Norfolk, VA, will get a blast of winter cold when Ted Tally's drama, Terra Nova, opens there Jan. 24. An account of the 1910-12 race to the South Pole between Roald Amundsen's Norwegian explorers and Captain Robert Falcon Scott's British sailors and civilians, the play traces Scott's disastrous trek -- he steadfastly refused to use dogs, only men -- through the Antarctic. The story incorporates actual entries from Scott's diary.
VSC artistic director Charlie Hensley, who directs Terra Nova, wrote that the play struck him because, "for much of my life, patriotism and personal honor in America have been eyed with suspicion and even mockery by many of my contemporaries... [The play] celebrates the daring exploits of Navy men who risk everything to further scientific knowledge and achievement in the name of God and country.
Terra Nova was first staged at Yale Repertory in 1977, when Tally was still a student at the School of Drama. Other Tally works include Hooters, Coming Attractions, Silver Linings, and the screenplay for the Jonathan Demme film, The Silence Of The Lambs.
Appearing in Terra Nova are six members of VSC's newly formed core company: David McCann (Scott), Kaleo Griffith (Amundsen), Corinna May, Kevin Waldron, Ken Bolden, and Andrew Heffernan, along with Joshua Finkel (as Bowers). Chris Pickart designed the wintry set for Terra Nova. He's best known for his set for Off-Broadway's long-running Perfect Crime. Kenton Yeager designed the lighting, Patricia Darden the costumes, Joe Payne the sound.
For tickets ($17-$32) and information on Terra Nova, which plays at VSC's Wells Theatre in Norfolk Jan. 19-Feb. 9, call (757) 627-1234.
--By David Lefkowitz