My Love Lies Frozen in the Ice

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Jess Schnitzer

Bella Berg, Contributing Writer

The American debut of My Love Lies Frozen in the Ice (MLLFITI) premiered at Boston Latin School on February 27. The show, a 40-minute drama intended for the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild (METG) Festival, featured a small cast of upperclassmen. The METG Festival, referred to commonly as the Guild, features 112 one-act plays produced by member high schools. The competition includes three levels: preliminary, semi-final and State Finals. Of the 112 one-act shows, 14 will be selected as State Finalists, of which three will be named Guild Winners. Then two schools chosen from the 14 State Finalists will represent Massachusetts in the New England Drama Festival, a regional showcase of high school theatre. When asked to describe what it’s like to perform at Guild, Kayla Butler (I) says, “It’s honestly another world. There are dozens of cultures and demographics, clustered into one auditorium, bound only by a love for the arts. The result is beautiful chaos and lasting relationships.”
MLLFITI is based on a true story; it tells of a balloon expedition to the North Pole undertaken by three courageous Swedes, and of the woman–Mathilde–they left behind. On the expedition are Mathilde’s brother Salomon, her fiancée Nils and her replacement for the voyage, Knut. While the three men are gone, Matilde goes insane from anxiety and sorrow.
The show opens with a short song sung by the cast. The song is melancholy, and it includes the use of ukuleles and an accordion. Then Alexa Wang (I), who plays Mathilde, breaks into an emotional monologue, setting the scene and explaining the plot to the audience. Zeke Kransdorf (II), who plays Knut, says that MLLFITI is, “a really interesting play because of the way it deals with emotions. You really get invested in the characters and hope for the best but expect the worst.” This is certainly reflected in the short but sweet performance. While it is under an hour, the show still packs a lot of content, and it forces the audience to become attached to these characters.

“You really get invested in the characters and hope for the best but expect the worst”

MLLFITI is a tragedy, but it is also humorous. The scenes switch quickly from slapstick humor to more sorrowful ones, such as Mathilde having a mental breakdown. The show uses Peepolykus-style clowning (theatre that merges ridiculous clowning with anarchic verbal slapstick and physical comedy) to show just how unique the circumstances were for these four characters.
When asked about this, Brooks Gillespie (II) says, “[The show] is a unique blend of a very dark subject matter [with] very light and humorous moments sprinkled throughout. The contrast this provides makes the sad parts hit harder, and I’ve found that this show stays with me even out of rehearsal, as I take the lessons it teaches into my everyday life.” Throughout the performance the fourth wall is constantly broken; actors walk around the audience, speak to audience-members and throw props into the house for people to catch.
While the acting in MLLFITI is spectacular, the set, soundtrack, props and costumes stand out most of all. The set is identical to the original European production with ladders and parachutes. The costumes are detailed and very fitting for the time. To be even more unique, the show includes the use of water as a prop that Mathilde falls victim to near the end of the show and during the wedding scene of Mathilde and Nils, Mathilde’s dress is so large and silky that it extends the entire length of the stage.
BLS’s production of MLLFITI qualified for semifinals in the festival, but because of concerns surrounding COVID-19, the next round of the competition has been suspended. In the meantime, though, mark your calendars because auditions for the spring musical Imaginary are coming up! Due to school closure, BLS Theatre will hold video-auditions, and rehearsals will start upon arrival back at school. This play is sure to be another talented production.