Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

This Is a Role of a Life-Time; What's on Editor GORDON BARR Chats to Geraldine Alexander about Her Role in the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Theatre Royal Newcastle This Week

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

This Is a Role of a Life-Time; What's on Editor GORDON BARR Chats to Geraldine Alexander about Her Role in the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Theatre Royal Newcastle This Week

Article excerpt

ACTRESS Geraldine Alexander is currently enjoying the role of a lifetime. She plays teacher Siobhan in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, at the Theatre Royal Newcastle from tomorrow until Saturday.

Despite a long list of theatre and TV credits, including RSC stints in the city, her latest role is proving to be her most enjoyable and thoughtprovoking to date.

"I think Siobhan is one of the nicest people I have ever played," she tells me. "It is a dream part and I have learned so much from it."

In Curious, Christopher, 15, stands beside Mrs Shears's dead dog. It has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight and Christopher is under suspicion.

He records each fact in a book he is writing to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington. He has an extraordinary brain, and is exceptional at maths while illequipped to interpret everyday life.

He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey.

Christopher is actually autistic and has Asperger's Syndrome. "The book by Mark Haddon is the primary source and at the centre of it is the boy Christopher," explains Geraldine.

"There is a big shock in the story and even the people who have read the book are still shocked.

"The boy is a very extraordinary child. He is 15 and is autistic, I play the teacher Siobhan and she helps him unlock. She makes him write a book about his experiences of trying to find the dog.

"He turns the book into a play, so that is what the writer Simon Stephens managed to adapt the book into a play.

"The key to why it has been such a success I think is how the designer unlocks the play. The designer and director realised the design has got to be from Christopher's point of view, not just the way the story is told. …

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