Student-led play spreads awareness


Photo by: Dyneira Brown

Walker Kemp (center) performing onstage at the Edwards Theatre.

The theatre department at Coastal Carolina University kicked off this semester of plays with their student-led production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”

The Tony Award-winning play follows a young, neurodivergent boy named Christopher who stumbles upon his neighbor’s dead dog and is immediately blamed for it. This incident ignites something in Christopher and sends him spiraling into an investigation to discover who the real culprit is. On this journey, audience members watch Christopher uncover the truth about himself, his family, and the world.

Senior theatre major Alexa Castro-Giovanni is the production’s director and is excited to give the audience a glimpse into the world of neurodivergency.

“I think oftentimes, in society, we slight those who are neurodivergent or think of them differently just because they have a mind that thinks differently,” Castro-Giovanni said. “There’s so much beauty and intelligence in that and I am hoping the audience sees that.”

She said this is a chance to see what is happening in Christopher’s mind and understand the value it can offer to others.

Many of the cast members said this play is different from anything they are used to performing at the school. They said one of the biggest challenges was trying to connect their lines to another form of dialect and projecting it in the best way possible. The dialect they use is pulled from the town of Swindon, England.

As they overcome these difficulties, they find themselves learning more about neurodivergency and are hoping the play raises more awareness for people and families who are a part of this group. Senior theatre major, Joerell Fulmore, plays numerous roles in the play and is happy to know that people will be learning more about others in a unique way.

“They get to learn the story as well as learning about themselves and covers issues that are not usually covered,” Fulmore said.

The play is working with the Champion Autism Network and will be hosting a panel discussion with hand-selected representatives for the audience to interact with on Thursday, Jan. 26.

Castro-Giovanni said the department is bringing in a doctor from Charleston who works with neurodivergent individuals, two neurodivergent individuals and their families, and a Champion Autism Network representative. They will speak about all the themes covered in the play and how they relate to society’s perception of neurodivergency.

Castro-Giovanni said the Spadoni College of Education will bring over 80 students to watch the show and learn more about the occurring themes.

The remaining performances of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the NightTime” will be performed in the Black Box Theater on Jan. 26, 27 and 28 at 7 p.m.