“Frozen,” a Provocative Play About an Unspeakable Crime and Its Aftermath, Starts March 16th at REP

Raleigh Ensemble Players will present "Frozen" on March 16-18, 22-25, and 29-31 at 213 Fayetteville St. in downtown Raleigh, NC
Raleigh Ensemble Players will present "Frozen" on March 16-18, 22-25, and 29-31 at 213 Fayetteville St. in downtown Raleigh, NC

Raleigh Ensemble Players will present "Frozen" on March 16-18, 22-25, and 29-31 at 213 Fayetteville St. in downtown Raleigh, NC
Raleigh Ensemble Players will present "Frozen" on March 16-18, 22-25, and 29-31 at 213 Fayetteville St. in downtown Raleigh, NC

Raleigh Ensemble Players will present British playwright Bryony Lavery’s riveting ripped-from-the-headlines 1998 drama about an unspeakable crime and its aftermath, Frozen, on March 16-18, 22-25, and 29-31 in its new performance space at 213 Fayetteville St., Suite 202, in downtown Raleigh, NC. Like Neil LaBute’s The Mercy Seat, which REP performed on April 7-9 and 14-16, 2011, under the direction of Sean A. Brosnahan, Frozen will be presented as part of the “REP Stripped” series, with Brosnahan once more at the helm.

In its preshow publicity, Raleigh Ensemble Players asks, “What’s needed in order for theatre to exist? A story to tell. Someone to tell it. And someone to listen…. Once again, REP strips away the excess, emphasizing the play’s text and the artists who breathe life into it.”

On its website, Dramatists Play Service, Inc. introduces this powder keg of a play with a few brief comments:

“One evening 10-year-old Rhona goes missing. Her mother, Nancy [played by Staci Sabarsky], retreats into a state of frozen hope. Agnetha [Whitney Griffin], an American academic, comes to England to research a thesis: ‘Serial Killing — A Forgivable Act?’ Then there’s Ralph [Eric Morales], a loner who’s looking for some distraction. Drawn together by horrific circumstances, these three embark on a long, dark journey which finally curves upward into the light.

“Angry, humane and compassionate, Frozen is an extraordinary play that entwines the lives of a murderer, the mother of one of his victims, and his psychologist to explore our capacity for forgiveness, remorse, and change after an act that would seem to rule them out entirely.”

The "Frozen" cast includes (from left) Whitney Griffin, Staci Sabarsky, and Eric Morales
The "Frozen" cast includes (from left) Whitney Griffin, Staci Sabarsky, and Eric Morales

In reviewing previous productions of this play, The Observer (London) calls the Frozen a “fine play … so concentrated and unflinching that at times it takes your breath away”; The Times (London) rates it a major play … thrilling, humane and timely”; and The Guardian (London) describes Frozen as a “big, brave, compassionate play about grief, revenge, forgiveness and bearing the unbearable.”

The Independent (London) adds, “Consistently surprising and even bravely comic…, [t]he almost thriller-like promise of the play’s climactic confrontation is like a time-bomb ticking in the back of your head.”

Frozen made its world debut on May 1, 1998 at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, where it won the Best New Play Award, presented by the U.K.’s Theatrical Management Association. The play’s Royal National Theatre engagement began on July 3, 2002.

The play opened Off Broadway in February 2004 at the Manhattan Class Company Theatre, and made its Broadway debut — directed by Doug Hughes — on May 4, 2004 at the Circle in the Square theatre, where it played 128 performances before closing on Aug. 22, 2004. Frozen was a nominee for the 2004 Tony Award® for Best Play, and won the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Play (Brian F. O’Byrne as Ralph).

In addition to director Sean Brosnahan, the Raleigh Ensemble Players creative team for Frozen will include dialect consultant Lynn Pickles and stage manager Hilary Edwards.

SECOND OPINION: March 14th Durham, NC Independent Weekly mini-preview by Byron Woods: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/frozen/Event?oid=2895323.

Raleigh Ensemble Players presents FROZEN at 8 p.m. March 16 and 17, 7 p.m. March 18, 8 p.m. March 22-24, 7 p.m. March 25, and 8 p.m. March 29-31 at 213 Fayetteville St., Suite 202, Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.

TICKETS: $15, except March 22nd pay-what-you-can performance and $10 Student Rush Tickets (sold at the door 5 minutes before curtain).

BOX OFFICE: 832-9607, gorep@juno.com, or http://www.realtheatre.org/box_office.html.

SHOW: http://www.realtheatre.org/box_office.html.

PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.realtheatre.org/.

BLOG: http://iamrep.wordpress.com/.

DIRECTIONS/PARKING: http://www.realtheatre.org/directions.html.

NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh (http://www.artsaccessinc.org/) will audio describe the 8 p.m. March 23rd performance.


The Play: http://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=3203 (Dramatists Play Service, Inc.) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frozen_(play) (Wikipedia).

The Playwright: http://unitedagents.co.uk/bryony-lavery (United Agents) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryony_Lavery (Wikipedia).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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To read all of Robert W. McDowell’s Triangle Theater Review previews and reviews online at Triangle Arts & Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/robert-w-mcdowell/.

By Robert W. McDowell

Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer, editor, and critic. He has written theater, film, book, and music previews and reviews for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, and Classical Voice of North Carolina, all based in Raleigh. In 1980-91, he covered business, industry, government, and education for (We the People of) North Carolina magazine, published monthly by N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry. In April 2001, McDowell started Robert's Reviews, a FREE weekly e-mail newsletter that provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the performing arts in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. Triangle Review is the latest-and-greatest version of McDowell's original newsletter. (To start your FREE subscription, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) From December 1980 until September 2017, McDowell served on the board of directors of The Cinema, Inc., a Raleigh-based nonprofit film society formed in 1966. He currently publishes a weekly list of FREE advance screenings of movies in the Triangle area. (To have your e-mail address added to this FREE list, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.) McDowell also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano's Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page sports celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).