Written by Lesly Marroquin
A rich story that memorizes you visually and through your other senses.
I did not have a background of the play due to having to miss class on Monday. So, I came into this blind and excited. I have always enjoyed plays and musicals as I used to be part of stage-crew in high school. Once I was at the show I saw that the program said there was a sensory-friendly performance (amazing idea) and that the main character, Christopher, has Aspergers Syndrome. This completely excited me for the show I was about to see.
I can quickly say that I was blown away by the background, lighting, and sound of this play. Kudos to the staff for creating an environment that fully immerses the audience in Christopher’s mind and experiences. This went beyond just the visual and backgrounds, but also with the accents of characters, body language, and costumes. With my experience with the stage crew at my high school, I could see all the different elements that helped enhance this performance.
Another thing that amazed me how powerful the performance of the characters and background characters was, to the point that I found myself feeling the emotions projected through their roles. I was upset, frustrated, angry, proud and sad. Overall, over the two hours, I completely experienced a full range of emotions. I enjoyed the show very much for this reason since it helped me really understand the characters and empathize for them.
I liked the elements of the other actors, enhancing Christopher’s thoughts and actions. They literally brought his mind into life and made it its own thing. The dancing, and making his thoughts come to reality were breathtaking. My favorite scene has to be the one where he is describing why he wants to be an astronaut. I just loved his pet rat Toby and him floating around.
I decided to look up the play to learn about the creator, and I realized that this is an official play at the London Theater, it even has a trailer. Comparing this version with the school’s production, I really liked the casting at Illinois versus the original. To me, Christopher and his family being black made some scene much more impactful. Such as his incident with the police officer and his goal to go into a STEM career. It also gives people of color visibility in spaces of mental health, developmental disorders, and trauma. This might not have been the purpose of casting Chritopher and his family, but it meants a lot to me.
Overall, I loved this production and experience. I feel that this is a show I will be talking about for a while with friends and family. I send the most congrats to the staff who all worked hard in producing an amazing inclusive experience. This was truly wonderful.