Chris McKenzie is directing Amdram's latest production, Blind Eye, a play by April Phillips.
With a cast comprising Chris, as well as Annie Whitfield and Joan and Mike Street, there was no shortage of directorial choice when original director Talia Annear had to withdraw.
"Talia had already done a lot of the blocking," says Chris. Although he stepped up as director, he says it has been a real team effort.
Chris has directed before, but this is different.
"I did 'the Vicar of Dibley', which was a comedy, and 'Dick Whittington' was pantomime, but this is straight out, full on drama. Obviously Joan and Mike have been very supportive and Annie Whitfield has been really good, and of course I've got Jacqui [Chris's wife] on board, because I'd never do anything without her as far as directing is concerned, because she's my organiser."
Chris has had some serious dramatic roles before, as an actor, from Shakespearian parts to a challenging but successful stint as the Queen's physician in 'Yours Truly'.
In Blind Eye, Joan and Mike Street are playing Vera and Wally Matthews.
"They're an elderly couple who have been together 60 years. Vera has been blind since birth. One day, like any other day, Wally goes across the road to the dairy to get milk or bread or whatever, and he gets assaulted by a couple of guys. He gets taken off to hospital. Vera is also suffering early signs of dementia … two strangers come into their lives: myself who is the police sergeant , Patrick, and he's investigating the assault , and Annie plays Alice, a district health nurse assigned to look after Wally and Vera.
"The longer that the two outsiders are involved with the elderly couple, the more they ask questions about what's really going on with these two.
"It's a love story, but it makes you question what love is really about."
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Even the policeman is given to introspective monologue, a man who has grown to see the law as black and white, but in this situation he is discovering grey.
"But it is essentially a love story ... this couple's 60 year relationship and how devoted Wally has been to Verasince they were very young. There are lots of really nice moments where the audience will go, 'Oooh, that's so sweet', and then something will happen and they'll go, 'Ooo!'"
Chris says there is humour, with three of four laugh-out-loud moments.
There are also moments where Vera's worsening dementia is the focus, but even then there is a light-hearted approach.
"This was written in 2014, and I wouldn't be surprised if April had Joan in mind when she wrote the part of Vera.
"It's one of those plays where you leave the theatre, go home, and you're still thinking about it a couple of days later, trying to decide exactly how you feel about it."
Blind Eye is on at Amdram Theatre, Guyton St, from February 4 to February 13.