The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: From Page to Stage


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: From Page to Stage

Made in collaboration with the National Theatre, this one-hour special reveals how one of Britain's best-loved books was adapted to become a multi-award-winning theatre production.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: From Page to Stage. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

WOMAN READS: "My name is Christopher John Francis Boone."

0:00:220:00:26

The story of Curious Incident is a story about Christopher Boone,

0:00:260:00:30

a 15-year-old boy, who finds a dog with a fork through it

0:00:300:00:34

in his neighbour's front garden one evening when he's out for a walk.

0:00:340:00:37

"It was seven minutes after midnight.

0:00:370:00:40

"The dog was lying in the grass in the middle of the lawn in front

0:00:400:00:43

-"of Mrs Shears' house."

-Get away from my dog!

0:00:430:00:47

By following clues and finding things in his house,

0:00:490:00:52

he goes on a journey to London.

0:00:520:00:54

-Single or return?

-What does "single or return" mean?

0:00:540:00:58

And discovers his mother, who he thought was dead, is still alive.

0:00:580:01:01

-Where's your father, Christopher?

-I think he's in Swindon.

0:01:010:01:04

His whole family life in his head changes,

0:01:040:01:06

from what he thought his family life was to the reality of it.

0:01:060:01:10

Father said you were dead.

0:01:100:01:12

What?

0:01:140:01:16

He said you went into hospital because you had something

0:01:160:01:18

wrong with your heart and then you had a heart attack and died.

0:01:180:01:21

Oh, my God.

0:01:210:01:22

Everybody who reads this book falls in love with the way

0:01:220:01:25

Christopher thinks, and the detail and the wit

0:01:250:01:27

and the clarity with which Christopher sees the world.

0:01:270:01:31

-I have a rat.

-Rat?!

-He's called Toby.

-Oh!

0:01:310:01:34

Most people don't like rats

0:01:340:01:35

because they think they carry diseases like bubonic plague,

0:01:350:01:38

but that's only because they lived in sewers

0:01:380:01:40

and stowed away on ships coming from foreign countries where there

0:01:400:01:43

were strange diseases, but rats are very clean.

0:01:430:01:45

Doing an adaptation of a very well-known book or film

0:01:450:01:48

in the theatre is risky, because people come expecting what

0:01:480:01:52

they'd remembered or how they'd imagined it.

0:01:520:01:55

My way into interpreting Christopher was being very loyal to

0:01:570:02:00

Mark Haddon and just really sticking to what he'd written in the novel.

0:02:000:02:03

Maybe I could bring some tea out here! Do you like lemon squash?

0:02:030:02:07

-I only like orange squash.

-Luckily, I have some of that as well.

0:02:070:02:10

Oh, and what about Battenberg?

0:02:100:02:13

I don't know because I don't know what Battenberg is.

0:02:130:02:16

One of Mark Haddon's great geniuses is that he writes

0:02:160:02:19

brilliant direct speech.

0:02:190:02:20

A lot of novelists use dialogue as a means of releasing back-story

0:02:200:02:25

or a means of getting characters to say how they're feeling,

0:02:250:02:28

and Mark never does that.

0:02:280:02:29

-Where have you been?

-I have been out.

0:02:310:02:33

I just had a phone call from Mrs Shears.

0:02:330:02:35

What the hell were you doing, poking round her garden?

0:02:350:02:38

I was doing detective work, trying to figure out who killed Wellington.

0:02:380:02:41

Every time Mark attributes direct speech to a character, it's because

0:02:410:02:45

they very much want to affect other people they are talking to.

0:02:450:02:48

I know you told me not to get involved in other people's

0:02:480:02:51

business, but Mrs Shears is a friend of ours.

0:02:510:02:53

She's not a friend any more.

0:02:530:02:54

The first thing I did, was really simple,

0:02:540:02:57

was I went through the novel, and every time a character spoke,

0:02:570:03:01

I typed that out to create a very,

0:03:010:03:03

very rough sketch of a draft of a play.

0:03:030:03:06

-Have you got a ticket?

-No.

0:03:060:03:08

Well, how, precisely, do you expect to get to London then?!

0:03:080:03:10

Another thing that I did, was I went through the book

0:03:100:03:13

and just listed all the events that happened.

0:03:130:03:16

-WOMAN READS:

-"Mother died two years ago."

0:03:170:03:20

"I came home from school one day and no-one answered the door,

0:03:220:03:25

"so I went and found the secret key that we keep under a flower

0:03:250:03:28

"pot outside the kitchen window."

0:03:280:03:30

One of the challenges of the book

0:03:300:03:31

was that Mark's very playful with time.

0:03:310:03:33

He goes backwards and forwards in time, and he's unpredictable

0:03:330:03:36

about when he's going to go forwards and when he's going to go

0:03:360:03:39

backwards, and that presents challenges to the dramatist.

0:03:390:03:42

"An hour later, father came home from work."

0:03:420:03:44

-Christopher, have you seen your mum?

-Nope.

0:03:440:03:47

"He went downstairs and started making some phone calls."

0:03:470:03:50

I was faced with the possibility of re-ordering the chronology

0:03:500:03:53

and going right from the beginning to the end of the story,

0:03:530:03:56

and for a while, I really thought about doing that.

0:03:560:03:59

I decided in the end that would be a mistake.

0:03:590:04:01

I'm afraid you won't be seeing your mother for a while.

0:04:010:04:04

Why not?

0:04:060:04:07

Your mother has had to go into hospital.

0:04:090:04:11

I think the reason Mark plays with chronology is because he wants to

0:04:110:04:14

create a more truthful perception of what it's actually like to

0:04:140:04:17

feel like Christopher Boone.

0:04:170:04:19

"The next day was Saturday,

0:04:190:04:21

"and there was not much to do on a Saturday

0:04:210:04:23

"unless Father takes me out somewhere on an outing

0:04:230:04:25

"to the boating lake or to the garden centre."

0:04:250:04:28

Mark Haddon deliberately didn't explain or describe who

0:04:280:04:32

Christopher was, but everything is seen through Christopher's

0:04:320:04:36

eyes in a very gentle way.

0:04:360:04:38

I think I would make a very good astronaut.

0:04:380:04:42

I think theatre can only ever be in the third person.

0:04:420:04:44

Mark's great genius was creating a first person voice that people

0:04:440:04:48

could really relate to. The stage doesn't work like that.

0:04:480:04:52

What I had to do was to find a way of making Christopher's voice

0:04:520:04:55

dramatic, so making that voice about somebody behaving,

0:04:550:05:00

and the way into that was through Siobhan.

0:05:000:05:04

"The word 'metaphor' means carrying something

0:05:040:05:06

"from one place to another."

0:05:060:05:10

Siobhan is, in the book, she is Christopher's teacher,

0:05:100:05:13

and I think a very good teacher.

0:05:130:05:16

She then, in the play, becomes the narrator for some of the time.

0:05:160:05:20

"The first main reason is that people do a lot of talking

0:05:200:05:24

"without using any words."

0:05:240:05:26

I made the decision that Siobhan should be

0:05:260:05:28

the narrator of Christopher's book.

0:05:280:05:30

It was important that Christopher's narration is revealed somehow, but

0:05:300:05:33

I didn't want to break the rules of Mark's book, and one of the

0:05:330:05:36

rules of Mark's book is that Siobhan gets to read Christopher's book.

0:05:360:05:39

This is good, Christopher! It's quite exciting.

0:05:390:05:44

She gets stuff that Christopher doesn't get,

0:05:440:05:46

and the book works for us as a reader,

0:05:460:05:49

because we get stuff that Christopher doesn't get,

0:05:490:05:51

and she's the bridge through that dramatic irony.

0:05:510:05:54

"There was no-one else near me for thousands and thousands of miles!"

0:05:540:05:58

She's a really invaluable dramatic character.

0:05:580:06:01

For me she became the fulcrum of the entire adaptation.

0:06:010:06:05

"And I put my hands round the sides of my face so I can't see the fence

0:06:050:06:09

"or the chimney or the washing line, and I can pretend I'm in space!"

0:06:090:06:14

ORCHESTRAL SWELL

0:06:140:06:15

"My name is Christopher John Francis Boone.

