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The Underlying Chris

From 203 member  reviews
Members say: Thought-provoking, Confusing, Great acting, Ambitious, Clever

About the show

This world premiere play from Pulitzer Prize finalist Will Eno is a high-spirited look at how a person comes into their identity, and how sometimes it’s life’s tiniest moments that most profoundly change our lives. More…

From the show:

In these divided times, The Underlying Chris serves as a celebration of our differences, our individuality, and the many mysterious, difficult, and beautiful things we share simply by being alive.

Member Reviews (203)


Thought-provoking, Confusing, Great acting, Ambitious, Clever
Avg Score

Quirky, Thought-provoking, Funny, Clever, Profound

See it if Fascinating exploration of innate vs. acquired identity. Vignettes of "Chris" at different life stages. Warm, amusing & intellectual.

Don't see it if You would be confused by 10 actors of various ages/races/genders playing Chris. You prefer intensity & emotion to inward reflection.

Great writing, Profound, Intelligent, Clever, Absorbing

See it if u want to learn the meaning of life in a play about universality & identity as told thru birth-to-death vignettes from the ever-astute Eno.

Don't see it if you prefer directness, realism & conventionality to allegory, abstraction & non-conformity.

Also Via the protagonist's journey through his/her/their life's milestones ... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Quirky, Edgy, Confusing, Clever

See it if Talent is there. Concept is innovative...Must read recap before viewing.. Different outlook re: life. Rating an ave. for partner and myself

Don't see it if Reminder:get gist of roles before viewing. Will Eno needs studying before watching his plays.

Disappointing, Indulgent, Clever staging, Thought-provoking, Confusing

See it if you enjoy Will Eno's work. It consists of a series of small scenes which appear to be unrelated at first.

Don't see it if you need a strong clear plot to keep your attention. The episodic structure makes the play difficult to watch.

Amusing, Relevant, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Clever

See it if An unusual chronicling of a life from start 2 finish. Since all people have both male & female aspects to themselves Chris is no different.

Don't see it if you don't like when a playwright enjoys playing with his audience; you prefer a straight forward story that doesn't make you think.

Thought-provoking, Quirky, Great acting, Entertaining, Confusing

See it if You are a Will Eno fan. I was honestly confused for half the play. Too much thought for a Sunday matinee, but an interesting view on a life.

Don't see it if You want to see a straight forward play. Put on your thinking caps. Scorecards needed.

Thought-provoking, Quirky, Great acting, Clever

See it if You enjoy all of Will Eno's work. Great acting, an interesting glimpse into a "life" and an interesting execution.

Don't see it if You want a really good story. This relied heavily on the execution vs the story. This is the first Will Eno play I've even mildly enjoyed.

Playing with form, Glib, Humorous, Next day forgetable, Momentarily engaging

See it if want brief reminder of what life & theatre can be. like expectations to B turned on their head, want to pay attention & figure it out

Don't see it if like not challenge of disruption of theatrical expectations, want ONE actor to play the same character all the way thru, fight 2 stay awake

Thought-provoking, Great acting, Confusing, Ambitious, Clever

See it if you like plays that make you think, that deal with issues like who are we,can we be good & bad at once,are we more than 1 person

Don't see it if you want a straight line, totally comprehensible play.This is probably one you should see twice.That's not a good thing.It should be easier

Edgy, Indulgent, Ambitious, Confusing

See it if You enjoy a play about what makes up our identity, blending gender, race and age into a variety of scenes that come to no real conclusion

Don't see it if You dislike a play about what makes up our identity, blending gender, race and age into a variety of scenes that come to no real conclusion

Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Uneven, Challenging

See it if life to death of Chris & his/her many incarnations of age, gender, race & how ordinary random occurrences shape his/her life progression.

Don't see it if non-linear, sometimes confusing, many brief scenes, occasionally tedious

Also Having so many different performers play the character can have a dist... Read more Read less

Confusing, Ambitious, Great acting

See it if You enjoy original presentations of identity. If you like characters composed by many actors of varied age, gender and appearance.

Don't see it if You prefer linear traditional plays, you would be confused by different actors being Chris.

