Setting the stage: ‘Curious Incident’ to showcase character development, elaborate set design


Junior Jeremy Wenick stars in Whitman Drama’s spring play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The play will debut March 1-3. Photo by Adam Hirsh.

By Eva Herscowitz

Whitman Drama’s spring play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, will debut this Thursday and continue through Saturday.

The play follows 15-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone’s journey to investigate the death of his neighbor’s dog. Along the way, Boone discovers information about himself and his family.

Originally a novel by Mark Haddon, Curious Incident debuted on Broadway in 2014, its score composed by Adrian Sutton. Because Whitman doesn’t own the rights to the music, senior Mitch Fecter scored Whitman’s version, creating original music and a unique soundtrack currently available on SoundCloud.

Junior Jeremy Wenick plays Boone, who is on the autism spectrum. To accurately portray his character, Wenick researched manifestations of autism in adolescents, he said.

“I wanted to make sure that it was a loving depiction of someone on the spectrum, because I didn’t want it to come across as offensive,” Wenick said. “I talked to people in Best Buddies and I did lots of research. Autism can show up in so many different ways, so I wanted to find my own way to make it specific and real.”

Curious Incident is the first Whitman Drama production to debut since former director Christopher Gerken resigned this January. Whitman Drama students hired visiting director Jonathan Rizzardi to replace Gerken. Rizzardi has brought a new direction style to the program, emphasizing collaboration and large movement sequences, which has proved useful for this particular production, junior Callia Chuang said.

“While the play isn’t all about movement, it’s definitely an integral part of the play, so it’s kind of nice that we have somebody who’s well-versed in that area for this project,” she said.

Student choreographers, technical directors and producers stepped up to assist Rizzardi, Chuang said. Though the play doesn’t include dancing, Chuang helped Rizzardi tighten up scenes with complex movements, she said.

Sophomore Harley Pomper designed the set, which was inspired by Boone’s thought process, she said.

“The character sees everything very literally, and the play exists in his own mind. The set is his mind,” Pomper said. “The projections are his thoughts and his words, and everyone is a character in that playing space.”

Actors have worked hard to accurately portray their characters, Wenick said. With its unique characters, dynamic set and strong direction, the cast is confident that Curious Incident will entertain both parents and students.

“It’s gorgeous. It’s visually stunning, the set is beautiful and the lighting design is really powerful,” Chuang said. “I think that for people who come and see this, it’s going to be something to remember.”


Jeremy Wenick is a news writer for the Black & White.