Similar remarks could be made about the conquest of Everest and K2.
The best factual plays in my category "Ice" are those set during the heroic age of polar and mountain exploration. There are many possible treatments open to a playwright: dramatised journals, dramatised reconstructions, poetic, stylised versions, and so on. I am always surprised when I hear that another group of ordinary people (if they can be so described ) have reached one of the Poles, armed with mobile telphones and modern, lightweight equipment. But even with all our high-tech aids, these journeys cannot be undertaken lightly. Break your arm at a critical point - say when you're cut off by bad weather - and you may not get back.
There are also fictional and semi-fictional plays in this category - including sci-fi. James Follett's play "Ice" takes some beating; it's a cracking tale. Similarly Max Williams' play of the same title - though this one isn't even remotely related to polar or mountain exploration...
Here are the plays I've located under the collective title "Ice":
2008 The worst journey in the world, by A.Cherry-Garrard, dram. (remake)
2001 The Polar Wife, by Pat Hannah
2001 Habakkuk of Ice, by Steve Walker
2000 Ice Mountain, by Hattie Naylor
1999 Xmas at the South Pole
1999 The Winter Journey, by Pat Hannah
1997 Aglooka-John Rae and the lost navigators, by Tom Pow
1995 Alaska, by Susan-Jane Harrison
1994 Ice in Wonderland, by Robin Lloyd Jones
1994 CQD, by Moya O'Shea
1991 Oates after his fingers, by Steve Walker
1986 Ice, by James Follett
c1985 The Ascent of F4, by (?)W.H.Auden
1985 Winter Journey, by Ronald Frame
c1985 The worst journey in the world, by A.Cherry-Garrard,dram.
c1979 Ice, by Max Williams
1972 The Cold Country, by Susan Hill
HABAKKUK OF ICE ....2001
One of the most amazing ideas never to be put to the test during WW2 : the Habakkuk Project - building battleships out of ice.
THE POLAR WIFE....2001
R4, 9 Jan 01; described in Radio Times as a "comedy" starring Lady Franklin, John Franklin, Charles Wood, Florence Nightingale and others. It's about the lost navigators and the North-West Passage. 45m.
6 Oct 2000; a play about the climbing of K2 ... five women have climbed it, but none have survived. Beth says goodbye to her daughter as she prepares for the hardest climb of her life. The play includes interviews with climbers and their families. With Louise Beattie, Jennifer Lee Jellicorse and Gaynor Faye.
XMAS AT THE SOUTH POLE....1999
Not a drama, but a collection of broadcasting excerpts: how various Antarctic explorers have spent their Christmas Days. Bits and pieces, but interesting.
THE WINTER JOURNEY....1999
16 Mar 99; Scott's Antarctic Expedition of 1911. Part dramatisation. 45m.
JOHN RAE AND THE LOST NAVIGATORS....1997
With Paul Young. John Rae was the foremost Arctic explorer of his day (c1850) and led the search for Sir John Franklin who was lost with 129 men searching for the N-W passage. Drama set in Berstane Ho, where Rae has retired. 2.02pm, R4, 30 Jan 97.
by Susan-Jane Harrison. Against the backdrop of Alaska, boy meets girl across a bar. It might be the start of a romance, but this is a parallel universe. R4, 21 Sep 95.
You don't need a history degree to work out the plot of this one, if I tell you that the old Morse distress call wasn't SOS, it was CQD....
ICE IN WONDERLAND....1994
RT prizewinning drama script 1992; 80m; excellent, R3-style play; a wordsmith with the quality of Stoppard.
OATES AFTER HIS FINGERS ....1991
Following on from his Giles Cooper Award-winning play "The Pope's Brother", this play shows Captain Oates in the year 2065, alive and thawing out in the Antarctic. What will the old- fashioned explorer think of an England laid waste by drought and famine, where everyone speaks with an American accent?
8 Nov 86. Thousands of square miles of ice have broken off from the Southern Continent and are drifting towards New York. Can the collision be averted?
THE WORST JOURNEY IN THE WORLD....c1985
No details, unfortunately - a superb dramatisation, but I cannot find my recording...taken from Cherry-Garrard's book of the same name. Anyone else have a copy?
Note........this story was re-dramatised in 2008 as a 2-part Classic Serial.
.............Ronald Frame began in 1985 with a prize-winning play called WINTER JOURNEY, charting a senior diplomat's progress from Prague to London in the freezing cold of a European winter. (continued on Ronald Frame's page)
Excellent police-detective story by Max Williams...they cannot find the murder weapon. 90m.
THE COLD COUNTRY....1972
3 Oct 72. Four explorers are snowed up near the South Pole with no hope of getting away and no hope of rescue. The radio has stopped working, and as the days pass, they all get on each other's nerves. The resulting situation is grim - how will she resolve it? In her introduction to the printed version of the play, Susan Hill explains that ever since the news of the conquest of Everest in 1953 she has been fascinated by cold white desolate worlds.
Nigel Deacon / Diversity website
All of the above plays known to exist in VRPCC collections except the W.H.Auden (if I've got the correct author) and the Cherry-Garrard dramatisation.
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