Before I read Frozen today, the only piece of Bryony Lavery’s work I was familiar with was Stockholm, and I’d seen that at the theatre, not read it. I feel as if I’ve struck gold. How wonderful to ‘discover’ a writer whose work you love and who has been prolific. (Assuming I can get hold of them, there should be quite a few more plays by Bryony Lavery talked about in this space!)
Frozen is a story of loss and grief, told from three very different viewpoints. The play takes place over more than 20 years and centres on the loss of a child. Rhona was 10 when, like little red riding hood, she went to visit her Grandma. She never made it there and never returned home.
Nancy is Rhona’s mother and goes through the full gamut of emotions over the course of the play, but almost never what you’d expect when you’d expect it. The other characters on stage are Agnetha, an American psychiatrist investigating the pathology of serial killers, and Ralph, the serial killer. At first, the three characters talk in monologues, which slowly link up as they meet.
Here are some excerpts, taken out of context:
NANCY: Ingrid rings
makes something with noodles
can’t touch it
but I show willing
twirl it around on the plate a bit with a fork.
‘Try with chopsticks … I’ll show you how to …’
but I leave it all sitting there
dumped on the plate
puts me in mind of worms
AGNETHA: Although the stewardess serving me deserves to die …
a lonely, painful, lingering, agonising death
for the impressive number of
times she has willfully ignored my request for brandy
and for a certain radiant spitefulness over her
inability to provide me with a vegetarian meal …
Lavery’s play is full of tension, suspense and, astonishingly, humour. This is an amazing piece of work because of its humanity and generosity. (It’s also a great play for actors looking for audition monologues!)
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Cast: 2F, 1M