The curious incident

Today I saw a matinee performance on Broadway of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. At one point in the play the main character, Christopher, a 15 year old boy who is autistic, calms himself down by reciting successive powers of two.

It was a very nice moment, and it made perfect sense. Except that the actor, Alex Sharp (who, by the way, was excellent in the role), got it wrong.

What he actually said was “1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 125, 256, 512, 1024”. That eighth number, so out of place, leapt out at me, and I was instantly yanked out of the story, acutely aware that I wasn’t in the presence of Christopher at all, just somebody playing Christopher.

The real Christopher, the one in Mark Haddon’s novel, would have been utterly incapable of inserting such a jarringly wrong note into such a beautiful sequence.

I know this because earlier in the afternoon, taking the R train to see that very play, I had spent much of the ride mentally tuning out the cares of the day — by reciting successive powers of two in my head.

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