Peterborough theater artist Kate Story incorporates the epic legend of Beowulf into her new play

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In her new solo play ‘Anxiety’, Peterborough-based writer and theater artist Kate Story uses the Old English epic poem ‘Beowulf’ as a starting point to examine the history of the English language and the roots of the white supremacy, while seeking to understand its place in a seemingly insane modern world. (Photo: Andy Carroll)

Newly named finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Awards for her novel for young adults Sea urchinPeterborough writer and theater artist Kate Story will premiere her new play Anxiety at the Theater on King (171 King St., Peterborough) for seven performances from Thursday 24 November.

In her solo piece, Story skillfully weaves the medieval Anglo-Saxon epic poem “Beowulf” into a humorous, poignant and honest exploration of her own history as the daughter of a famous Newfoundland lexicographer. She uses the poem as a starting point to examine the history of the English language and the roots of white supremacy, while seeking to understand her place in a seemingly insane modern world.

“Anxiety does not cause more anxiety – rather, it aims to release the pent-up anxiety that so many of us feel in these anxious times,” reads a press release from Public Energy Performing Arts, which features the room. .

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For those unfamiliar with “Beowulf”, the Old English poem – which is over 3,000 lines long – was composed by an unknown author between the 8th and 10th centuries in the tradition of Germanic heroic legend. Set in 6th-century pagan Scandinavia, the poem tells the story of the warrior prince Beowulf of the North Germanic tribe of the Geats, who comes to the aid of Hrothgar, king of the Danes, and slays the man-eating monster Grendel. After Grendel’s mother resumes attacks to avenge her son’s murder, Beowulf defeats her as well and then returns home to become King of the Geats. Fifty years later, Beowulf battles a fire-breathing dragon but dies from wounds he sustained during the battle.

“In Story’s play, we see how relevant the Beowulf saga – a combination of fairy tale and superhero story – can be for today’s audiences,” the statement read. release from Public Energy. “We learn how the Norman invaders left a bigger mark on the English language than the Anglo-Saxons, and we also learn that exploring the Norse and Celtic themes reflected in Beowulf takes you a click away from websites of supremacy white where these ancient cultures are twisted into inspiration, warriors turned into role models.

Between humor, music and physical theatre, Story plays all the roles in Anxietyincluding his own mother and father, young and old Beowulf, Grendel the monster and Grendel’s mother the dragon, and even JRR Tolkien – the Lord of the Rings author who wrote a seminal 1936 essay on “Beowulf as well as a modern English translation which was not published until 40 years after his death.

“Anxiety” is also an exploration of Kate Story’s experiences as the daughter of famed Newfoundland lexicographer George Story, co-author of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English. (Photo: Andy Carroll)

Like his novel Sea urchintells the story Anxiety “delights in the words and linguistic rhythms of Newfoundland,” where she was born and raised and where her father George co-authored the Dictionary of Newfoundland English (DNE).

“The DNE became a key work for many prominent Newfoundland writers, as well as The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx,” says Story. “The DNE is wonderful work, and being surrounded by this work – and growing up in Newfoundland where people still sometimes use very old English words and forms – has profoundly influenced my relationship with the English language.

“And then when I started to investigate Beowulf and, developing anxiety, it went further… hence my relationship with my father also crept into theater work.”

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Artist and writer Victoria Ward calls Story’s play “a powerful, action-packed reworking of Beowulf that combines personal revelation with a speed of storytelling and insight rarely found on stage these days”.

Directed by Ryan Kerr with music composed and adapted by Karol Orzechowski (aka garbageface), Anxiety will be played at 8 p.m. from November 24-26 and again from December 1-3. There will also be a “Casual Performance” at 2 p.m. on November 27 – suitable for autistic audience members or those with sensory, communication, or learning challenges.

Tickets, which are sold on a sliding scale from $5 to $25, are available at eventbrite.ca/e/anxiety-tickets-428049526657. For more information on Anxietyvisit publicenergy.ca/performance/anxiety/.

Kate Story performs all roles in
Kate Story plays all the roles in ‘Anxiety,’ including her own mother and father, young and old Beowulf, Grendel the monster and Grendel’s mother the dragon, and even JRR Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings who wrote a landmark novel in 1936. essay on Beowulf. (Photo: Andy Carroll)

kawarthaNOW is proud to be a long-time media sponsor of Public Energy Performing Arts.


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