Tony-winning play “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” isn’t your typical coming-of-age story. That’s because its lead, 15-year-old Christopher, isn’t your typical teenage boy. A highly intelligent, self-declared sleuth seeking justice for his neighbor’s slain pooch, Christopher’s journey to self-discovery is as heartbreaking as it is thought-provoking.
The show arrives in Philadelphiaat the Academy of Music on Feb. 28, before hitting Boston’s Opera House on March 8. We chat with Adam Langdon, a 24-year-old Brooklyn-based Juilliard grad, whocurrently plays Christopher on the U.S. tour. He explains Christopher’s unique perspective, and why his character has chosen to channel Sherlock Holmes.
While it’s never formerly addressed in the book or the production, the story and Christopher have been long associated with autism and Asperger’s (a characterizationauthor Mark Haddon has been hesitant to talk about). How did you make sure you were approaching Christopher with sensitivity and understanding, regardless of where he is on the spectrum?
In the book, there’s no diagnosis ever made, so we stayed away from it as well. We look at him as an awesome young man, who is growing up like everyone else — who gets annoyed with his parents and finds ways to overcome the things that other teenagers do, too. We did, however, visit a school for people on the spectrum, and it was an awesome experience. We met three young men who were so unique and different and wonderful. It gave me insight into what I’m seeing from Christopher’s point of view, so then I can run with what’s popping up on page form for me. Everyone who’s played Christopher has had a different perspective, and that’s great. This play celebrates and encourages what’s different.
When Christopher decides to take up the case of the murdered dog (RIP), he also finds himself channeling Sherlock Holmes. Why do you think he chooses him?
Sherlock is an incredible person who is a little different from society. Christopher sees thatand knows he’s smarter than everyone else, just like Sherlock is smarter than everyone else. Sherlock is cool about it, so Christopher tries to play it cool, too. He likes that Sherlock is respected — from the London police to Watson to the begrudging respect of criminals — and he admires that as a hero.
Without giving too much away, do you think Christopher experiences emotional growth by the end of the show?
I think so. He has some powerful ideas and a greater confidence than he had before. His wants and needs [at the end of the show] aren’t unrealistic, but now, his basic mindset is that he can overcome obstacles because of what he’s been able to accomplish in this play.
If you go:
Boston Opera House
539 Washington St.
Tickets start at $40, boston.broadway.com
Feb. 28-March 5
Academy of Music
240 S. Broad St.
Tickets start at $20,kimmelcenter.org