A poignant telling of poetic story

A Greek philosopher once said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

Something of that theme threads throughout touring actor Chris Green’s performance of the solo play, Under.

Water, memory, and even the unconscious are motifs that move through New Zealand playwright Cassandra Tse’s poetic narrative.

The play is a story that is made up of a stream of stories that Green’s solitary narrator tells himself, and the audience, to bring to life in his mind his wife’s living presence. If the story has a plot it is in this stream of stories that rest on the rhythms of Tse’s language, and it is the language Green brings to life in his poignant performance.

“The trick in story-telling is not telling,” says his character.

Green taps undercurrents in Tse’s script to present a personable, intimate and, by the end, deeply moving performance. Simple lighting, a stripped back set and subtle, dreamlike, electronic music composed by Will Evans is all he needs to help him engage the audience.

In an interesting innovation the audience has a significant role in the unnamed man’s story-telling. The device is free of mawkishness and in fact draws the audience closer to Green’s character and to a sense of stepping into something broader and bigger, something like collective experience.

The production is only one hour long but Green takes the audience on a journey through his and his lost wife’s lives that leaves theatre-goers with a profound, elegiac frame of mind that remains long afterwards.

A Greek philosopher once said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

Something of that theme threads throughout touring actor Chris Green’s performance of the solo play, Under.

Water, memory, and even the unconscious are motifs that move through New Zealand playwright Cassandra Tse’s poetic narrative.

The play is a story that is made up of a stream of stories that Green’s solitary narrator tells himself, and the audience, to bring to life in his mind his wife’s living presence. If the story has a plot it is in this stream of stories that rest on the rhythms of Tse’s language, and it is the language Green brings to life in his poignant performance.

“The trick in story-telling is not telling,” says his character.

Green taps undercurrents in Tse’s script to present a personable, intimate and, by the end, deeply moving performance. Simple lighting, a stripped back set and subtle, dreamlike, electronic music composed by Will Evans is all he needs to help him engage the audience.

In an interesting innovation the audience has a significant role in the unnamed man’s story-telling. The device is free of mawkishness and in fact draws the audience closer to Green’s character and to a sense of stepping into something broader and bigger, something like collective experience.

The production is only one hour long but Green takes the audience on a journey through his and his lost wife’s lives that leaves theatre-goers with a profound, elegiac frame of mind that remains long afterwards.

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