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May 2021


An immersive theatre performance that uses audio, video and live performance to explore to explore how perception affects our realities.

If we found that our brains are making up a story about reality, how do we understand the reality we believe?

Ripples tells the story of a blind and deaf man who ‘witnesses’ the drowning of two young boys. Set near the shore of a beautiful lake, he experiences the same event, but the truth of his reality diverges.

Ripples was inspired by director Xi Chen's real-life experience in Tibet when she was 5 years old. The performance explores the nature of truth and how our individual views of reality define our own perspective of truth.


The show explored themes of sensory perception, memory and reconstruction. On one side, it had a highly technical setup with binaural audio, projection mapping and video design. On the other side, there was a live performance that reconstructed the "event". For the latter, I worked closely with the director Xi Chen to craft the character that witnesses this event, by researching the spectrum of visual and audio impairment that exists and then creating the live action sequence which was non-verbal. For the latter, I used learnings from physical theatre and mime training to bring the character alive.

Cast & Crew

Director / Deviser: Xi Chen
Performer: Gaurav Singh Nijjer
Performer (in the video): Julian Zhang, Styles Li
Sound designer: Trevor White, Jiuming Duan
Composer: Mingji Wang
Visual Designer: Effie Gu
Costume Designer: Jaxi Liu
Dramaturg: Dayou Geng
Graphic Designer: Yitong Feng
Videographer: Leo Zhu

With thanks to Peter Case, Julian Maynard-Smith, Nick Wood, Nohar Lazarovich, Anna Smith, Calum Perrin Lynne, Zichun Wang, Jamie Liu, Jiaxi Wang, Yifan Wu, Mark Cunningham, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Production History

The show was developed as director Xi Chen's MFA graduate showcase under the Advanced Theatre Practice program at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. It premiered at the Fringe Futures Festival in May 2021, an innovative collaboration between the Pleasance Theatre & VAULT Festival. It was then staged at the Wycombe Arts Centre in June 2021.

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