Final Bow

Final Bow: Enid Graham Shares Curious Incident's Most Curious Behind-the-Scenes Incidents

Celebrity rodents, chronic mispronunciation, and Steven Spielberg kept the cast on their toes for the past two years.

For over two years, Enid Graham has been playing Judy, mother to the troubled math genius Christopher, in the Broadway production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Ethel Barrymore Theater. And in that time she's managed to pack in quite a few curious incidents of her own.

One might expect that in a play that's been so lauded for successfully integrating high-tech design elements, most of the cast's show-related memories would involve elaborate projections and moving walls. But for Graham, nearly all the most memorable moments have been based around living creatures, mostly humans — but also some puppies and a famous rat.

Enid Graham will end a two year run in Broadway's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time when the show closes next month.
Enid Graham will end a two year run in Broadway's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time when the show closes next month.
(© David Gordon)

1. What is your favorite line that you get to say or sing?

It's interesting. I've done the play for two years now, I can't remember any of my lines…I think I like [Judy's] dream of this alternate life she could have had…this world where she could have been in a beautiful place in the south of France and could be drinking wine and smoking French cigarettes. It always touches me because I imagine that her day-to-day life living with this difficult son and not much support and not much money is probably quite opposite from that. She's a woman with dreams.

2. Everyone loves inside jokes. What is the best one from your show?

Well we work with an entirely British creative team and we also have quite a few expats in our show, native Brits, who had their accents come quite easily to them. And then there were the rest of us…This one guy in my cast, Ben Horner, would always get this note from the Brits, they'd say [in their British accents], "You're saying 'skeleton,' but it's 'skeleton.'" And then he would say, "OK, 'skeleton?'" And they would say, "No, no, skeleton." And then he would say, "Wait, so 'skeleton?'" "No, no, listen, 'skeleton.'" And we were like, "Alright we [can't hear what] you're talking about." So every now and then we'll look at each other and just go, "Skeleton?"

3. Every show experiences technical difficulties. What was the worst technical difficulty experienced during your show and how was it handled?

One day Richard Hollis, who plays Rodger [Judy's boyfriend], and I were onstage and the moment came when the dad, played by Andrew Long, bursts in…and I guess the [automatic] doors didn't open. That scene is staged around a pool of light that Christopher is sitting in and the adults yell and fight with each other in the darkness right around the edge of the light. But there was no person to fight with, because he just didn't come on. So Richard and I just invented and invented the backstory of Judy. And finally they got Andrew to [another] door and he came on and we were able to resume, but it was a long time to have to make up lines in a scene with no props, no furniture, and no light.

4. Do you have a favorite aspect of the set design?

It's interesting because if you just see it once, you're often kind of blown away by the high-tech nature of the set…But actually the story is told equally with high tech and low tech…Really we could do the play in just an empty room with cubes and you would still get it. There's a lot of the story that is told by white boxes pretending to be other things than what they are, human bodies becoming parts of a set…So I feel like the most magical thing about the set isn't the high-tech aspects, but rather the open nature of it that allows it to become so many different things.

5. What was the most "interesting" interaction you had at the stage door?

I would say the interesting thing is the play can be a little bit of a Rorschach test for people's relationship with their parents. Because sometimes people really just hate the dad and think the mom is totally right and sometimes people just hate the mom and think the dad is totally right. Now, of course, in my opinion, both of them are wrong and right. But some people don't see it that way.

6. Who is the coolest person that came to see your show? (You can't say your family!)

I remember thinking this was really funny. When the old cast was there on their very last day, when you looked on our little sheet that we put up on the call board about what guests are coming — you know, it'll be like, "Suzy Creamcheese, Enid's guest" and "Mary Smith, Jan's guest," and then it said, "Alex Sharp's guest: Steven Spielberg." And I found that so funny. Oh and by the way, Steven Spielberg.

7. How would you describe your own math skills? If you're not a math genius, what are you a genius at?

I don't have any math skills. I have three sons and my youngest son is just about at the peak of my math skills and he's going into first grade next year…I don't really think I'm a genius at anything. But I guess if I [had to] say what I'm a genius at, it would be putting on silly clothes and pretending to be someone else. I don't know if I'm a genius at that, either, but I do enjoy it.

8. How many of Christopher's pet rats have you gone through?

We've had a lot of puppies, but we have not had that many rats, because last year we had the first rat, whose name was Toby (but she was a girl) and she did the entire year. I don't think she even missed a performance, or maybe at the end she missed a couple performances and her little sub went on. She had incredible longevity and a great work ethic. And she was also unbelievably celebrated in the press. We would look at the call board and they'd be announcing press events and we'd be like, "Another press event for the rat?"…And then since Toby I feel like we've had maybe two other rats, with a couple of subs in there.

9. Describe each of your Christopher's in a word or phrase.

Alex [Sharp]: fearless brilliance

Taylor [Trensch]: tender genius

Tyler [Lea]: heartbreakingly truthful

Ben [Wheelwright]: powerhouse talent

10. For Christopher, passing five red cars on the way to school means "that it is going to be a Super Good Day." For you, what signs indicate a good/bad day?

If I can make a nice cup of coffee that tastes just right and I've got the time to drink it. I think that's always a sign of a good beginning to the day.

Enid Graham sits atop the shoulders of several other Curious Incident company members in a scene from the show.
Enid Graham sits atop the shoulders of several other Curious Incident company members in a scene from the show.
(© Joan Marcus)

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