Thursday, February 3rd 2022, 7pm at SBW Stables Kingscross
Part dramatic monologue, part TED Talk, Noëlle Janaczewska’s THE END OF WINTER is a moving personal story of one woman’s awareness of loss on multiple levels as she contemplates the future of her favourite season. This 55-minute work is highly engaging, educational, as well as entertaining. It includes historical and scientific facts, personal memories, and more recent observations.
The premise of THE END WINTER centers on Jane Phegan, a middle aged AngloSaxon woman who came to Australia as a child from England. She has a long-held ‘Cold appreciation’, meaning she prefers cold weather, cold climates and cold seasons. She shares her observations about the gradual loss of her favorite seasons and environments, as well as her personal loss of her mother back home in England. She also recounts her musings from the summer of 2019/2020, when large parts of Australia were burning in a horrendously hot season. Janaczewska uses historical details to make sure this work isn’t just about climate change. The work explains that while a lot of culture, both historical and contemporary, views cold negatively and is not desirable, the reminder that the world must have enough cold components helps remind the audience. She draws from the popular knowledge of Robert Falcon Scott and RoaldAmundsen, who beat Scott by 34 days to 90oSouth while proving that the quest for the south Pole was not just a Northern European or Australian race.
Kate Gaul directs this work. It features a plywood-model of a gabled house “sinking” into the high gloss flooring that reflects light like water. (Production design: Soham Apte). Phegan connects with the audience while also telling the story to an unseen listener at the rear wall. This is away from the corner audience. The house’s model draws parallels to the family’s loss and the loss icebergs. Becky Russell’s stark white light invokes images of ice flows. Papers are scattered across the floor, and the backdrop of black fabric echoes polar ice shelves that loom above the bays. Phegan interacts with the set by climbing over the roofs, and sitting on the tilted house.No matter how familiar you are with cold climates and the connections humans have made with them, THE END of Winter provides enough information to help you understand the impact of modern human interactions on changing environments. The audience responded with shock and surprise to Janaczewska’s revelations about how eco-tourism and expeditions are causing isolated and remote areas to become mainstreamed and damaged.THE END of Winter is a refreshing approach to climate crisis awareness. It gives you a more personal connection with the cause. If you have a fascination with ice or cold, this reviewer is interested in the stories of polar exploration. This is a wonderful way for you to engage with the cause. This helps those who believed that winter and cold were evil, as ancient stories and weather broadcasters have said. It also helps them understand why cold needs to be protected, so they don’t forget the beauty and wonder that comes with it.
Photos: Clare Hawley