Sentinel Drama’s Fall Production

Sentinel Dramas Fall Production

Sentinel Drama was ecstatic to put on a Fall production despite the challenges that COVID-19 has brought to the stage. The production chosen by director and drama teacher, Katie Cassidy, was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. She states that while it may have been difficult to choose a show, she wanted one with an array of roles. The play selected served as a challenge for both acting and tech. The cast proved to be the perfect group of students to produce this show.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is about a fifteen-year-old boy, named Christopher, who has characteristics of being on the autism spectrum. One night he goes to visit his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, but instead finds the dog dead in a garden. After being spotted at the scene, Christopher is blamed for the death; but in order to prove his innocence, he begins to investigate. In the process of looking for the perpetrator, Christopher unearths secrets and unravels new mysteries about his life. 

Christopher is played by Sentinel junior, Clifford Jackson, accompanied on the stage with his parents, played by seniors Barrett Clement and Mack Cummings. Cassidy notes that she went into the show “with only the best intentions” as many of the scenes carry heavy topics such as abuse, loss, and Christopher’s condition leading him to have many breakdowns and outbursts. Throughout the show, Christopher has many reactions to his trauma and his parents’ arguments that include him crying, hitting the floor, and yelling as if he were being attacked. The portrayal of his character is brought beautifully to the stage as many themes touch on domestic abuse, broken households, and self acceptance. Both Clement and Cummings make this apparent as their characters make fierce stabs at one another and inject their insecurities into their arguments. 

Christopher makes friends during his journey as well. Befriending an older woman played by senior Jadyn Fordah as well as his teacher, Siobhan, played by senior Cossette Burrese. The show  had many underclassmen in supporting roles that added to Christophers interpretation of the world. They would bring in props to demonstrate the environment that surrounded him, and would circle around him during the onset of his stress experiences. 

Cassidy also remarks that “just the fact that we were able to have a show this year was huge,” in reference to the pandemic and restrictions that would need to be followed during the duration of rehearsals and performances. “Rehearsing in masks wasn’t ideal,” she remarked, however actors found that the masks used in the actual show allowed for better voice projection, and helped to alleviate some of the issues they presented. With other concerns, Cassidy notes that “some actors were in and out of rehearsal due to sickness, whether or not it was COVID.”  

Actors found that the masks in rehearsal made it very difficult to project. Which then led to difficulty in making cues and overall fluidity of the performance. The masks coupled with very few rehearsals with all the actors present  made the show hard to prepare for. Despite any challenges presented, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime was a success and a very beautiful show to begin Sentinel’s re-entry to live theatre.

Harper Jontow and Madeline Bates