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Crossing the Quince

6 February 2020

I wrote the first draft of Crossing the Quince a while back—quite a while back.

Inspired by true events, it’s a theatre script for a female actor and a male tap dancer.

What is bravery, what is betrayal in a time of terror? Winter 1942, the city of Leningrad is under siege, surrounded by Nazi forces. At the Institute of Plant Industry, as food supplies dwindle, Vera, a botanist, struggles with the consequences of the pact made by herself and her colleagues at the beginning of the blockade: to protect the collection—some of the world’s most precious plant genetic resources.

I wrote new drafts of Crossing the Quince. It was short-listed for a play award. It was selected for a program of poetic monologues that fell through when the organisation changed directors. There were meetings and discussions. Possibilities were floated … only to capsize.

I’d pretty much consigned Crossing the Quince to the ‘too hard’ basket when actor Inga Romantsova reignited the project last year. (Serendipitously 2019 was the 75th anniversary of the lifting of the Siege of Leningrad.) Director Sally Sussman came on board and in December we had a short workshop which explored, amongst other things, integrating archival film into the performance and translating some of the text into Russian to make Crossing the Quince a truly bilingual experience. Actor and dancer Richard Lovegrove and film-maker Caelan Wieczorski joined the team.

Inga Romantsova in the Crossing the Quince workshop, December 2019

Where to from here? Resources for the indie arts sector are scarce—but Sydney University’s Department of Theatre and Performance Studies have offered space for a mid-year creative development, so let’s see …

From → Monologues, Plays

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