The play now comes back to its literal and metaphorical home turf -- Canada -- where it is now appearing as part of the Factory Theatre's Next Stage Festival. But if you want to see it, you'd better hurry -- the last performance will be just a few days from now, on Sunday, January 16th.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
To the annals of dramas inspired by the plight of Sir John Franklin's men in the last stages of their fatal Arctic expedition -- a noble list that begins with Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens's "The Frozen Deep" of 1857 -- one can now add another play: Canadian playwright David Egan's "Tom's a Cold." The play, which takes its title from the storm scene in King Lear, embodies the psychological drama of two men in a boat -- a boat which any follower of Arctic history will recognize as that found by Sir Leopold McClintock with two skeletons aboard -- in their final extremities of cold and despair. It might seem a grim subject -- but here in the twenty-first century, with Samuel Beckett known to us, it gives the word "endgame" a curious new twist. The play opened in London this summer, where the reviewer for TimeOut London, while he thought the play a bit overlong, praised the last portion of the performance, declaring that "Egan conjures a devastating end stretch, poetic and stomach churning."