0:06:390:06:42

"I know all the countries of the world and their capital cities,

0:06:420:06:46

"and every prime number up to 7,507."

0:06:460:06:51

Christopher Boone is a remarkable human being.

0:06:510:06:54

He has a massive imagination

0:06:540:06:56

and a massive comprehension of the universe and science and maths.

0:06:560:07:01

Then, they worked out the universe was expanding,

0:07:010:07:04

that all the stars were rushing away from one another after the Big Bang.

0:07:040:07:07

The further the stars were away from us, the faster they were moving,

0:07:070:07:10

some of them nearly as fast as the speed of light.

0:07:100:07:13

Things like numbers and maths

0:07:130:07:15

and sciences are definite concrete things which he can understand.

0:07:150:07:19

-I bet you're very good at maths, aren't you?

-I am.

0:07:190:07:22

I'm going to take A-level maths next month

0:07:220:07:24

-and I'm going to get an A*.

-Really? A-level maths?

-Yes.

0:07:240:07:28

Christopher is incredibly sharp in some ways,

0:07:280:07:31

but in other ways he's quite immature, I suppose, or undeveloped.

0:07:310:07:35

I have a grandson your age.

0:07:350:07:38

My age is 15 years and three months and three days.

0:07:380:07:42

Well, almost your age.

0:07:420:07:44

He's never been outside of his street on his own ever.

0:07:440:07:48

He goes to school on a school bus that picks him up

0:07:480:07:51

and drops him off at home.

0:07:510:07:52

In the bus on the way to school we passed four red cars in a row.

0:07:520:07:56

-Four?!

-So today is a good day.

-Great. I am glad.

0:07:560:08:01

Humans are very puzzling to him whereas animals aren't, which is

0:08:010:08:04

why he's very upset about the dog's death at the top of the show.

0:08:040:08:07

He understands animals, he doesn't understand humans.

0:08:070:08:10

I don't always do what I'm told.

0:08:100:08:13

Why?

0:08:130:08:14

Because when people tell you what to do, it is usually confusing

0:08:140:08:17

and does not make sense.

0:08:170:08:19

For example, people often say "be quiet",

0:08:190:08:22

but they don't tell you how long to be quiet for.

0:08:220:08:26

He finds it very hard, for instance, to look at people's faces

0:08:260:08:29

because he finds facial expressions very hard to understand.

0:08:290:08:32

"Siobhan says that if you raise one eyebrow it can mean

0:08:320:08:35

"lots of different things.

0:08:350:08:38

"It can mean, 'I want to do sex with you'." I never said that!

0:08:380:08:43

-Yes, you did!

-I didn't use those WORDS, Christopher.

0:08:430:08:46

Yes, you did, on September 12, last year at first break.

0:08:460:08:50

Part of my job role is working with people on the autistic spectrum,

0:08:500:08:54

and Christopher demonstrates quite a number of characteristics

0:08:540:08:58

of the autistic spectrum.

0:08:580:08:59

So, for example, he finds it very difficult to be touched,

0:08:590:09:03

and he can't predict when somebody's going to do something

0:09:030:09:07

and therefore it becomes a shock.

0:09:070:09:10

He needs routine, and if something changes, that makes him very anxious.

0:09:100:09:14

I think there's someone out there on the platform looking for you.

0:09:140:09:17

-I know.

-Well, it's your look out.

-103, 107, 109, 113.

0:09:170:09:24

He has a relationship with maths.

0:09:240:09:26

It's what he finds comforting, it's what he turns to

0:09:260:09:29

when he's stressed, I suppose a bit like a comforting blanket.

0:09:290:09:35

-223, 227, 229.

-Coming!

0:09:350:09:40

We all did a lot of research, actually,

0:09:400:09:42

about the condition that Christopher might have.

0:09:420:09:46

We went to various schools and talked to various teachers

0:09:460:09:50

and talked to a lot of kids who had Asperger's syndrome.

0:09:500:09:56

I'd go in and speak to the kids or watch from the back of a classroom

0:09:560:10:00

as they were having an art class, and that was just so useful to me.

0:10:000:10:04

Everybody is so individual on that spectrum,

0:10:050:10:11

that our job, really, was to be true to Christopher,

0:10:110:10:18

what was happening for Christopher and what was right for him.

0:10:180:10:24

This water, this rain, has evaporated, actually,

0:10:240:10:27

from somewhere like maybe...the Gulf of Mexico maybe,

0:10:270:10:30

or Baffin Bay, and now it has fallen in front of the house,

0:10:300:10:32

and then it will drain in the gutter and then it will flow to a sewage

0:10:320:10:35

station where it will be cleaned, and then it will go into a river

0:10:350:10:38

and then it will go back into the ocean again.

0:10:380:10:40

One of the challenges that I faced

0:10:400:10:42

was developing Christopher's character.

0:10:420:10:45

For me, that came not necessarily through what Christopher was

0:10:450:10:48

saying, but what the characters were doing to one another.

0:10:480:10:51

Sharing your life with other actual human beings.

0:10:510:10:53

By watching Ed Boone, for example, who is Christopher's Dad,

0:10:530:10:58

share a space with Christopher,

0:10:580:11:00

and the way Ed moves and the way Ed behaves around him,

0:11:000:11:04

by showing how difficult it is for Ed to touch Christopher,

0:11:040:11:09

just those little physical moments allow us

0:11:090:11:11

an insight into Christopher that Christopher can't allow us

0:11:110:11:15

into because he can't identify those emotional experiences.

0:11:150:11:19

I think Christopher's character does change throughout the book.

0:11:210:11:23

-WOMAN'S VOICE:

-Please use assistant's phone opposite,

0:11:230:11:26

right of the ticket office.

0:11:260:11:27

The whole process of him going to London and having to be brave

0:11:270:11:31

and having to overcome that most terrifying of journeys, I think,

0:11:310:11:36

leaves him at the end, especially when he gets his A-level result,

0:11:360:11:40

I think it leaves him thinking that, actually, you know what?

0:11:400:11:42

Anything is possible, and going on that huge journey to

0:11:420:11:45

London, I think, has been something which has given him courage.

0:11:450:11:49

-I got an A*.

-Ooh! Oh! That's just...

0:11:490:11:53

-That's terrific, Christopher!

-Yes.

0:11:530:11:56

AUDIENCE LAUGHTER

0:11:570:11:58

-Aren't you happy?

-Yes, it's the best result.

-I know it is.

0:11:580:12:03

-What do you fancy for chow tonight?

-Baked beans and broccoli.

0:12:250:12:28

Yeah, I think that can be very easily arranged.

0:12:280:12:31

He's a hard-working, loving father, although he has difficulty, I think,

0:12:310:12:37

translating that into how you might expect a father to love their son.

0:12:370:12:42

Going to put those shelves up in the living room

0:12:420:12:44

if that's all right with you.

0:12:440:12:45

I'll make a bit of a racket, I'm afraid, so if you want to

0:12:450:12:48

watch the television, we're going to have to shift it upstairs.

0:12:480:12:51

-I'll go and be on my own in my room.

-Ah-ha, good man.

0:12:510:12:53

Ed's got in his mind that he's a single dad

0:12:530:12:55

and he's going to do this.

0:12:550:12:56

He's trying to enjoy his son who he can't communicate,

0:12:560:12:58

he can't hold him, can't play football with him,

0:12:580:13:01

can't enjoy him as maybe the son he thought he would have.

0:13:010:13:05

They do still have a relationship where

0:13:050:13:07

they still know how to communicate affection the little that they

0:13:070:13:11

can by the touching of fingertips.

0:13:110:13:13

I could see the Milky Way as we drove towards the town centre.

0:13:160:13:19

He loves his son so he'll make it the best he can.

0:13:190:13:21

So, he's running a business, holding down a home, looking after

0:13:210:13:24

Christopher, and I think that's all fairly straightforward until now.

0:13:240:13:27

How many times do I have to tell you, Christopher?

0:13:270:13:30

Keep your nose out of other people's business!

0:13:300:13:32

I think Mr Shears probably killed Wellington.

0:13:320:13:34

I will not have that man's named MENTIONED IN MY HOUSE!

