Many people have heard the phrase “lights, camera, action,” but the students involved in Wartburg’s upcoming play are preparing for the more accurate “curtains, lights, action,” in reference to a character in the play that is on the spectrum for autism.

When the curtains open and the lights come up at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 8-9, the Wartburg Players will perform “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”

The 10-person cast utilizes a set of six wooden chairs to transport the audience into the mind of Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old boy on the spectrum for autism, as he tries to navigate the murder of Mrs. Shears’ dog, Wellington. When deciding which play to direct, Megan Malaski a fourth-year Wartburg student, went against the grain and chose a serious play with a lesson.

“When I was looking at plays, I was looking at something where I can bring my two loves together, so theater and my major [social work], and this play seemed perfect for it,” Malaski said.

In addition to Malaski’s passion, Maxwell Weber, a second-year student who plays multiple roles throughout the play, has a personal connection tied to the production.

“I have a younger brother who has Asperger’s,” Weber said. “So, I think it’s really nice that we’re getting a main character that is on the spectrum, just because it means a lot to me personally. I have had to train myself for almost 17 years now on how to interact and what specific things I have to say to get them to understand and just have fun with them.”

Nathan Onsgard, a second-year student, will be playing the lead role. Onsgard said the role required a lot of studying the character.

The three individuals are a few of those interviewed and all of them showed this much or more passion about their roles and the message in this play.

General admission to the production is $10 or free with a Wartburg ID.

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