Tribes originally offered protection from the elements and now afford a supportive space that allows us to be ourselves. An Unseasonable Fall of Snow considers the precarious nature of the individual lacking such a sanctuary.
An uncertain, obstinate Liam (David Passmore) finds himself in an office, faced by a world-weary Arthur (Wayne Pearn) leafing through a file. Arthur’s questioning quickly determines that Liam is a young man desperately wanting to find a tribe. Spurned by house and workmates, Liam went out to find his own fun in a city nightclub, leading to a drunken, eventful night when an inconceivable spring snow fell on Auckland. Arthur wants to know why the night unravelled as it did, and isn’t prepared to let Liam give easy answers.
It is more than a relief that An Unseasonable Fall of Snow is no standard US TV crime show. What initially seems to be a whodunnit becomes a much less conventional affair as the full effect of Liam’s actions emerge, and we discern Arthur’s interest in proceedings.
Passmore gives a convincing performance, his actions and voice tuned to convey a man-child lacking the resources to manage his frustrations. Pearn’s macho posturing, detached callousness, rage and final tenderness are vital to the impact of playwright Gary Henderson’s language, and his progression is a testament to Michael Finney’s deliberate and effective direction. The director’s notes in the programme write of the dynamic between the two characters “… their power struggle changing from page to page, tipping the balance one way, then the other”. I didn’t see this shifting of dominance, but that didn’t diminish this performance, it only makes me want to read the script for myself.
Us guys are often much like our primitive forebears – we still relate our value to success in the hunt; only the prey has changed, and we can become isolated in the chase. This play is a striking consideration of disconnection and personal responsibility that shines a light on the totems of modern masculinity. Take your clan to hear the moments of quiet and feel the snowballing weight of Hoy Polloy’s production.