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Returning to a Home on the Stage


Advanced Acting students reflect on returning to the stage in Fall Play: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

By Cadence Eastep, Reporter


The story of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is one filled with family struggles, abuse, and neurodivergency. It follows the main character, Christopher Boone, as he navigates through a world not adjusted to fit his needs. Through his eyes, we see the stressors that family and public settings – such as train stations – have on autistic individuals (even though the play never explicitly identifies Christopher as autistic). 

On the weekend of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th, and on the weekend of the 10th, 11th, and 12th of December, Paso Robles High Theatre Company’s advanced acting class – plus technicians from classes other than advanced acting – put up this drama-filled play. The cast consists of such people as Dylan Saunders as Christopher, Cameron Leclair as Ed, Ava Lovelace as Judy, and Ella Gomez as Siobhan.

This program is a home to a lot of the students involved in it. Ava Lovelace, a junior, who played Judy Boone in the play, identifies it as such. 

“Theatre is like my home, so being able to be back there is great,” Lovelace said. The theatre is a place that she can be herself and is something that she considers to be “a life saver”.

“This program is a lifesaver”

– Ava Lovelace, 11

The dramatic nature of this play made diving into the character of Judy Boone a very therapeutic experience for Lovelace.

“Being able to take my own personal experiences and sort of channeling them into her and being able to do that on stage is so therapeutic,” Lovelace said.

Judy is the mother of Christopher, and her character is quite frazzled. The stress of raising a child like Christopher is too much for her at first, and she is completely absent from his life when the play begins. As the play continues, she reimmerces herself into his life, and drama ensues.

In the theatre world, the actors aren’t the only part of the process that matters. Members of the technical side of the production are considered just as important. This play was stage managed by Caroline St. Martin, a senior who plans on stage managing as a career.

According to her, this whole process has been very exciting, and she loves being in a leadership role.

“It’s really fulfilling after not really being able to work on shows especially, it’s just I feel very happy to be in charge. I like that people can trust me enough and respect me enough to let me stage manage,” St. Martin said. Her job consists of calling cues for technicians and calling places for actors among other random tasks. She is very excited to be back in the theatre.

After being trapped indoors for so long, being back in the theatre is the best feeling to students in the drama program at PRHS. The last production in the theatre was Willy Wonka Kids, performed by the intermediate acting class, only a few months before the school was shut down in March of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the 2020-2021 school year, the theatre company did put up Mamma Mia, a musical that had been in the works since January of 2020, but it was performed on the outdoor stage, and the students felt that it didn’t have the same feeling as performing indoors.

For these students, nothing can compare to being back on the stage – seeing the lights, projections, and wistful audience members as they perform the story of Christopher Boone. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this years juniors are performing on the indoor stage for the first time.

The hard work will continue this schoolyear with the schoolwide musical of The Addams Family performing in April and the intermediate acting classes’s production of a one-act version of Alice in Wonderland in February. Students in this program will continue to tell stories and never take for granted the importance of human connection and doing what you love.

Photos taken by Connor Rocha


Caroline St. Martin: Stage Manager

Mrs. Goodnow: Director

Ava Lovelace: Judy

Ella Gomez: Siobhan

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