Use of form - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (play)

curriculum-key-fact
The form is the type of text and genre that the writer chooses to use.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was originally a novel and has been adapted by Simon Stephens into play form. This version of the text is meant to be seen in performance. The staging of the play is original and contributes massively to how the audience perceive the events and characters on stage.

The play fits into three possible genres - a family drama, a crime mystery and a coming of age story or bildungsroman.

Family drama

Ed
You have to spend more time with me. And I....I have to show to you that you can trust me.
Ed speaking to Christopher, towards the end of the play

The play fits into this genre because it tells the story of Christopher Boone and his family. During the play Christopher discovers that his beliefs about his family are wrong and that his father has been keeping the truth from him.

Crime mystery

Christopher
I was doing detective work trying to figure out who killed Wellington.
Christopher speaking to his dad, Part One.

The play is a crime mystery because it follows Christopher's investigation of the death of Mrs Shears' dog, Wellington. Despite his father's warnings, Christopher continues his detective work and discovers the truth about his mother.

Bildungsroman

Christopher
I found my mother. I was brave.
Christopher speaking to Siobhan, towards the end of the play.

A 'bildungsroman' is a coming of age story in which we follow the main character as they grow up and learn about themselves and the world. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time fits this genre as Christopher uncovers Wellington's murderer, travels to London, passes his A-level Maths exam, at the age of 15 and ultimately learns that he is capable of anything!

How to analyse form

In order to analyse form you must:

  • consider what aspect of form you are looking at
  • think how Stephens has used this for effect
  • think how this could impact the audience
Question

Explain how Stephens uses form to influence the audience.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a play and so it is meant to be seen as a performance.

  • It is a family drama - the audience learn about Christopher and the issues his family face.
  • It is a crime mystery - the audience is intrigued to find out the truth about the killing of the dog, Wellington.
  • It can be classed as a bildungsroman because the audience watch as Christopher goes on a journey and grows as a character.