0:13:340:13:38

Christopher's relationship with his dad is quite strained,

0:13:380:13:41

probably not unlike a lot of 15-year-old boys with their fathers,

0:13:410:13:45

and he's going through puberty and his hormones are raging.

0:13:450:13:48

Why not?

0:13:480:13:50

And he also has Asperger's,

0:13:500:13:53

so there's kind of more challenges on top of that as well.

0:13:530:13:56

I asked you to do one thing for me, Christopher, ONE THING!

0:13:560:13:59

I didn't want to talk to Mrs Alexander! If Mrs... Ah!

0:13:590:14:02

The relationship is kind of more volatile,

0:14:020:14:04

because Ed, I think,

0:14:040:14:06

feels he needs to close this down and regain control,

0:14:060:14:09

because in order for Ed to survive and keep things manageable,

0:14:090:14:14

he has to have control, is how he feels.

0:14:140:14:16

No!

0:14:160:14:18

You do see him hit Christopher. He's obviously a volatile man.

0:14:180:14:22

As the play, or the book, develops, they come to a crisis point,

0:14:260:14:32

I suppose, and it comes to a head and it explodes in a horrible way.

0:14:320:14:38

When he finds out that his mother was still alive,

0:14:400:14:43

and all these letters that his dad's been hiding from him,

0:14:430:14:46

then that changes everything.

0:14:460:14:47

I don't know what to say. I...

0:14:470:14:49

I was in such a mess.

0:14:520:14:53

I said she was in hospital because I didn't know how to explain,

0:14:530:14:56

it was so complicated, and...

0:14:560:14:58

Once I said it I couldn't change it, it just...

0:14:590:15:01

HE SMIRKS

0:15:030:15:04

I think Ed did that, not just selfishly

0:15:060:15:09

because of the humiliation of the mother having had an affair and

0:15:090:15:12

leaving, but how do you explain that to an autistic boy,

0:15:120:15:15

that their mother can't be there any more because she can't do it?

0:15:150:15:19

So apart from his own anger and frustration...

0:15:190:15:21

..with the mother, I think it was also to cushion the boy.

0:15:230:15:26

But it's just turned into an ugly mess.

0:15:260:15:29

I'm going to have to touch you, but...

0:15:290:15:31

..it's going to be all right.

0:15:320:15:34

I don't believe that he's a malicious man.

0:15:340:15:36

I think he's a frustrated man and a wounded man.

0:15:360:15:39

For me it was really important that Ed wasn't a bad guy.

0:15:410:15:44

He was a human, he was struggling, he was doing his best.

0:15:440:15:48

Sometimes he did a really, really bad job as a father,

0:15:480:15:50

but, you know, every father who's ever lived, at times,

0:15:500:15:53

has done a really bad job at being a father.

0:15:530:15:56

You also see a bit of evolution afterwards,

0:16:000:16:01

cos I think you see Ed coming round to understanding that this

0:16:010:16:05

isn't just a lad he needs to control,

0:16:050:16:07

and he finds new respect for him and a love for him that's open,

0:16:070:16:10

and he tries to live more mutually with him.

0:16:100:16:13

Now, you have to learn to trust me and...

0:16:140:16:16

I don't care how long it takes,

0:16:180:16:19

if it's a minute one day and two minutes the next and three minutes

0:16:190:16:23

the next, if it takes years, I don't care, because this is important.

0:16:230:16:26

This is more important than anything else.

0:16:260:16:28

"Mother died, two years ago."

0:16:490:16:52

"I came home from school one day and no-one answered the door."

0:16:530:16:57

Christopher hasn't seen his mum in two years,

0:16:570:16:59

and he has been told that his mum died of a heart attack.

0:16:590:17:03

So the very first time we hear about the mum is in a memory that he

0:17:030:17:09

has before she died, when he was at a beach in Cornwall.

0:17:090:17:14

-Christopher!

-Mother said...

0:17:140:17:15

Over here! Christopher! Look! It's lovely!

0:17:150:17:21

And she jumped backwards and disappeared under the water,

0:17:210:17:24

and I thought a shark had eaten her and I screamed.

0:17:240:17:26

And then she stood up out of the water

0:17:260:17:28

and came over to where I was standing

0:17:280:17:30

and held up her right hand and spread out her fingers like a fan.

0:17:300:17:33

Come on, Christopher. Touch my hand.

0:17:330:17:36

They had a really good relationship.

0:17:360:17:38

Then she obviously went through a period of sort of depression,

0:17:380:17:42

I think, and not coping very well with having a young boy with

0:17:420:17:46

autism, and she left.

0:17:460:17:48

Because I often thought I couldn't take it any more.

0:17:480:17:51

And your father is really patient but I'm not.

0:17:520:17:55

I get cross even though I don't mean to.

0:17:550:17:58

So he's not known about what she's been doing for the last two years.

0:17:590:18:03

Dear Christopher...

0:18:030:18:05

I'm sorry it's been such a very long time

0:18:060:18:10

since I wrote my last letter to you.

0:18:100:18:12

The audience meets Judy through her letters.

0:18:120:18:15

You only know this woman through her words.

0:18:150:18:19

Also, we've moved into a new flat at last,

0:18:190:18:22

as you can see from the address.

0:18:220:18:24

It's not as nice as the old one, and I don't like Willesden very much,

0:18:240:18:27

but it's easier for Roger to get to work.

0:18:270:18:30

I think the relationship between Judy and Christopher is probably

0:18:300:18:34

more complex than a lot of mother-son relationships.

0:18:340:18:38

You haven't written to me yet,

0:18:380:18:40

so I know that you are probably still angry with me.

0:18:400:18:44

I'm sorry, Christopher.

0:18:460:18:48

But I still love you.

0:18:500:18:51

I hope you don't stay angry with me for ever,

0:18:520:18:54

and I'd love it if you were able to write me a letter.

0:18:540:18:57

She is a mother who can't cope and who takes an opportunity to

0:18:570:19:02

get herself out of the family situation when it arises.

0:19:020:19:07

And now...

0:19:070:19:09

I have...lots of time.

0:19:090:19:13

She then has to deal with he overwhelming guilt

0:19:130:19:17

and shame that she feels for having left her son.

0:19:170:19:21

I was not a very...

0:19:230:19:24

..good mother, Christopher.

0:19:260:19:28

Maybe if things had been different...

0:19:300:19:32

Maybe if you'd been...

0:19:320:19:35

..different, I might have been better at it.

0:19:360:19:40

Left, right, left, right, left, right...

0:19:400:19:42

There comes the point where Christopher arrives in London.

0:19:420:19:45

You weren't in so I waited for you.

0:19:450:19:47

When she first sees him, she wants to grab him and hold him,

0:19:470:19:50

that's her instinct and you see that happen on stage,

0:19:500:19:52

and he just pushes her away.

0:19:520:19:53

-Christopher!

-Uh!

0:19:530:19:56

And I think that's the main difficulty, that in a sense,

0:19:560:19:58

she has to sit back on a natural maternal instinct

0:19:580:20:03

and try to be less emotional, but she's a very emotional woman.

0:20:030:20:08

-Where's your father, Christopher?

-I think he's in Swindon.

0:20:090:20:12

Thank God for that.

0:20:120:20:13

-How did you get here?

-I came on the train.

0:20:130:20:16

Oh, my God, Christopher, I didn't think...

0:20:160:20:18

Why are you here on your own?

0:20:210:20:23

When they meet it should be perfect

0:20:240:20:28

and there's a moment for Judy where she thinks maybe

0:20:280:20:31

it is going to be perfect.

0:20:310:20:33

Will you let me help you get your clothes off?

0:20:330:20:38

I can get you a clean T-shirt and you can get yourself into bed.

0:20:400:20:44

But then, of course, there's the reality of this boy

0:20:480:20:52

being in this different life with her and Roger in London,

0:20:520:20:56

and it falls apart very, very quickly.

0:20:560:20:59

Christopher, if you drink 200 mil then I'm going to put a bronze star

0:20:590:21:05

on your chart.

0:21:050:21:06

-I don't believe this!

-Roger, for God's sake, please.

0:21:060:21:09

If you drink 400 mil, then you get a silver star.

0:21:100:21:14

ROGER LAUGHS

0:21:140:21:15

And if you drink 600 mil, you get...

