At the begining of January I went with my family to see 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime' at the Gielgud Theatre in London. The book to stage adaptation follows the story of a young boy with asperger's-like symptoms and the mystery surrounding the death of a neighbours dog.
When we reached our seats high up in the theatre i didnt know much about the story and felt quite aprehensive about what to expect and whether i would enjoy it. However once i was sat down and looking at the stage i was intrigued and eager to see what was to come. The stage looked like a gaint grided cube, like something from Tron or the inside of a computer. Imediately this changed my perception from the pesimistic outlook on the ensueing experience i walked into the theatre with, to one of excitment. I was looking forward to seeing the stage in action, and it didnt disapoint, you could say the set literally stole the show.
Never changing its ohysical state from a giant grided cube, the stage transformed time and time again throughout the whole performance, through lighting, clever computer graphics and the actor themselves it was easy to imagine the not only the physical setting of the scene being played out but also the mental state of the lead character. The production design not only served the purpose of aiding the story in a physical way but also gave across a snese of atmosphere and emotion when the main character was placed in different situations, you were able to understand almost what was going on inside the characters head through the set. The link below is to a BBC webpage where a short clip of an interview with the production design team talks about the 'design elements'.
The short video discription given of the video contents reads..."Director, Marianne Elliott, explains how the design had to be imaginative and creative, to represent Christopher’s mind. The design had to be non-naturalistic, instead light and agile. The designer Bunny Christie explains her reasons behind the designs.
Footage from the show demonstrates how the design ideas were realised in performance. As time and place jump around in the story, the set had to accommodate this. The design reflects Christopher’s mind being a ‘laboratory’. The lighting designer, Paule Constable comments on how the lighting was cool, white and controlled to represent how Christopher saw things. The lighting is as busy as Christopher is, with lots of changes. The use of a model box in the design process is explained."#
In all i was pleasently suprised by this play, the whole thing including the performance and story were fantastic and i would definately recommend to anyone to go and see it. I think, briefly, in places as with many stories (even though overall i absolutely loved it) the story did get a bit slow which i only realised once id thought about what the experience would have been like had i seen the play in a more realistic traditional physical stage setting. However this was something i hadnt noticed thanks to the ever present stimulus of the very modern stage design. Having previously only seen very traditional style plays where built physical sets were used as aids, this imaginative space clearly reflected the modern digital climate and made for a broader more exciting experience.
BBC. (2013). 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' - design elements. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01jydtx. Last accessed 10/01/2015.