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Eliott Purcell (Christopher Boone) returns to SpeakEasy after previously appearing in HAND TO GOD [Elliot Norton Award Nomination – Outstanding Actor] and APPROPRIATE. Recent credits: Romeo and Juliet, Cymbeline, King Lear, Two Gentlemen of Verona (Commonwealth Shakespeare); Our Town (Huntington Theatre); Laura, Meet Me in St. Louis, (Stoneham Theatre); A Measure of Normalcy (Gloucester Stage); The Weird (Off the Grid); Language of Angels (Happy Medium); The Importance of Being Earnest, The Song of Achilles, Orestia (Newton Theatre Company). Tour/NYC: Jews on First (Piece of Tish Productions).
We asked actor Eliott Purcell a few questions about his participation in SpeakEasy’s sensory friendly performance of THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME.
How is participating in this sensory friendly performance as an actor different than the way you work on other productions?
In theatre, the relationship between a group of performers and their audience is a unique and important one. They are all breathing the same air, and the cast always has to be listening and responding with the audience, as another character in the show. Sometimes its more direct, like in Shakespeare’s direct addresses, sometimes it’s more subtle, like in our very intimate process of CURIOUS. We will just need to be aware and communicate just as we always have. The audience for the sensory friendly performance may respond differently to show than out other audience, or they may not be so different.
How will you and the cast prepare for this modified production?
As far as the storytelling of the show, we will be changing very little. The house lights will be on at half intensity and some of our louder sound cues are being pulled back, and there will be a safe space in the building for patrons to go if they are feeling overwhelmed but we will be telling the same story we always have, in the same organic way. That is our job, and it would be a disservice to our audiences to do otherwise.
Why do you think putting on performances like this are important?
It is all about accessibility. This show resonates with a lot of people, as do a lot of shows, and we need to be working towards better access. This may be the first time for some people to go to a theatre, let alone CURIOUS INCIDENT, and I think that speaks to the fact that we need to be opening up our theatres to audiences who don’t have access, whether monetarily or being overwhelmed by some of the facets of live performance.
What excites you about this performance?
The same thing that excites me about every performance: that there might be someone in our audience who will see themselves in any of the characters in any way on the stage, and be impacted by that shared experience, or that there will be someone who can get a better understanding about how they look at the world, or even change their perceptions.
What do you hope audiences will experience/gain when attending this?
A chance to hear or see or feel or experience a story.
Is there anything else you want to share about this event?
Tickets are all the same for this performance (25$) so that anyone who wants to come can.