Theatre Group brings beautiful, suspenseful play to Garvin Theatre

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Ben Crop

Daniel Sabraw as Christopher Boone in The Theatre Group production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” in the Garvin Theatre at City College.

Sarah Maninger, Sports Editor

Wellington is dead, and Christopher Boone wants to find out who killed him.

The SBCC Theatre Group’s latest production, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime,” follows Christopher, a fifteen-year-old boy with social anxiety and autism, as he tries to solve the mystery of who killed the neighborhood dog.

“Along the way, that journey changes and he has more questions he needs to answer,” said Director Katie Laris. 

City College’s iteration of the show is led by sixteen-year-old Santa Barbara High School junior Daniel Sabraw in the role of Christopher. “Curious Incident” is his third show with the Theatre Group.

“He is literally in every single scene,” Laris said.

Due to his differences, Christopher stands out from the other characters in the show, but Laris and Sabraw emphasized that his differences are what make him so intuitive and strong. 

“There’s something so compelling and intriguing about understanding those differences,” said Sabraw on what drew him to the role. 

The Theatre Group, which opens auditions up to the entire community, always casts its shows based on the age of the play’s characters. 

Sabraw, the youngest member of the cast, is often on stage with actors at least ten years his senior. 

“I felt so honored to be surrounded by so many adult actors,” he said, adding that their dedication to the show has inspired him to work harder.

Christopher’s need to find out what happened to Wellington is the catalyst that launches his journey, but he is quickly forced to come to terms with his past.

Christopher learns how imperfect adults can be, and that stepping out of your comfort zone is the only way to truly grow up.

The story is set in Swindon, England, but the central location of the play is not Christopher’s hometown, it’s inside his mind. 

The Garvin Theatre has seen some elaborate sets, but “Curious Incident” relies on sound, music and projections set against the backdrop of a minimalist set to serve as a glimpse inside of Christopher’s brain. By doing this, the audience can see him process information and solve problems, even when he can’t find the words to say what he is thinking. 

The show is not necessarily a whodunit mystery but rather, as Laris describes it, about “the triumph of the human experience.” 

Throughout the show, Christopher deals with everyday anxieties for the first time. He, along with his pet rat Toby, face reality even when it is easier to stay inside.

“The big thing you can take away from it is that it’s a story of perseverance,” Sabraw said.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” opens at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28 in the Garvin Theatre.