, the play follows 15-year-old Christopher Boone (played by freshman Jared Kaufman, a communication and theatre education double major from Bay City), who has been accused of killing the neighbor’s dog. Throughout the production, Christopher overcomes his fears and embarks on an unforgettable journey to solve the mystery of the real killer. The adventure changes his life forever.

Tommy Wedge, the play's director and an SVSU assistant professor of theatre, says "Curious Incident" will be unlike any other production audiences have witnessed at SVSU

“Not only is this a very technically-challenging play — with 400-plus light cues, rear projection, a raked stage, and student-created soundtrack — but, for the first time in our department, we are offering a sensory-friendly performance,” Wedge says.

That sensory-friendly version of the play — slated for the Sunday, Feb. 24 performance at 3 p.m. — will dampen the intensity of the sound and lighting elements for the sake of audience members sensitive to such elements, including individuals with autism. This more inclusive version will feature warnings for jarring lighting and sound effects, make the main floor open to audience members who want to move around (the balcony level will be reserved for attendees seeking a more traditional theatre experience), and open an "activity room" near the theatre. The activity room — open before, during and after the production — will feature staff and activities for attendees who want to take a break from watching the production while it's underway.

Wedge, the father of two children on the autism spectrum, says handling the subject of autism has been a rewarding challenge for the student-actors.

“The spectrum is so wide, and its manifestations so varied, that it has made this process a very educational one, especially for our actors," he says. "I think what they’ve developed is thoughtful and truthful, and I’m proud of what they’ve built.”

Hannah Ducolon, an elementary education major who plays the role of Judy – Christopher’s mother — says the unique presentation of the play makes "Curious Incident" an important production.

“This play shows that those who may be 'atypical' are just as capable as any other human being,” the Bay City native says. “They just process things differently, which is displayed in every aspect of this production.”

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. performances Wednesday through Saturday, Feb. 20-23, and a 3 p.m. performance Sunday, Feb. 24. The production is recommended for audiences 13 and older due to mild adult themes and language.

Tickets are $13 for general admission, and $10 for senior citizens and students. Tickets can be purchased online now.

For more information, please contact the SVSU Box Office at (989) 964-4261.