The Forever Wave

Online, Global

16/02/2024 - 09/03/2024

NZ Fringe Festival 2024

Production Details

Written and directed by Nicole Gluckstern. Featuring music by Mark Growden and Banda Sin Nombre, and poetry by Roy Conboy.

Estrella Suerte Productions

Inspired by Dylan Thomas’ iconic radio play Under Milk Wood, The Forever Wave is set in a drowned San Francisco, circa 2070. Combining geography, climate science, Bay Area history, and an assemblage of voices—survivors and dead alike—The Forever Wave is a comprehensive exploration of a what-if future that seems ever more likely every year we fail to address the impacts of climate change and economic inequality. What communities will emerge when our systems have collapsed entirely and “normal” is a historical relic? What can the hilltop-dwellers of the future teach us about ourselves in the now? And what are the things we can start building in order to avoid their fate?

An audio recording/radio play with subtitles. Online only.

Feb 16-March 9, Digital/on-demand at New Zealand Fringe Festival
$8-$10 NZD
Ticket Link:

Performed by: Roy Conboy, Jerikka Gamboa, Aaliyah Gilliard, Peter Griggs, Nathaniel Justiniano, Julia Letzel, Mia Paschal, Krystle Piamonte, Edna Mira Raia, Patrick Simms, Megan Trout, and Lluis Valls.
Audio engineering by Patrick Simms and sound design by Cliff Caruthers.

Theatre , Audio (podcast) , Digital presentation ,

95 minutes

A true feat of audio performance

Review by Emma Maguire 04th Mar 2024

The Forever Wave is a wonderful, and at times, unnerving, digital offering this Fringe. An hour and a half long radio play out of San Francisco, this homage to Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood takes the same rolling, wandering narrative and sets it in the Bay Area in the near future – but one that’s been drowned under climate change and a massive king tide; where occupants of the land cling onto high hills and sea-torn lands and build a life anew. 

As a radio play creator myself, and as someone with a Under Milk Wood performance history, I have found The Forever Wave utterly engrossing. The depth of the world-building is imaginative and admirable, true storytelling built right into my mind’s eye, yet with lashings of Milk Wood underneath to guide us along.

If you’re not familiar with this style of storytelling, it follows a town full of characters during their day as their lives interweave with one another; fleeting, poetic glimpses, as though you’re seeing them in the street and let into their lives for a moment.

Sound designer Cliff Caruthers and Playwright/Director Nicole Gluckstern bring this landscape to life. The original songs interwoven amongst the piece make it not quite a musical, but rather a world informed by sea shanty and music guided by the wind. The performance’s large group of actors are beautiful buoys through this work, bobbing along the seas of narrative: a wonderful display of character and voice talent.

References to Hurricane Katrina and COVID-19 ground this narrative strictly in our world, I think for the better. So often do we pawn real climate effects off to the future, pretending they’re not going to happen to us, and The Forever Wave allows us to confront them more honestly. On the flip side, while this is set in a dystopian world – or at least, a dramatically changed one – the one unerring truth persists: despite it all, humanity persists and survives. The characters in this work prove that much, and leave me with much to ponder as I watch rain pour down out my window and Wellington gets hit with a thunderstorm warning.

Barring a bit of slightly weird-sounding actor audio – I suspect from recording over the internet (and it’s nothing that someone who doesn’t literally do this for their job would catch) – The Forever Wave is a true feat of audio performance. I recommend you take the time out to listen before the Fringe season’s over.


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