Grand Opera House, York
Tues, Jan 20-Sat, Jan 24 @ 7.30pm (2.30pm matinees Weds, Thurs, Sat)
£14.90 – £37.90
Joshua Jenkins stars as Christopher in The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, the National Theatre production which comes to the Grand Opera House in York.
The young actor, from Swansea, talked to YorkMix about turning such a popular book into a play, and the challenges of playing such a different teenager
Did you know the book before being cast in the role?
The story for me is about difference, and about family, and seeing the world slightly differently. Things that we all experience every day in life.
Christopher has some ‘behavioural difficulties’. How did you approach that?
He certainly has traits of somebody who’s on the spectrum to some degree. He can’t understand metaphors and finds it hard to read people’s facial expressions, or get people’s intonations.
You can’t hide away from it but it’s really not a play about Asperger’s or autism in any way, shape or form. It’s about family, it’s about difference and betrayal – things that we all go through.
How do you translate a book set in a boy’s mind onto the stage?
As an audience you enter his mind, and you see the world how he sees it. It’s magical. It’s a play but it has the production value of a big West End show. With the lights and the projection and the sound it’s really incredible.
Are you like Christopher?
He finds it hard and reacts to things in a slightly different way to most people. I’m very different to Christopher. But I wish I was more like him – he’s great.
You’re 27 and Christopher’s 15 – is it difficult playing a teenager?
That really helps to tap into that vulnerability and that energy we have when we’re teenagers. That helps me tap into that in many ways. I wanted to avoid playing a ‘15 year old’ – playing someone much younger. He is 15 but he has the mind of someone a lot older.
Do you think all ages will enjoy the play?
Is it a difficult role to play night after night?
But it’s such a brilliant part that I feel incredibly lucky to be doing it. It’s any young actor’s dream – it’s a dream part.
What’s it like being a part of the National Theatre?
It’s a beautiful place to go and work. The standard of work the company produce speaks for itself. It’s exciting, cutting edge stuff. It’s great to be a part of it.
Who are your acting heroes?
Do you know York?
What does the future hold?