A Hundred Words For Snow

19 May

This is a brilliant presentation of a brilliant play.

In Tatty Hennessy’s beautifully rich monologue, Rory has just lost her father. Before an untimely accident, he’d been planning to take her to the North Pole…..so teenage Rory decides the next best thing is to take his ashes there.

Her journey of discovery – into a lonely world of ice and cold, and unexpected beauty – is a gloriously gentle, deeply moving metaphor for grief.

Both Rory’s father and her younger self were enamoured by tales of the early polar explorers, men desperate to reach the Pole before modern technology reduced the ordeal to a difficult, but ultimately doable, tourist jaunt. These men who dared the unknown, the vast blank spaces on the map, showed extraordinary resilience, extraordinary hubris, and many died horribly. Rory is suitably fascinated by both their strength and their stupidity.

For all their hardship, much of the blank space they aimed to conquer had been traversed before. Perhaps if they’d spoken to the Inuit people, instead of dismissing them as savages, their journeys might have been easier.

But first times will be experienced as such.

Much of life consists of experiencing for the first time what’s in actuality being experienced for the billionth time. We walk the road alone, but the road is well trodden. (It’s a phenomena Rory herself acknowledges, not about her grief, but about her first serious sexual encounter; for all its uniqueness for her, it’s been experienced by all who came before.)

Eddie Pattison is magnificent as Rory, capturing her sadness, her fear, her humour, and her wonder, and creating a character so complete it feels less like a performance than an embodiment. Director Gavin Roach’s touch is light and wise, allowing this piece to achieve the dramatic miracle: the realisation of the individual that intimates the universal.    

Paul Gilchrist

A Hundred Words For Snow by Tatty Hennessy

Flight Path Theatre until 28 May

https://www.flightpaththeatre.org/whats-on/a-hundred-words-for-snow

Images: Cameron Grant (Parenthesy)

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