0:21:150:21:17

A gold star!

0:21:170:21:19

Well, that's very original, I have to say.

0:21:190:21:21

Roger, stop it.

0:21:210:21:22

You're not helping!

0:21:220:21:24

You see Judy realised that the only choice she has, in actual fact, is

0:21:240:21:29

to go back home and be with her son,

0:21:290:21:31

and find a way to look after Christopher.

0:21:310:21:34

Right, you come downstairs...

0:21:340:21:36

you bring Toby, and you get into the car.

0:21:360:21:40

-Into Mr Shears' car?

-That's right.

-Are you stealing the car?

0:21:400:21:45

I'm just borrowing it.

0:21:450:21:46

-Where are we going?

-Going home.

0:21:480:21:50

What you've written so far is just...

0:22:080:22:11

-Well, it's great.

-It's very short.

0:22:110:22:15

-Well, some very good books are very short.

-Like what?

0:22:150:22:19

Like...

0:22:190:22:20

-Like Heart Of Darkness.

-Who wrote heart of darkness?

-Joseph Conrad.

0:22:220:22:27

'Siobhan is, I think, a very good teacher,'

0:22:270:22:30

she...gets him in a way that probably nobody else does.

0:22:300:22:35

I think Christopher's relationship with Siobhan is probably the

0:22:350:22:38

most important in the book, and she is, for him,

0:22:380:22:41

a kind of guiding light, really.

0:22:410:22:43

Father said I was never to mention Mr Shears' name in our house again

0:22:430:22:46

and that he was an evil man,

0:22:460:22:47

and maybe that meant he was the person who killed Wellington.

0:22:470:22:50

Christopher, I think you should do what your father tells you to do.

0:22:500:22:53

We decided, for dramatic purposes, that Siobhan had only

0:22:530:22:57

entered his life after his mother had so-called "died".

0:22:570:23:01

Red cars in a row.

0:23:010:23:03

'The first proper scene between them

0:23:030:23:06

'is just after he's brought up the fact in the story that

0:23:060:23:09

'his mother had died, so someone else steps into the role, in a way.'

0:23:090:23:14

Who's Wellington?

0:23:140:23:15

Wellington is a dog that used to belong to my neighbour,

0:23:150:23:18

Mr Shears, but he is dead now because somebody killed him

0:23:180:23:21

by putting a garden fork through him, and I found him,

0:23:210:23:23

then a policeman came and thought I'd killed him, but I hadn't.

0:23:230:23:26

Then he tried to touch me so I hit him

0:23:260:23:27

and I had to go to the police station.

0:23:270:23:29

She properly does love Christopher, really love him.

0:23:290:23:33

But she knows that she is no use to him, really,

0:23:330:23:35

if she allows that to take over.

0:23:350:23:37

She's got to be a really good teacher

0:23:370:23:39

'and that means also being a little bit removed

0:23:390:23:42

'because she needs to really be able to look at his future

0:23:420:23:46

'and look at his life and see what he's capable of

0:23:460:23:49

'and what he's not.'

0:23:490:23:50

Well, we're meant to be writing stories today.

0:23:500:23:52

'She's very honest with him.'

0:23:520:23:54

She, I think, respects him, and she talks to him like a human being.

0:23:540:23:59

I can help you.

0:23:590:24:00

Will you help me with the spelling and the grammar and the footnotes?

0:24:000:24:03

She then, in the play, becomes the narrator for some of the time.

0:24:030:24:07

"I counted out the letters.

0:24:070:24:09

"There were 43 of them.

0:24:090:24:11

"They were all addressed to me in the same handwriting."

0:24:120:24:16

And then she gets so in tune with him that she actually becomes him

0:24:160:24:21

at times.

0:24:210:24:22

I think I would make a very good astronaut.

0:24:220:24:25

Yes, mate, you probably would.

0:24:280:24:29

To be a good astronaut you have to be intelligent, and I'm intelligent.

0:24:290:24:34

'I would like to describe her as his soul, or his imagination.'

0:24:340:24:40

And I'm good at understanding how machines work.

0:24:400:24:43

'I think the big challenge for Siobhan, in the play, is

0:24:430:24:47

'finding out exactly when she's Siobhan,

0:24:470:24:49

'when she's the narrator, and when she's Christopher,

0:24:490:24:52

'and making very definite choices about that.'

0:24:520:24:54

Well, I could pretend I'm in space!

0:24:560:24:59

And all I could see would be stars and stars are the places where the

0:24:590:25:05

molecules that life is made of were constructed billions of years ago!

0:25:050:25:10

For me, it's a novel about how you live with other people.

0:25:290:25:33

It's about family, it's about love,

0:25:330:25:35

it's about how you articulate love, it's about the importance

0:25:350:25:38

of being honest, it's about the difficulty of truthfulness.

0:25:380:25:43

Your mother has died.

0:25:440:25:45

She's had a heart attack.

0:25:480:25:50

'Is lying ever kind?'

0:25:500:25:53

Is it ever cruel to tell the truth,

0:25:530:25:57

or actually is being truthful the most human

0:25:570:26:00

and the most important thing that we can do to one another?

0:26:000:26:03

I don't know what to say. I...

0:26:030:26:05

I was in such a mess, I said she was in hospital

0:26:090:26:11

because I didn't know how to explain it, it was complicated.

0:26:110:26:15

It's a story about family, it's a story about parenting,

0:26:150:26:19

and about being a child, and I think the family in this show,

0:26:190:26:22

and all the characters in this try really hard to survive in not

0:26:220:26:26

always the easiest world.

0:26:260:26:28

This is my house too, in case you've forgotten.

0:26:280:26:31

-What, is your fancy man here as well?

-Don't do that!

0:26:310:26:33

CHRISTOPHER DRUMS AND CHANTS

0:26:330:26:35

It is about difference and about how different we are

0:26:350:26:39

in seeing life from different perspectives.

0:26:390:26:42

The way Mark Haddon has done that quite fantastically is to go to

0:26:420:26:46

a perspective that we don't normally get

0:26:460:26:48

and have the main protagonist be autistic Asperger's.

0:26:480:26:51

I like looking at the rain.

0:26:510:26:54

Terrific.

0:26:540:26:55

I like it because it makes me

0:26:550:26:56

-think how all the water in the world is connected.

-Does it?

0:26:560:26:59

This water, this rain, has evaporated actually from somewhere

0:26:590:27:02

like maybe the Gulf of Mexico, or maybe Baffin Bay,

0:27:020:27:05

and now it has fallen in front of the house

0:27:050:27:07

and then it will drain into the gutter,

0:27:070:27:09

and then it will float to a sewage station, where it will be cleaned,

0:27:090:27:12

and then into a river and then back into the ocean again.

0:27:120:27:14

It relates to a lot of us all the time, I think.

0:27:140:27:18

We all spend many hours of our lives feeling perplexed by why other

0:27:180:27:23

people are behaving in a way that they are behaving.

0:27:230:27:26

73, 79, 83...

0:27:260:27:28

Argh!

0:27:280:27:30

..89, 97.

0:27:300:27:31

You scared the life out of me, can I just get my bag?

0:27:310:27:35

And it's a very humanist way of looking at those moments.

0:27:350:27:39

Reverend Peters is going to invigilate.

0:27:390:27:41

It's only an exam, I can ring the school.

0:27:410:27:43

We can get it postponed, you can take it some other time.

0:27:430:27:46

I can't take it some other time, it's been arranged!

0:27:460:27:48

'You look at Christopher and you enter his world'

0:27:480:27:51

and you understand it and it's not so different to our world.

0:27:510:27:55

'Yes, he has lots of difficulties,

0:27:550:27:58

'but we can all relate to some of those difficulties.'

0:27:580:28:02

I wonder if you can understand any of this.

0:28:020:28:04

I know it will be difficult for you.

0:28:040:28:06

I thought what I was doing was the best for all of us.

0:28:060:28:09

'Everybody is desperately trying to understand each other,'

0:28:090:28:13

and obviously Christopher is an extreme version of that

0:28:130:28:16

because he finds communication quite difficult.

0:28:160:28:18

I want to go to London.

0:28:180:28:20

-Single or return?

-What does "single or return" mean?

0:28:210:28:25

Do you want to go one way or do you want to come back?

