Westerville South High School will share a message about finding one's sense of self as it presents "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," a tale that started as a best-selling book before it became a Tony Award-winning play in 2015.
Performances will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31; Feb. 1- 2; and 2 p.m. Feb. 3 at the school, 303 S. Otterbein Ave.
Director Matt Wolfe said Westerville South has a strong tradition of presenting successful winter literature shows.
After triumphs like "The Great Gatsby," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Lord of The Flies," "Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Twelfth Night," he said, they are excited to produce Simon Stephens' adaptation of Mark Haddon's best-seller.
The story is about a 15-year-old boy named Christopher Boone who leaves home upon discovering a family secret, Wolfe said.
He sets out on a mission to conquer his fears, prove his bravery and find out if there is anything he can't do. Armed with only his highly intelligent outlook on life and his pet rat, Toby, Wolfe said, audiences are invited to find out if Christopher is the hero of this story.
Students Caleb Jingo, Tyler Carraway, Latifat Sulaimon, Karina Deere, Izzy Brinker, Emma Murphy, Emylie Winesette, Brandon Allbritton, Ethan Riehle and Josiah Holloway, along with a strong technical crew and student leadership, are eager to bring this masterpiece to life, according to Wolfe.
The ensemble will present this play in a thrust-stage setting, with seating on three sides, Wolfe said
Jingo, a senior who plays Christopher, said the work is special to him because of the way it presents itself.
"It so carefully tells its story without the need to put a label on any of its characters," he said. "The characters in this show are so real and relatable because you can't simply define them as a protagonist, an antagonist, or anything else. They are just people, and that in itself is beautiful."
Jingo said the show demonstrates that it's crucial to find one's own sense of self, despite challenges that may be faced.
"Christopher demonstrates this through all of the opposition he is met with," he said. "Even though the majority of people he meets don't understand him and try to ignore him, Christopher devotes all of his energy to staying strong and pushing forward."
Sulaimon, a junior, said the play does a good job at making a person happy about what makes each person different.
"It shows that no matter how different someone may seem to you, they can surpass any box and/or label, that the outside society may give them," Sulaimon said.
"People are not subject to the limitations that others have put them in."
Deere, a junior who plays Judy, Christopher's mother, said the play is an important piece of theater because there's something in it that everyone can relate to.
"It also just tells such a strong story and there are so many ways to interpret the story, so it really challenges us and allows us to push the show to the limits and tell the story how we see it," she said.
Senior Oliver Runyon, who serves as the show's fight/flight captain, said the one of challenges that came with the show has been the aspect of the lifting and fight choreography.
"Christopher 'flies' in this show, and discovering how he achieves this effect has been difficult yet exciting," he said. "The lifting and fight choreography has been very extensive. It has been amazing to be able to help out and add so much physicality to this show."
Seating is limited, so patrons are encouraged to order tickets in advance at locallevelevents.com (search Curious Incident).
Tickets cost $10 and any remaining will be sold at the door.