The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Theatre Three’s ‘Frozen’ heats up

Theater Three’s newest production, “Frozen,” will make you think. Running through Nov. 5, the basement show tackles the touchy issue of humanizing child abductors and allowing victims’ families to forgive.

Set in London, “Frozen” consists of three characters: Nancy, the mother of the abducted child, Ralph, the child’s abductor and Agnetha, the American doctor who studies Ralph for her thesis, “Serial Killing: A Forgivable Act?”

Spanning over 20 years, the play cuts in and out of each person’s life. Scenes are typically dominated by one character’s monologue. As the characters deal with their own issues, the abduction forces the three to cross paths.

Playwright Bryony Lavery juxtaposes the psychoanalysis of Ralph’s emotional and moral stability with the emotional well-being of Nancy as she grieves for her daughter.

The results from Agnetha’s studies are based off the work of Dorothy Lewis, a psychiatrist, who has documented the neurological differences between normal human beings and serial killers. Killers who were abused as children have undeveloped brain structures that hinder their ability to connect with other humans.

Ralph’s circumstances are meant to thaw the negative predispositions audiences may have toward child abductors. Lavery really brings home the message of forgiveness through Nancy’s storyline.

Whoever plays Nancy, then, has the tough job of executing Lavery’s intentions. Elizabeth Grace Rothan nails it.

She plays the character as a regular Jane, someone audience members can identify with. The emotions Nancy goes through ring true, and her need to forgive is heartbreaking. Rothan’s portrayal is so casual and natural that you may overlook the brilliance of her performance.

Jennifer Pasion also has a difficult task to accomplish in her role. Lavery jumbles Agnetha’s personal storyline, and it’s not until the end that everything is revealed. Pasion’s pain is felt in each of her scenes as she navigates through this design.

Steven Pounders brims with charisma as Ralph. He has the charms of a young boy even when he’s saying the nastiest lines. Ralph is a sick man, but you almost just want to hold him.

Lavery does not seem to know what to do with Ralph after the forgiveness ritual. The ending she gives him appears to come from a victim’s families’ ideal world.

Although she succeeds in carrying out her goal for the play, Lavery inadvertently raises more questions. There are so many issues that stem from the information she presents. The message in “Frozen” is just the tip of the iceberg.

What should be done with Ralph or other killers whose crimes stem from symptoms rather than being cold-blooded, deliberate sins? If Ralph’s actions are influenced by his childhood environment, should the government be implementing legislation that would prevent such an outcome?

Minor technical quibbles detract Theater Three’s “Frozen.” The sound effects sometimes sound cheesy and distract from the performances. Passages of time are shown through visual effects but, peculiarly, not through costuming.

“Frozen” is a tough show that is supposed to instigate discussion, perhaps even self-reflection. The production at Theater Three will compel you to do that.

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