The final play for the spring semester put on by the Department of Theatre and Dance is “Frozen.” This certainly is not a take on the Disney film, but a rather intense play about forgiving and moving on.
Taran Haynes, senior theatre major, is directing Bryony Lavery’s “Frozen” as part of his senior thesis project. This is the second play to be directed this semester by a theatre student, the first being “Betrayal,” by Paitton Reid.
“Frozen” is the story of the intersection of the three main characters’ (Nancy, Agnetha and Ralph) lives. Nancy’s 10-year-old daughter is murdered by Ralph. While Ralph is serving his sentence in prison, Agnetha, an American psychiatrist who is studying how to deal with something as gruesome and traumatic as a child being murdered, visits Ralph to study and question him further. The story follows the theme of what it means to forgive, the process of healing and how to move on — or to stop being frozen — from a situation that can haunt someone for decades.
Devan Hawkins, senior social work major, plays the grieving mother Nancy. Hawkins talked about the recurring concept of forgiveness in the play and how the characters are making decisions as people do in real life.
“Nancy is like any other person. I always consider her very normal, she’s a mom with marital problems, just like the millions of other moms with marital problems. The reality of the situation is that this could happen to anybody and that’s what I think makes it that much more impactful because we never ask for tragedy in our lives, but how we choose to react to it is what defines us as people,” Hawkins said.
In the play, Agnetha, portrayed by Angela Colavecchio, is trying to figure out if their aberrations are caused by deformation to the physical brain, and what makes serial killers do the things they do. The events and topics that occur in the play — violence and criminal psychology — happen in real life, which made Haynes curious and led him to more study. Eventually, Haynes prosed the question for his research, “how can a production like this go on to move the needle in terms of stopping or preventing real serial killers in the future from committing these types of crimes?”
Haynes chose “Frozen” after scoping out the resources available to him and eventually it “made the most sense” to choose it. He also mentioned how he enjoyed the “human” aspect of the play, giving the example that episodes of “CSI” or “Criminal Minds” play to the viewers’ fascination of serial killers while “Frozen” takes the route of viewing Ralph as a person with big issues who does some of the most unimaginable things.
“[Ralph] does not do it by some alien force, he is not a mustache-twisting villain, he’s a person. [‘Frozen’] explores the character as a human and not only that, but the science around human qualities,” Haynes said.
The theater thesis project consists of a research project and then the directing of the show itself. This is Haynes’ first full-length production as director.
Theater professor, Brian Cook, is the actor rather than the director for this show. He plays the murderer Ralph, but also is serving as the prop and sound designer for the show. He is overseeing the two thesis projects Haynes and Reid have been working on all semester.
“I told both [Haynes and Reid], ‘I’m really proud of you because what I saw were two directors who really knew what they were doing and had everything under control.’ Walking in as a student, directing this giant show with tech and everything, with all the student actors who are their peers and friends, it’s a challenge. But they’ve been doing a really good job,” Cook said. “I’ve been impressed.”
Haynes is looking forward to sharing his production with the university and public.
“I’m wildly proud of the work of everyone involved in this production has done,” Haynes said. “It has not been easy. Since a lot of us are students figuring things out and it’s been complicated with sorting unexpected events that happen, but has made this production an incredible learning opportunity.”
“Frozen” is open for three nights only, April 26, 27 and 28. Friday and Saturday’s showings are at 8 p.m. and Sunday’s showing is at 5 p.m. in the Fine Arts Building’s Harper Studio Theater. Tickets can be purchased at ArtsUAA.com at $4.99 for students and $9.99 for the general public.