REVIEW: We May Have to Choose (Auckland Fringe)

Review by Rachael Longshaw-Park

Emma Hall

[Choose to Listen]

It is difficult to write about We May Have to Choose since there is no way you can possibly describe the effortlessly fluid experience of sitting in front of Emma Hall for just under and hour not even noticing the minutes tick by. Lack of conventional structure helps to create this feeling. But more than that, we are organically drawn into her discourse from the very beginning by the silent presentation that dictates two simple rules:

You (audience) must not speak.

I (performer) must speak to you.

Through this we know we must be present and listen as best as we can. And listen we do. Hall proceeds to lead us through a narrative of opinions and facts that bleed into the other, presented with her unfaltering gaze, and at times supported by a series of methodical movements in conjunction with her words. But again, it is so much more than that, and so difficult to put to page without jumping down the rabbit hole and unravelling the whole show. To put it simply this piece is more than a monologue – it enters the soapbox territory – but comes full circle to allow the audience to reflect in on themselves with the play’s final question. The journey is beautiful and engaging and opens a space designed for questioning the ever changing, ever complicated world that we live in, and asks us what is our place, our responsibility, and of course, our choice?

The simple presentation and direction complements the work and keeps focus on the meat of the text. The few simple directions add to the text and allow for a moment of change in the constant stream of consciousness Hall delivers for most of the performance. This is a show that proves once again that less can be more, especially when your core message is so strong. Kudos to Hall’s fire and conviction in her performance, and for bringing something unique to this year’s Fringe.

We May Have to Choose played as part of Auckland Fringe 21-25th Feb. Details see The Basement.

SEE ALSO: review by Heidi North-Bailey

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