By Nancy Ibarra Medrano
My evening began with a haste to the theatre. The for-shadowing of this play by its director, Latrelle Bright, instilled my own curiosity in its ever-present themes of motion and space. Space being interpreted as both the outer universe and the creativity in placement of props and people on stage. The movement was lively. The unorthodox nature of the corps presence on stage continued to expand upon the totality of what can be interpreted from this performance. Thankfully, I was greeted at the door by Dr. Collins with the spare tickets in hand.
The title of the play was my first signal of just how different this performance would be. The elongated name and thoughtful preface led me to believe the story would follow a strict mystery plot. I was happily surprised by a novel perspective on the coming of age tale of a young boy triumph over autism. Not only was the storyline engaging, the craft of the set design and movement also brought the audience that much closer to the main character, Christopher. The attention to detail in the integrated communications of all design aspects was evident in how closely each aspect of the play followed the themes of Christopher’s mind. An example of this was evident in the geometric shapes that were used to showcase and populate the stage. The lights were also an example of the transport the audience went through when Christopher spoke about his love for space. The stage was filled with stars and color to accommodate Christopher’s meticulous imagination. These details allowed for the complete immersion into the mind of Christopher. These connection engulfed the audience in the internal battle and aspirations of the protagonist.
My familiarity with this disorder gave me an even better understanding of the livelihood of Christopher and his parents. The portrayal of Christopher’s struggles paralleled the experiences that close family friends of mine have also faced. The message of endless opportunity for people of the spectrum was prominent, but there were also mirror images in the way a person could relate to the emotions that a person with ASD has. Christopher’s father reactions often embodied the clutch to bad habits and bursts of rage. I believe this allowed the audience to relate more closely with Christopher and develop a deeper understanding of his condition.
The entire production invoked an emotional adventure to me and to many of its audience members. The thoughtfulness in direction was evident and innovative. I believe this performance has a consistent ability to impact its audience. The creative decisions facilitated a captivating experience that I believe will always resonate with audience members.