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Two Words for Snow

Two Words for Snow
Your Price: $15.95 CDN
Author: Richard Sanger
Publisher: Playwrights Canada Press
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 72
Pub. Date: 1999
ISBN-10: 1551735784
ISBN-13: 9781551735788

About the Play:

Two Words for Snow was a finalist for a 2005 Governor General's Award.

Two Words for Snow is a full-length historical drama by Richard Sanger. Set in 1935, with flashbacks to 1909 and 1910: a haunting exploration of regret, lost love, passion and betrayal – set against the infamous Peary Expedition to the North Pole.

Two Words for Snow is the story of a man who, forced to choose between two worlds, betrays a woman, and her tribe, for a leader who then betrays him. In 1897, the polar explorer Robert Peary brought six Inuit back to New York, put them on living display, and then left them at the American Museum of Natural History. Four swiftly died; they are the ghosts that haunt the play. Years later, in 1935, the museum's "Eskimo Room" is undergoing renovations, and Perry's former assistant Matthew Henson, who has resigned himself to the shadows of history, spends his afternoons there brooding over his past. Perry is dead, but his son – Robert Peary Jr., young, white and brashturns up unexpectedly to protect the good name of his father, Robert Edwin Peary, who in 1909 laid claim to the title of the first man to reach the North Pole. Henson, the black man who risked his life accompanying Peary on that journey, is old and full of regret. He is forced to reveal the true, unvarnished story of the North Pole Expedition. As he does, we learn how Henson's conflicting desires (including his love for the young Inuit Akatingwah) lead to final, double betrayal.

Two Words for Snow premiered in Calgary at Alberta Theatre Projects' 1999 playRites Festival. It was later produced in Toronto and was nominated for 6 Dora nominations, 3 wins, and shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award in Drama.

Cast: 1 woman, 6 men

What people say:

"Two Words for Snow takes that single, imagined encounter and explodes it into a world - two or three worlds, really - of lies, death, betrayal and guilt. What emerges from that explosion is a smart, powerful and deeply moving examination of colonialism at home and abroad, and the damage it does to colonized and colonizer alike." — The Globe and Mail

"A thrilling production … Two Words for Snow is the first must-see show of the year … The one word for this show is extraordinary." — Eye Weekly

"Powerful and moving writing… A pure concentrate of emotion… Sanger's spare, unsentimental script makes us question and change our ways of looking at things." — Scene Magazine

"...scenes of confrontation past and present that come to life with true power… Sanger offers us a mystery that, at its best, is as absorbing as any thriller…." — The Calgary Herald

"An eloquent, moving piece of theatre… Filled with a deep, quiet sorrow for the foolishness and tragedy of things long past." — Toronto Sun

"Deeply affecting... hugely effective, a tale of friendship, love, betrayal, and so much more…." — Toronto Sun

About the Playwright:

Richard Sanger is a Canadian playwright and poet whose plays, Not Spain and Two Words for Snow among them, have been honoured with multiple nominations for the Governor General's Award (Canadian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize) and the Chalmer's Prize. He was born in Manchester, England, to a Canadian mother and an English father, both journalists. He grew up in Ottawa, lived 10 years in Europe, and has been based in Toronto since 1987. His poems have appeared in many publications in Canada, Britain and the U.S. He has also taught at the University of Toronto, and been Writer-in-Residence at the University of New Brunswick and at the University of Calgary.

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