0:28:250:28:27

I want to stay there when I get there.

0:28:270:28:29

The story that we're watching is the story of a family.

0:28:290:28:32

'And most families have times where it's difficult for them'

0:28:330:28:38

to communicate, look after each other, be truthful with each other.

0:28:380:28:44

It will get better, I promise. Now, you don't

0:28:440:28:47

have to say anything, not right now, but you have to think about it.

0:28:470:28:50

I suppose that's what the book and the play reminds us of.

0:28:500:28:54

I said that I wanted to explain to you why I went away.

0:29:120:29:16

'The audience meets Judy through her letters'

0:29:160:29:18

so you only know this woman through her words.

0:29:180:29:23

Now I have...lots of time.

0:29:230:29:28

When you read the letters in the book

0:29:280:29:31

it could be quite flat because it's just the written word.

0:29:310:29:35

When you put a human being into those letters

0:29:350:29:37

and you have her walk on stage and be in the same space as her son,

0:29:370:29:40

'you can see what it costs her to write those letters.'

0:29:400:29:43

So I'm sitting on the sofa here with this letter and the radio on, and...

0:29:430:29:50

..I'm going to try and explain.

0:29:520:29:54

'The tension's building because although they are not speaking'

0:29:540:29:57

to each other, he's coming closer to his real mother on stage,

0:29:570:30:02

saying this letter.

0:30:020:30:04

That became very interesting - that he's getting physically

0:30:040:30:07

nearer to her with this train track, not looking at her,

0:30:070:30:09

engrossed in the train track.

0:30:090:30:11

You grabbed the chopping board, threw it,

0:30:110:30:13

and it hit my foot and broke my toe.

0:30:130:30:15

'So it was highly emotional.'

0:30:150:30:16

I couldn't walk properly for a month. Do you remember?

0:30:160:30:20

And your father had to look after you.

0:30:200:30:22

And I remember looking at the two of you and seeing you together

0:30:220:30:24

and thinking how you were really different with him.

0:30:240:30:27

-Much calmer.

-It made me so sad.

0:30:270:30:30

Because it was like you didn't need me at all!

0:30:300:30:34

'It's a real build. Those moments of intensity, for me,'

0:30:340:30:37

were about the characters all inhabiting the same space,

0:30:370:30:41

seemingly not communicating,

0:30:410:30:43

but being more honest and open than they ever could be in real life.

0:30:430:30:48

-He's really angry.

-He said I couldn't talk to you!

0:30:480:30:51

And I didn't know what to do!

0:30:510:30:53

He said I was being selfish

0:30:530:30:54

and that I was never to set foot inside the house again!

0:30:540:30:57

In a book that is about dishonesty and betrayal, and death and love

0:30:570:31:02

and thwarted love, I think what you really need is a bit of playfulness.

0:31:020:31:06

Where is 451c Chapter Road, London, NW2 5NG?

0:31:060:31:10

LAUGHTER

0:31:120:31:15

A-Z of London, £2.95, are going to buy it or not?

0:31:150:31:20

I think that is what brings to play to life, really. You can't have

0:31:200:31:23

a whole play or a whole book where it's tense and it's horrible

0:31:230:31:26

and it's depressing because no-one is going to care about

0:31:260:31:29

any of the characters.

0:31:290:31:30

I'm going to say something to you

0:31:300:31:31

and you must promise not to tell your father that I told you this.

0:31:310:31:35

You have to make people laugh

0:31:350:31:36

and you have to make people enjoy themselves and enjoy the characters

0:31:360:31:40

they're watching otherwise they won't care about

0:31:400:31:42

the dramatic moments.

0:31:420:31:44

Your mother, before she died, was very good friends with Mr Shears.

0:31:440:31:49

-I know.

-No, Christopher, I'm not sure that you do know.

0:31:490:31:53

I mean, they were VERY good friends.

0:31:530:31:56

Very, very good friends.

0:31:560:31:59

Do you mean they were doing sex?

0:32:010:32:03

Yes, Christopher, that is what I mean.

0:32:030:32:05

I think because my adaptation was very loyal to the book,

0:32:050:32:08

a lot of the comedy that underpins the tragedy comes

0:32:080:32:11

directly from Mark's writing, it comes from his dialogue,

0:32:110:32:14

it comes from his observations.

0:32:140:32:17

I think maybe what I brought to it was

0:32:170:32:19

a sense of the playfulness of the theatricality.

0:32:190:32:22

Get the Tube to Willesden Junction or Willesden Green,

0:32:220:32:25

it's got to be near there somewhere.

0:32:250:32:27

What is a Tube?

0:32:270:32:29

LAUGHTER

0:32:290:32:31

Are you for real?

0:32:310:32:33

It takes the audience a bit of time before they realise

0:32:330:32:35

they're allowed to laugh, between it being very sad

0:32:350:32:38

and very emotional and very tense, and other times when it's quite

0:32:380:32:42

quirky and fun because Christopher sees things in a different way.

0:32:420:32:46

You see the big staircase with the escalator?

0:32:460:32:49

I think the comedy comes from Christopher's very logical way

0:32:490:32:53

of looking at the world and...

0:32:530:32:54

I mean, one of the things Christopher says is

0:32:540:32:58

when he's asking Reverend Peters where heaven is.

0:32:580:33:01

It's another kind of place altogether.

0:33:010:33:04

There isn't anything outside our universe, Reverend Peters,

0:33:040:33:06

there isn't another kind of place altogether.

0:33:060:33:08

'Nearly all of the laughs, every night on stage,'

0:33:080:33:11

they're really, very rarely, coming from someone trying to be funny.

0:33:110:33:14

They are coming from places of misunderstanding between two

0:33:140:33:17

people or people's points of view being completely at crossroads.

0:33:170:33:22

If heaven was on the other side of a black hole then dead people

0:33:220:33:26

would have to be fired into space on a rocket to get there

0:33:260:33:28

and they aren't or people would notice.

0:33:280:33:30

LAUGHTER

0:33:300:33:32

I think physical theatre is a very dynamic way of exploring

0:33:540:33:57

a subtext within any kind of context.

0:33:570:34:01

If you think of everyday life, people just sitting opposite each other

0:34:010:34:04

talking, there are the words, but there's also the body language.

0:34:040:34:08

And that's just at a naturalistic level.

0:34:090:34:12

It actually embraces a whole range of dynamic choreography.

0:34:120:34:16

It can explode into dance.

0:34:160:34:19

It just shows, often, what's existing underneath - the aches,

0:34:200:34:24

the desires, the needs, that aren't expressed verbally.

0:34:240:34:28

I asked Scott and Steve to get involved

0:34:290:34:31

because I knew it would be very physical

0:34:310:34:33

and because we wanted to make it emotional and poetic,

0:34:330:34:37

and interesting, without it being realistic.

0:34:370:34:42

So that means that we show things in a way that is physical rather

0:34:420:34:45

than somebody actually walks through the door, or puts

0:34:450:34:48

the key in the door, and opens it and puts the key on the side.

0:34:480:34:52

You actually do something which is much more gestural.

0:34:520:34:55

I let myself into the house and wiped my feet on the mat.

0:34:550:34:58

I put my keys in the bowl on the table and I took my coat off and

0:34:580:35:01

hung it by the side the fridge so it would be ready for school

0:35:010:35:04

the next day.

0:35:040:35:05

It's always helpful when a writer is prepared to be very ambitious.

0:35:050:35:09

Simon really wanted that immediacy and economy that physicality

0:35:090:35:14

could provide, and he didn't want to go into a whole world of exposition.

0:35:140:35:19

I waited for nine more minutes but nobody else came past,

0:35:190:35:21

and the train was really quiet

0:35:210:35:23

and I did not move again, so I knew the train had stopped.

0:35:230:35:25

Because we're dealing with a very particular mind,

0:35:250:35:28

what Mark Haddon does brilliantly is take his reader into that mind...

0:35:280:35:33

There is a village in the distance which has 31 visible houses...

0:35:330:35:36

..and so this production had to bring this audience into the mind

0:35:360:35:40

of Christopher Boone so we had to see the world from his point of view.

0:35:400:35:44

And know that there was no-one else near me for thousands

0:35:440:35:49

and thousands of miles.

