Theatre New Brunswick’s production of The Snow Queen is a celebration of optimism and a reminder of all that is good in the world.
As Theatre New Brunswick prepares to stage its epic holiday adventure production of the Hans Christian Andersen tale, The Snow Queen, we sat down with TNB Artistic Director Thomas Morgan Jones to discuss the story and learn how this show reflects the company’s season theme, ‘How Can We Change?’.
Jones, who is now in his second season with TNB, adapted the story for the stage and will direct the production.
“The reason I chose The Snow Queen is because it’s one of the few examples I’ve found from this particular period where a young female heroin goes on a quest to save a boy in distress,” said Jones. “I’m also hugely fascinated by fantasy stories and epic quest stories and things of that nature.”
“I also like the idea of putting a big challenge to a talented company of people to create a very large ensemble piece with only five people playing all the roles. That’s much like the challenge I put to myself as a playwright in creating this piece and this is what came out of it.”
Although he has only been with the company for a short period of time, Jones has proven to be a strong advocate for the lasting impact theatre can have on our lives and strongly believes in the important role the live theatre experience can play in shaping how we see the world around us.
“It’s a really interesting time to be creating theatre,” he said. “There’s a lot of beauty in the world. It’s definitely out there, but in the news there’s a lot of turmoil. Our news feeds on Facebook, Twitter and television are filled with a lot of despair. I’m struck by the all the protests that are happening in the world, by what’s happening in Aleppo and all the injustices that we’re reading about daily and then you turn on the television and see that a lot of popular media right now is desperate, apocalyptic and violent.”
The Snow Queen is the third play in the company’s 2016-2017 season which began with A Sunday Affair in October followed by Ghost Light last month. Both of these productions carried a strong theme of hope and joy and The Snow Queen is no exception. As Jones sees it, the positivity behind these stories is very much a political act.
“I believe that pieces of theatre that are now about hope and wonder, joy, positivity and optimism are now Political Theatre,” he said. “They tells us that good things are also possible in a world full of all these other things.”
“I really enjoy working on very difficult plays and very political plays but I feel more and more a responsibility to create optimism. It’s part of how we’re going to change the world. Pessimism breeds itself and on itself like a virus and I think optimism is the only thing that can really cut through that. I think that’s what we’re after with this production. That’s part of why I chose this story.”