Quirky, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Funny, Absorbing

See it if Investigation of identity - vignettes of different ages of Chris (or Christine,Kris,Christopher...) each of different gender/race/ethnic mix

Don't see it if want a traditional play, don't want actors playing more than one role

Also Funny, sarcastic, wise-cracks in first half gives way to more emotiona... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Interesting staging, Clever enough

See it if ...a story about the events in one’s life that influence forever played by a variety of “Chris”. Needs to go deeper.

Don't see it if ...the appearance of a character before 1st scene to explain what the play is about worries you. It’s not that mysterious.

Ambitious, Intelligent, Great staging, Melancholic

See it if you want to see a brilliantly conceived, but not fully developed, play about life and its universality

Don't see it if you want "men" to be unique. Eno posits that there is far more to compare than contrast in our lives.

Also "Chris" is a gender and race neutral character who trudges on, "just b... Read more Read less

Great staging, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You want to see a play about celebrating our differences, individuality and being alive. You want to see some very good actors

Don't see it if You don't like performances that are in essence short plays. You don't like to see a different type of play. You want to see a musical.

Also I was very impressed with the set design. Very well done. The performe... Read more Read less


See it if Feels like a set of haikus on life: short pieces, reflective, separate yet connected, sprinkled with dry humor.

Don't see it if No plot or clear point, more an ongoing observation of life happening.

Also Diversity: 11 actors of a wide range of ages, body types, and race (1 ... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great staging, Disappointing, Ambitious, Confusing

See it if you enjoy vignettes exploring the development of human character, viewpoint, relationships, with racially/ethnically/gender diverse cast

Don't see it if you prefer spending more energy/time on play theme than on identifying each character played by different race/gender actors in each scene

Also The laudable premise and theme of the work (human emotional and psycho... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Great acting, Great staging

See it if Great acting with interesting sets.

Don't see it if Character changes were a bit confusing.

Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if likeeno's work but expanded to multi characters. one has to pay attention. story sneaks up on you. last three scenes have a great impact

Don't see it if want a simple linear story line with consistent characters. not a lot happens which irked some audience members.

Intense, Confusing, Intelligent, Quirky, Relevant

See it if and only if you are a fan of playwright Will Eno.

Don't see it if a play in which you follow a character from cradle to death in the most UNUSUAL journey doesn't interest you.

Also FULL DISCLOSURE: I am NOT a fan of playwright Will Eno. After my first... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if You appreciate the plays of Eno.This is another unusual one, exploring the life cycle of a "Chris",portrayed by various actors of different

Don't see it if It is a unique work,but following the play can be confusing.

Also races,ages, and sexes. The performances are excellent.

Existentially thought-provoking, Fine ensemble, multi-generational acting, 80 minutes of life's moments, Clever, linear, but not conventional, Quirky and eno-like

See it if Like Will Who and his quirky, thought-provoking, delivery of some of Life's Big Questions. Appreciate creative staging and storytelling.

Don't see it if Need crystalline clarity and a straightforward plot. Need "action" beyond the observation of lifes's commonalities.

Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting, Funny, Absorbing

See it if You would be interested in a gender-fluid autobiography.

Don't see it if You don’t want to pay close attention; the details are rewarding, but require focus.

Also I was surprised by this one as I find Eno hit or miss. This one is won... Read more Read less

Anticlimactic ending, Bit too glib, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Clever

See it if Raises and explores interesting aspects of the human condition aided by an ensemble of fine actors.

Don't see it if The suffers from diminishing returns as it progresses and suffers from weak ending.

November 21st, 2019
CRITIC’S PICK ‘The Underlying Chris,’ You Are Who You Were" Will Eno’s new play about the many people each person contains is glib at first, but grows, like life, from trick to tragicomedy.
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November 22nd, 2019
"The Understated Charms of 'The Underlying Chris,' and a High-Decibel 'Crucible'"
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November 21st, 2019
"The latest play by Pulitzer Prize finalist Will Eno, author of 'Thom Pain (based on nothing),' chronicles a life from infancy to death in unconventional fashion."
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November 21st, 2019
"The subject of Will Eno’s new play is, he tells us, 'Life on Earth.'"
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