0:35:490:35:50

'Finding that physical language, which is slightly topsy-turvy,'

0:35:550:36:00

is a wonderful sort of way of transmitting the kind of mind

0:36:000:36:05

'that Christopher has, which is brilliant

0:36:050:36:08

'and a very imaginative mind.'

0:36:080:36:10

And one of them was mother.

0:36:100:36:12

You've got to be really bold and quite brave

0:36:120:36:16

because when someone is saying to you "be a chair" or "a light",

0:36:160:36:19

you do feel to begin with that you're looking slightly foolish.

0:36:190:36:22

But because everybody was doing the language it works.

0:36:220:36:26

What happens with that is that you then are seeing the world, hopefully,

0:36:260:36:29

through Christopher's eyes.

0:36:290:36:31

"I switched on my bedroom light and played six games of Tetris

0:36:310:36:35

"and got to level 38 which is my fourth best ever score."

0:36:350:36:39

I knew that the boy playing Christopher would need to be

0:36:390:36:43

a very physical actor and be able to express things

0:36:430:36:47

physically in a way, again, that he possibly can't articulate verbally.

0:36:470:36:51

As an actor, he's got to be in control of every moment

0:36:560:37:01

of his physicality on stage and Luke embraced that.

0:37:010:37:04

It is a surprisingly difficult thing to achieve quite simple

0:37:100:37:15

movements because they have to be very exact,

0:37:150:37:18

and it has to be properly thought out,

0:37:180:37:20

it has to be on exactly the right beat.

0:37:200:37:23

One of the brilliant things about having Frantic

0:37:230:37:25

on board was that they were able to bring some very pragmatic

0:37:250:37:28

solutions to quite particular problems - getting

0:37:280:37:31

from Swindon to Paddington train station.

0:37:310:37:33

It was awful to read on the page. It was just a list of words.

0:37:350:37:39

It's just advertising slogans

0:37:390:37:42

and what's overheard here and there.

0:37:420:37:44

-Sweet Pastries.

-Heathrow Airport, check-in here.

-Bagel Factory.

0:37:440:37:48

My instinct, I think, initially, was it's not going to work.

0:37:480:37:53

We had to resist getting lost in the randomness of the words.

0:37:530:37:57

Excellence and Taste.

0:37:570:38:00

When we first started learning some of the physical sequences,

0:38:000:38:03

it was surprising how hard it was, it was a lot of practice.

0:38:030:38:07

There's just the sequence where we walk around Swindon and Christopher

0:38:070:38:11

is feeling out of his depth because everyone else seems to be in step.

0:38:110:38:14

Just those simple moves, everything's on a beat of five

0:38:140:38:18

and constantly turning, it looks easy.

0:38:180:38:20

It was horrendously difficult to actually get in our bodies

0:38:200:38:25

so that you can do it without looking like you're counting

0:38:250:38:29

or worried about crashing into somebody behind you.

0:38:290:38:32

-Stationlink.

-Buses.

-WH Smith.

-Mezzanine.

0:38:320:38:36

That scene could have been a disaster.

0:38:360:38:39

We had to really focus on him and appreciate what it must be like,

0:38:390:38:42

how terrifying to have that sensory overload.

0:38:420:38:45

And what you have at the end of it is like an odyssey, you know.

0:38:480:38:51

He's completely exhausted.

0:38:510:38:53

-Here, get up, man.

-Oh!

0:38:530:38:55

And it seems absolutely right because this was never

0:38:550:38:59

a journey for someone like us, this was a journey for a boy who's

0:38:590:39:02

never left Swindon, who sees the world in a very, very different way.

0:39:020:39:06

Right, left, right, left, right, left, right...

0:39:060:39:12

There's a huge amount of characters in the play.

0:39:330:39:37

I think probably there's something like 30 different characters.

0:39:370:39:41

Many of whom say one thing.

0:39:410:39:44

-59, 61...

-Oh!

0:39:440:39:45

'There's a pragmatic question'

0:39:450:39:47

about how do you cast that?

0:39:470:39:50

You could get 30 different actors,

0:39:500:39:52

but I became quite excited by the notion of creating

0:39:520:39:56

an ensemble of different characters

0:39:560:39:59

and creating the possibility of the audience seeing actors take on

0:39:590:40:03

and take off different hats and take on and take off different characters.

0:40:030:40:07

-He could be our elf mascot!

-Come on!

0:40:070:40:09

When you've got the same actor who plays the Reverend Peters...

0:40:090:40:14

Well, it isn't actually in our universe...

0:40:140:40:16

..playing a policeman...

0:40:160:40:18

Don't even... Look...

0:40:180:40:19

'..that's quite playful. 'It's quite silly, it's quite fun.'

0:40:190:40:23

Park yourself!

0:40:230:40:24

'I think what you really need is a bit of playfulness.

0:40:240:40:28

'And it's something we brought to the theatricality

0:40:280:40:31

'by creating the ensemble.'

0:40:310:40:32

Christopher!

0:40:320:40:33

'Because you're part of the ensemble,'

0:40:330:40:35

there was never a moment when you

0:40:350:40:37

felt you weren't involved in the piece.

0:40:370:40:39

You're on stage pretty much the whole time and you have a challenge,

0:40:390:40:42

which is flipping very quickly from one person to the next.

0:40:420:40:46

You have to make a very quick impression with

0:40:460:40:48

each of the characters.

0:40:480:40:50

'Some of them only appear for a matter of moments.'

0:40:500:40:53

Through the underpass and up the stairs. You'll see the signs!

0:40:530:40:57

It always felt slightly strange to be looking at Christopher on the train.

0:40:570:41:02

For me, I found it quite hard thinking, "What am I now?

0:41:020:41:04

"I'm not his mother now, I'm just someone on a train."

0:41:040:41:07

Most other people are lazy. They never look at everything.

0:41:070:41:10

They do what is called glancing.

0:41:100:41:12

What we are creating is scenes that are recognisable by a group

0:41:130:41:17

of actors all working together to create a moment.

0:41:170:41:20

If we all just march along in the same way, it would

0:41:200:41:24

not be as effective. So you make choices.

0:41:240:41:27

On the train I decide that my character would listen to

0:41:270:41:31

headphones, so I'm listening to music on the train.

0:41:310:41:33

When I'm in the street I'm perhaps slightly aggressive because I'm late.

0:41:330:41:37

So you have to make choices to make those ensemble characters live

0:41:390:41:45

and be as real as you can, even though you're really

0:41:450:41:48

a part of what could be a crowd.

0:41:480:41:50

And that's how you make it effective.

0:41:500:41:52

They have to click in and click out of scenes,

0:41:520:41:55

so you can see them sitting on the side as an ensemble member,

0:41:550:41:59

just focusing the previous scene.

0:41:590:42:01

And then they stand up and they are in the middle of a very,

0:42:010:42:03

very emotional scene as their character.

0:42:030:42:06

That's hard to do.

0:42:060:42:07

Judy, look, I'm sorry, OK?

0:42:070:42:09

You should have thought about that

0:42:090:42:10

before you made me look a complete idiot.

0:42:100:42:12

I think the stylised, ensemble nature of this production is...

0:42:150:42:20

is important, because it's all

0:42:200:42:22

about Christopher's take on the world.

0:42:220:42:24

Nothing really exists unless Christopher wants it to.

0:42:240:42:28

So the company will be chaos.

0:42:280:42:30

They will be flitting around until Christopher focuses

0:42:300:42:33

and they will snap into position.

0:42:330:42:35

Right...

0:42:350:42:36

Is this London?

0:42:400:42:41

They represent his thoughts and they can be chaotic

0:42:420:42:46

and they can be absolutely pure and linear and precise,

0:42:460:42:49

whatever state of mind he is in.

0:42:490:42:51

I knew the station was somewhere near.

0:43:100:43:12

And if something is near you can find it by moving in a spiral.

0:43:120:43:16

Walking in a clockwise direction, taking every right turn

0:43:160:43:19

until you come to a road you've already walked on.

0:43:190:43:21

'The design had to be a piece of imagination.'

0:43:210:43:25

The more realistic you made it, the more domestic and clunky and...

0:43:250:43:30

..heavy it felt. It has to be light and agile and highly imaginative.

