Theatre Reflection Assignment
In Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, there is a scene where Christopher is looking for his book in his father’s room. The whole stage, usually dotted or highlighted by visual light effects emanating from its black exterior, is now completely dark and empty except for a circular swath of light that envelopes Christopher. There are no background sound effects, except for a female voice speaking in Christopher’s 1st person perspective from the rear part of the stage. Furthermore, Christopher is wearing clothes with very bold colors, and as such is wearing a blue sweatshirt with gray sweatpants. At this moment, he lies on his stomach at the front of the stage, turns on the small red flashlight that he is holding, and holds it in his mouth. Quite unexpectedly, he suddenly aims the light at the audience. Meanwhile, there is Siobhan, Christopher’s schoolteacher, leaning on the back wall of the stage, and she is the female voice speaking aloud from the rear part of the stage. She is wearing very simple and dark clothing that does not appeal to the eye very much. Also, she is standing upright at the very back of the stage, and does not use many gestures or moves very much at all. However, she speaks aloud to the audience in the 1st person, and her matter-of-fact tone is completely identical to Christopher’s way of speaking. As recounted by Siobhan in this scene, Christopher uses a flashlight because he is looking for his book under his father’s bed.
All these elements helped create a stage picture. From the very moment where Christopher aims the flashlight at the audience, he is already trying to bring the audience into the play by treating them as the imaginary void under his father’s bed. However, by itself, this can be confusing, so there is Christopher’s first person monologue told by Siobhan and the actions he uses to suggest his intentions. Additionally, starting from the lighting and the costumes, one can observe that Christopher is the center focus on the stage. The spotlight is always on Christopher, and the bright colors of his clothing only make him stand out more in contrast to Siobhan’s dark and bland clothing, which blend in easily with the darkness of the stage. While she is not an active participant of this scene, she serves other functions, such as being Christopher’s voice, and also the force that drives the plot of the play. For example, unlike the other actors who are moving, expressing themselves with gestures and expressions, and always have a spotlight, Siobhan has a stiff, upright posture, and stands far back in the stage. No spotlight shines down upon her. In fact, she doesn’t seem to be part of this scene with Christopher. Furthermore, the way she is describing Christopher’s actions in the first person, and the way her tone of voice sounds, is eerily identical to Christopher’s voice from the book that the play is based on, also called Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. This suggests that Siobhan does not exist in the same time and space as Christopher in that moment, but only acts as the voice of Christopher in the book that the play is based on. Overall, these elements of lighting, props, costumes, set, and costumes furthered my understanding of the stage picture and allowed me to make meaningful inferences about certain scenes likes these.