Dog in the Night-Ttime Comes to PPAC

Langdon, AdamThe eagerly awaited North American tour of the National Theatre production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time rolls into Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) February 7 – 12. The Tony Award-winning play by Simon Stephens, adapted from Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel, arrives with plenty of praise for the production’s innovative choreography, stagecraft and immersive storytelling.

The tour stars Adam Langdon as Christopher John Francis Boone, a brilliant teenager described as having “an extraordinary brain … but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life.” Though not explicitly stated, it is clear that Christopher falls on the spectrum, giving him clear insight into mathematics, but an inability to comprehend faces, emotions and social situations. When Christopher is accused of murdering a neighbor’s dog he sets out to find the truth in the spirit of his favorite sleuth, Sherlock Holmes.

I tracked down Adam Langdon on the road to talk with the 24-year-old actor about tackling his first national tour, his years studying at Julliard, and of course, Netflix and ice cream.

Marilyn Busch (Motif): I am always fascinated by how an actor is first introduced to live theater. What was the first show you ever saw?

Adam Langdon: I was always surrounded by the arts as a kid; my dad’s an acting teacher and my mum was an actress. I can’t remember what my first show was but I know I was brought to see a lot of stuff at the New Victory Theater on 42nd as a kid. They always had great shows.

MB: What was your very first role? Not the official resume one, but the very first part you ever were cast in?

AL: My mother directed me and several school friends in this awesome production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. I played Puck; he was a punk, had a razor scooter and sang Queen songs. It was a blast!

MB: Four years of intensive conservatory training at Julliard sounds like the definition of “rigorous.” What was the most challenging part of the program for you? What do you miss the most?

AL: It was a crazy time! And a very rewarding one. There were many ups and downs, of course, but I remember early on, like three weeks into first year, I felt so lost and that I didn’t deserve to be there and my roommate/classmate/best friend, Rob Aramayo, looked me in the eye and told me that I did belong and that we would all feel like that at some point. I really miss seeing my classmates all the time. We had a really special group and many of them are off working in different states and countries so it’s hard for us to get everyone together again.

MB: I understand that the actor who originated the role of Christopher, Alex Sharp, is a friend of yours from Julliard? That’s a ridiculously “small world” thing there! Were you always up for the same roles in school?

AL: Alex and I were indeed at school together! He was in the year above me, though, so we never did plays together. You always did plays with your class (unless you were creating a student initiated project) and you never auditioned. There was never time to! People were just given the parts and everyone was always in the plays. That way everyone was always working!

MB: This is your first national tour. What was the biggest surprise to you about life on the road?

AL: I sorta’ came into the tour with as few expectations as I could. I knew it would be something completely different, that I’d never experienced before and so to have an open mind was the thing I tried to focus on. I’m sorta surprised that we all still like each other! Being around people without the escape of your home is a daunting thought, but we’ve got a fantastic company and crew and have managed to stay sane for the most part.

MB: What do you like most about touring? The least?

AL: I’ve loved going to all these new cities and exploring the zoos, aquariums and restaurants in each. I’ve had a blast doing that. But again, being away from family and friends is hard. It’s impossible to not miss out on so many things, luckily we’re coming up on our first week off so I’ll get in as much time with them as I can!

MB: Do you have a set warm-up or pre-show ritual that you do to get ready each night?

AL: I do a vocal warm-up when I remember to (my voice teachers at school would kill me) and we do a physical warm-up as a group. I like to do things in a certain order when I’m making my way to the stage and I do part of a Bo Burnham rap and then my first few lines of the play. It’s very odd and silly. When I’m in my dressing room my main thing is just be calm and do whatever I feel like, just to keep myself happy.

MB: I see the tour also performs for student audiences – what are those matinees like compared to the regular performances? Are there moments that they respond to differently than their adult counterparts?

AL: Student audiences are always great. They love the sex jokes, they love it when people swear, but they also really listen. They’re some of our most vocal audiences and also some of our most connected audiences. I remember we had this huge group of kids come in DC and as I was walking out of the theater they spotted me and I was honestly taken aback by their insight into the play. It was brilliant.

MB: This play is an exceptional combination of choreographed staging, innovative visual designs and a truly complicated narrative. As an actor, how do you keep Christopher’s humanity front and center each night in the midst of such layered storytelling?

AL: I get a lot of help from both Mark Haddon and Simon Stephens. Christopher is such a wonderfully exceptional human and for me his humanity leaps off the page. To play him any other way would not only be disservice to the character, but to the entire play.

And finally, from our readers at MOTIF, come these burning questions:

MOTIF READER: If you could act out any scene, from any play, with any actor living or dead, what scene and with whom? And, on what stage?

AL: Wow! That is a very specific question so forgive me I’m gonna make it easier on myself. I’ve always thought it would be awesome if I got to do Death of Salesman with my dad. He’s a big Arthur Miller guy and it would mean a great deal to work with him. And, though this one is a bit of a cheat, I’d love to play Billy in Edward Albee’s The Goat or Who is Sylvia? again. It was the last thing I did at school and my best friend played my father (even though we’re the same age). That play is so viciously funny and heartbreaking and to go into all that again with him would just be awesome.

MR: What’s your favorite ice cream?

AL: Ice cream is good. Like give me some fun flavor with a bunch of toppings and that’s great, but legit Brooklyn Italian ice from Ferrara’s or just a pizza place is where my heart has always been. And rainbow flavor because it will always be the best.

MR: With a h/t to NPR’s Dinner Party Download, what’s the question you wish everyone would stop asking you?

AL: “How do you remember all those lines?” It’s definitely in every actor’s top three hated questions. It’s my job and we’ve rehearsed the play for countless hours so it would be crazy if I didn’t know them. I wouldn’t go up to a chef and ask him how they remembered all the ingredients in a dish.

MR: What’s on your Netflix binge-watch list right now?

AL: I just started “Series of Unfortunate Events,” which has been great. I’m always rewatching British shows like “The Inbetweeners,” “Peep Show” and “Fresh Meat.” I’m also a big anime fan so I watch a bunch of those like “Yu Yu Hakusho,” “Tokyo Ghoul,” “Seven Deadly Sins” and I just started a new one called “Seraph of the End.” And when I’m on break I’m gonna binge season 2 of “How to Get Away with Murder;” I know I’m really behind but if I start I won’t stop and I just can’t do that on the road!

You can catch Adam Langdon in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at PPAC from February 7 – 12 as part of the Taco/White Family Foundation Broadway Series. Tickets are available online at ppacri.org, by phone at 401-421-ARTS (2787) and at the PPAC Box Office, 220 Weybosset St, PVD. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prove that you are human *

Previous post:

Next post: