“I DON’T WANNA DIE!” echoed through the room, the first words of Kris Noteboom’s one-man show And Then I Woke Up. Noteboom’s performance covers a lot of ground and weaves in and out of stand up, monologue, and even flirts with lecture.
Despite addressing a plethora of topics, Noteboom’s narrative thread is tied to the exploration of dreams: what they are, what they mean, and what we think they mean. His story spans his wide-eyed childhood, awkward adolescence, and an adulthood that hasn’t given him the wisdom he had hoped.
Along the way he dissects America and the American Dream, he explores Freud and things we’d rather not associate with our mothers, peppered all the while with a fierce obsession with pop culture.
As is possible for any one-man show, Noteboom (whose name is badass, see the show just for the playbill) teeters on the edge of heavy-handedness, occasionally slipping closer to elocution than entertainment. In these moments the show drags, but never for long, saved by a clear sincerity by the writer/director/actor.
And Then I Woke Up
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Regardless of its off and on sermonizing, Noteboom doesn’t really want to preach as much as he wants to connect, to have the audience relate and react. The fourth wall exists but we are in it with him. His stories are funny – whether or not you’ll laugh out loud I can’t say – but beyond their humor is their substance. Each one connects to his exploration of dreams, which really becomes the exploration fear, and although it may be more cathartic for him than it is for the audience, And Then I Woke Up is guaranteed to make you think, and what is more, make you think about thinking.
What more could you ask for?