0:43:320:43:37

Over here! Christopher! Look!

0:43:370:43:40

'Very early on,'

0:43:400:43:42

we talked quite a lot about setting it

0:43:420:43:45

as if it's in the school hall of the school that Christopher is at.

0:43:450:43:50

Because quite a lot of the scenes happen at Christopher's school.

0:43:500:43:53

And then quite quickly, when Marianne and I were working on it,

0:43:530:43:57

we wanted to make it more abstract than that, so we wanted to make it

0:43:570:44:02

as if we were inside Christopher's head,

0:44:020:44:05

as if we were in his imagination.

0:44:050:44:07

In order for that to feel comfortable for Christopher,

0:44:070:44:10

it was clear that had to be somewhere that was very ordered

0:44:100:44:14

and very clean and mathematical.

0:44:140:44:16

Show that a triangle with sides can be written in the form n2 + 1...

0:44:180:44:23

'When I was doing the design, I went and bought the A-level papers

0:44:230:44:27

'and took a lot of the diagrams'

0:44:270:44:29

and the grids and looked at some of the questions.

0:44:290:44:33

So a lot of the design came directly from A-level maths.

0:44:330:44:38

Siobhan says that

0:44:380:44:40

if you raise one eyebrow it can mean lots of different things.

0:44:400:44:43

'The design was on two levels.'

0:44:430:44:46

One was, in the book he describes himself as being a little bit

0:44:460:44:49

like Sherlock Holmes, in that his brain was

0:44:490:44:53

a bit like a laboratory in which he could come to some sort of solution.

0:44:530:44:57

So that was very much how I decided to design the show,

0:44:570:45:00

like a laboratory of his brain.

0:45:000:45:03

And the other thing was that the first half of the show

0:45:030:45:07

is like a kind of whodunit, because that's what his book is initially.

0:45:070:45:11

So we also wanted to make the design a bit like an incident board

0:45:110:45:15

in a crime room in a police station.

0:45:150:45:19

I only know one person who didn't like Mrs Shears and that is

0:45:190:45:22

Mr Shears, who divorced Mrs Shears and went to live somewhere else.

0:45:220:45:25

And who knew Wellington very well indeed.

0:45:250:45:29

This means Mr Shears is my prime suspect.

0:45:290:45:33

'It's used like a bit of graph paper, actually.'

0:45:330:45:36

So the projections that are projected onto it are his diagrams,

0:45:360:45:40

or his workings out.

0:45:400:45:41

Inside Christopher's head, we can go anywhere then,

0:45:430:45:46

so we can shoot of into the atmosphere, amongst the stars.

0:45:460:45:51

So the set really had to be able to be lots of different places

0:45:520:45:57

and feel like lots of different places.

0:45:570:46:00

"Because imagining an apple in someone's eye doesn't have

0:46:000:46:05

"anything to do with liking someone a lot."

0:46:050:46:07

'He jumps timelines, so he goes back and forth in time.'

0:46:070:46:11

I'm sorry.

0:46:140:46:16

And he goes from one scene and jump-cuts to the middle of another scene.

0:46:160:46:20

And we needed to do that in a very agile way.

0:46:200:46:24

Christopher, I think you should do what your father tells you to do.

0:46:240:46:27

-What happened to you the other day?

-Which day?

0:46:270:46:32

I came out again and you'd gone. I had to eat all the biscuits myself.

0:46:320:46:36

-I went away.

-I gathered that!

0:46:360:46:39

If you had a set trundling on of a realistic kitchen

0:46:390:46:43

and doing a realistic set

0:46:430:46:46

and then the set trundling off and suddenly we are in a garden,

0:46:460:46:49

you wouldn't be following him at the speed that his brain goes.

0:46:490:46:53

Maybe we should take a little walk in the park together.

0:46:530:46:56

This is not the place to be talking about this kind of thing.

0:46:560:46:59

'You're really creating an environment

0:47:030:47:05

'where the story can be told clearly,'

0:47:050:47:08

and that's all got to happen quite fluidly

0:47:080:47:10

and poetically in front of people's eyes.

0:47:100:47:13

So the whole evening makes sense

0:47:130:47:16

and moves the way that the director wants the story to be told.

0:47:160:47:21

-I decided to go out on my own.

-THEY GROAN

0:47:210:47:24

When you talk about lighting design, really, I felt

0:47:270:47:31

the lighting shouldn't describe a place, because the lighting

0:47:310:47:34

was just what Christopher saw, and what Christopher saw

0:47:340:47:37

I always saw as being very kind of cool, white and controlled.

0:47:370:47:41

So we don't use colour or warmth or anything like that.

0:47:410:47:45

We are very specific about when places change and when they don't.

0:47:450:47:48

BELL RINGS

0:47:480:47:50

CHRISTOPHER GRUNTS

0:47:500:47:52

Reverend Peters, where is heaven?

0:47:520:47:54

'In a way, Curious moves like the inside of Christopher's head,

0:47:550:47:58

'so it has to be lots of changes in the lighting all the time,'

0:47:580:48:02

because it's as busy as he is.

0:48:020:48:03

We talked a lot about it feeling like it's Christopher's brain

0:48:060:48:09

and that the company, the rest of the actors who are within that,

0:48:090:48:13

are almost like microbes of his brain.

0:48:130:48:16

They're like energy systems that are whizzing around

0:48:160:48:19

and bouncing off the walls.

0:48:190:48:21

So that the whole set has to feel like it's another character.

0:48:210:48:26

We designed every scene before we went into rehearsal.

0:48:270:48:31

And we did a storyboard with models and photographed every scene.

0:48:310:48:34

So we knew how every scene should look and should be staged.

0:48:340:48:39

The model box is really, really vital, unlike a computer animation.

0:48:430:48:48

When I go and visit the builders, we can pick it up,

0:48:480:48:51

we can make things work on it. We've got it in our hands.

0:48:510:48:55

We can turn it around, we can look at it as we are working on it.

0:48:550:48:58

The painters work directly from the model box.

0:48:580:49:03

So they match exactly my colours and design

0:49:030:49:07

25 times bigger.

0:49:070:49:10

And there's a kind of a kit for the show

0:49:160:49:19

and everything that we need to tell the story is there within that kit.

0:49:190:49:24

The props are clearly displayed, the actors are clearly displayed.

0:49:260:49:29

Some of them never leave the stage.

0:49:290:49:31

They are sort of hopefully taking the audience with them

0:49:310:49:34

on this highly imaginative, suggestive...

0:49:340:49:37

stylised way of telling Christopher's story.

0:49:370:49:42

Left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right...

0:50:010:50:05

It's interesting how quite often with a show, the way you make

0:50:050:50:08

the show and the tools you use are reflected in the sort of show it is.

0:50:080:50:15

So with Christopher,

0:50:150:50:16

we sort of said that the theatre was like the inside of his head.

0:50:160:50:20

When I put my hands around the sides of my face...

0:50:200:50:23

'What we wanted to do was put all the things that are available

0:50:230:50:27

'to us - video projectors and the lights and things -

0:50:270:50:29

'we wanted to make alive in that space.'

0:50:290:50:32

LAUGHTER

0:50:320:50:33

It's lovely!

0:50:330:50:35

And she jumped backwards and disappeared under the water...

0:50:350:50:38

'The sound, the lights,'

0:50:380:50:40

the music, we all have to be almost orchestrating ourselves together

0:50:400:50:46

so that everything we are doing is...

0:50:460:50:49

we're all doing the same thing at the same moment.

0:50:490:50:51

I spent two or three weeks in rehearsals with Marianne

0:50:510:50:55

and the company.

0:50:550:50:56

I don't get to do any lighting, but I can watch and I can understand it.

0:50:560:51:00

I can track the story that we need to keep alive for the audience.

0:51:000:51:03

In the rehearsal room, you don't have all the magic of the lighting

0:51:050:51:09

and the projection.

0:51:090:51:10

It's just very raw, you know.

0:51:100:51:12

And as a composer you have to imagine in your mind's ear

0:51:120:51:17

and eye what that's going to translate into.

0:51:170:51:20

The brilliant thing about rehearsal is that it's all about trying.

