Jeff Smith 12:01 p.m., March 29
They say you can see mirages in the subzero winds at the South Pole. Trees, ships, even recognizable friends or enemies materialize from the frozen void. Ted Talley's intense and intensely moving drama peoples Antarctica of 1911-1912 not only with two teams racing to reach the pole first (Norwegians, led by Roald Amundsen, and British, by Robert Falcon Scott) but also with Scott's wife, Kathleen, and a goading, gloating Amundsen. In the race, according to Scott, the cheaters won. Amundsen used huge teams of sled dogs and ate them (each became "50 pounds of dinner"). Scott's team walked the 800 miles to the pole, arrived three weeks after Amundsen, and met a tragic end before reaching the base camp. The drama's all extremes: did Amundsen mistreat his dogs, or did Scott mistreat his men by having them pull a 1000-pound sledge? Which should rank higher: stiff upper lip rectitude or pragmatic life-saving solutions? Scott's "sporting" ideals may have cost lives. Inukshuk Production Company's made an impressive San Diego debut. One could pick here and there (why, for example, does the Norwegian speak with a British accent?), but the positives far outweigh minor negatives. Marybeth Bielawski-DeLeo has found useful ways to serve the story in the small [email protected] Theatre space. Kelley Convery's excellent costumes range from polar-wear, circa 1912, to Kathleen's elegant springtime dresses. Mark Helmuth's spare set includes a white silk sheet, which could be a tent or a glacier and also a screen for Bonnie Breckenridge and Michael McKeon's slides from the historical event. Tom Andrew heads a crack ensemble cast as Scott who, as the play proceeds, slowly becomes a "man abandoned by hope."
Worth a try.
When: Ongoing until Sunday, May 11, 2008
- Sundays, 2pm
- Thursdays, 8pm
- Fridays, 8pm
- Saturdays, 8pm