0:51:200:51:25

When I'm in rehearsal, what I do is,

0:51:250:51:27

I work out where I want all the lighting cues to go

0:51:270:51:29

so I'm not wasting time when I'm there looking for it.

0:51:290:51:31

Is this train going to London?

0:51:310:51:33

I just go, "Right, this is what we're doing.

0:51:330:51:35

"Is Mrs Shears up-stage?"

0:51:350:51:37

Christopher...

0:51:370:51:38

In a way, Curious moves like inside of Christopher's head,

0:51:380:51:41

so it has to be lots of changes in the lighting all the time

0:51:410:51:44

because it's as busy as he is.

0:51:440:51:46

And I could pretend I'm in space!

0:51:460:51:49

And all I could see was the stars!

0:51:490:51:52

'With a show like this, I think there's a very real danger'

0:51:530:51:57

that music could be used to sort of get too sentimental.

0:51:570:52:01

It would be so easy just to say we could do some bits of music

0:52:010:52:05

that would say how sad it was to be Christopher.

0:52:050:52:08

Which would be the wrong thing to do.

0:52:080:52:10

Well, we decided it was the wrong thing to do.

0:52:100:52:13

One of the things that came about was that Christopher really likes maths.

0:52:170:52:22

..Pythagoras's theory...

0:52:220:52:24

And machines, and things that he knows he can control.

0:52:250:52:30

And so of course that's great

0:52:300:52:31

for somebody like me as a composer, because I can pick up on...

0:52:310:52:35

"Ah, he likes maths, he likes machines.

0:52:350:52:37

"How can we use those concepts to build a score,

0:52:370:52:42

"to build a piece of music with?"

0:52:420:52:44

Open your paper, Christopher, and you may begin.

0:52:440:52:48

And I thought, "Right, we're going to use free computer-y sounds,

0:52:500:52:53

"bleeps and that sort of stuff."

0:52:530:52:55

STACCATO BEEPING

0:52:550:52:57

Two, three, five, seven, eleven.

0:53:010:53:04

'One thing we were constantly trying to look for with the play'

0:53:040:53:08

was a sense of Christopher controlling things

0:53:080:53:10

until they got out of control.

0:53:100:53:12

I can help you.

0:53:120:53:13

Will you help me with the spelling and the grammar and the footnotes?

0:53:130:53:16

And lights moving very carefully and picking things out of darkness.

0:53:160:53:21

And then things kind of get too much for him and it becomes less safe.

0:53:220:53:26

And visually playing games with that.

0:53:260:53:29

Is this train going to Willesden Junction?

0:53:310:53:33

I don't necessarily make a shift to do with the emotional temperature.

0:53:330:53:37

It's more to do with places where he feels safe and where he doesn't.

0:53:370:53:41

I mean, it's interesting when he's in his mother's house.

0:53:410:53:43

We put him in a very tight box of light.

0:53:430:53:46

And the dark, monsters can come from there, and Mr Shears

0:53:460:53:51

being outside, it's finding a way to make the situation make sense.

0:53:510:53:56

There are obvious really tense and crucial moments

0:53:560:54:00

when he's found the letters.

0:54:000:54:02

When he finds out that his dad killed Wellington.

0:54:040:54:08

"Father had murdered Wellington! That meant he could murder ME!"

0:54:080:54:13

Those are really crucial emotional moments,

0:54:150:54:18

and we really did want to make something happen.

0:54:180:54:23

Lighting can be like painting.

0:54:230:54:26

It can achieve times of day,

0:54:260:54:28

it can achieve emotional heightened moments.

0:54:280:54:31

It can achieve all sorts of different things.

0:54:310:54:34

"I could to make them let me take Toby.

0:54:340:54:36

"But if they didn't let me I would still go,

0:54:380:54:40

"because it would be a dream come true."

0:54:400:54:42

I don't think the audience will ever read that overtly.

0:54:420:54:45

I just hope that they are aware that there is a particular...

0:54:450:54:48

there is a different atmosphere.

0:54:480:54:49

So the book is finished.

0:54:490:54:51

You can only kill a dog if A)...

0:55:110:55:14

'When we first did the show at the National, we were in the round'

0:55:140:55:18

and it was a very small theatre

0:55:180:55:20

with the audience completely surrounding us.

0:55:200:55:22

A lot of the audience were either on the stage or looking down on it.

0:55:240:55:28

So you were looking down on his world,

0:55:280:55:31

very much a part of his world.

0:55:310:55:33

This means Mr Shears is my prime suspect.

0:55:330:55:36

The great thing about being in the round is you don't have to

0:55:360:55:40

worry about looking out, you don't need to

0:55:400:55:42

worry about where you're facing, so you feel very free as an actor.

0:55:420:55:45

What's interesting about that is it feels very real.

0:55:450:55:48

The audience felt they were completely in the room with us.

0:55:480:55:52

It was very, very intimate.

0:55:520:55:54

We could see everybody and we could see the emotion on their faces,

0:55:540:55:58

whether they were laughing or crying or shocked or surprised.

0:55:580:56:01

-Did you mean to hit the policeman?

-Yes.

0:56:010:56:04

He didn't mean to hurt the policeman.

0:56:040:56:07

When we went to the West End,

0:56:070:56:08

we realised that we were going to transfer into a theatre which was

0:56:080:56:12

a proscenium arch, so we were looking at it end-on.

0:56:120:56:16

"It can mean, 'I want to do sex with you.'"

0:56:160:56:19

I never said that!

0:56:190:56:21

-Yes, you did.

-I didn't use those words, Christopher.

-Yes, you did.

0:56:210:56:25

On September 12 last year at the first break.

0:56:250:56:28

'I think we were all a bit sceptical about whether it would work.

0:56:280:56:32

'But then when we really looked at it'

0:56:320:56:34

we tried to make a virtue of the fact that actually,

0:56:340:56:36

from the audience's point of view in the West End,

0:56:360:56:39

you see Christopher and you see him in his box.

0:56:390:56:42

So you may not actually be inside it in the same way as you are

0:56:420:56:46

when it's staged in the round,

0:56:460:56:48

but you are very aware of him in his context.

0:56:480:56:53

"I find people confusing."

0:56:530:56:56

I found it, as the narrator,

0:56:560:56:58

quite difficult to connect with everybody in the auditorium

0:56:580:57:03

in the round, because inevitably

0:57:030:57:06

there were about 100 people behind me.

0:57:060:57:09

So in terms of story-telling,

0:57:090:57:11

I find it easier to do it in a bigger space.

0:57:110:57:14

"I started by looking in the kitchen.

0:57:140:57:17

"Then I detected in the utility room."

0:57:170:57:21

'It's rather nice to be able to put Christopher inside his total

0:57:210:57:25

'encapsulated world.'

0:57:250:57:27

A kind of cube that is the set. It feels very satisfying, I think,

0:57:270:57:32

and Christopher is sort of the centre

0:57:320:57:35

of that kind of Rubik's Cube of his brain.

0:57:350:57:37

We had walls, which we didn't have when we were in the round,

0:57:370:57:40

we had a back wall as well and side walls.

0:57:400:57:43

We then started to make use of those.

0:57:430:57:46

No smoking!

0:57:460:57:47

'We recognised that pretty much all the choreography

0:57:490:57:51

'would have to change. It was quickly apparent that it was an opportunity'

0:57:510:57:56

to make things potentially bigger

0:57:560:57:58

and better and to change the focus slightly.

0:57:580:58:00

And, going into a bigger venue, it had to be more dynamic.

0:58:000:58:04

We were taking the same cast into that new venue,

0:58:060:58:09

and they had grown in that time, so they were itching...

0:58:090:58:12

They were ready to do something bigger and better,

0:58:120:58:16

so it was an absolute joy.

0:58:160:58:18

It gives us the ability to do things we couldn't do before -

0:58:180:58:21

climbing up walls, jumping off walls, spinning off walls.

0:58:210:58:24

There's lots of things which opened up by being proscenium.

0:58:240:58:26

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:58:310:58:34

Made in collaboration with the National Theatre, this one-hour special examines how one of Britain's best-loved books was turned into a multi-award-winning theatre production. Specially shot interviews, combined with clips from the show and exclusive behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage, reveal the thinking and process behind the adaptation.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS