The Warmth of the Cold - September 28 - September 30, 2018

Nashua Theatre Guild



In THE WARMTH OF THE COLD, NH playwright Lowell Williams challenges himself by telling not one story, but many.  

The stories Williams chooses chronicle loss, anger, insanity, abuse, despair, love, and hope; a daunting task which results in his finding not one heart within his play, but several, all of them alive and vibrant.  

Williams deftly weaves these disparate tales into one powerful narrative that is elegant in its simplicity, yet captivating and provocative. WARMTH contains a story that those who populate old mill towns are familiar with, yet the story's stark reality still strikes close to the bone, and Williams doesn't shy away from it.

WARMTH's initial premise is straightforward; Carol and her children Robby and Samantha live a hardscrabble existence in Berlin, NH. It's winter in the 1990's, and the mill that was the lifeblood of the town has long since closed; Berlin has fallen on hard times. Here the story takes a dark turn. Carol and her children are haunted, literally, by the specter of Hal, their husband and father, 7 years dead in a truck accident, whose ghost appears at particularly keen moments in his family's life as a supernatural underscore to the conflicts with which they grapple.

Carol seeks refuge in a fantasy life that includes talking to her dead husband though the static on the radio. Son Robby yearns to break free of his life of dreary sameness and a future without promise, but is stymied by his inability to move beyond the influence of his sick mother and the misogynistic lessons of his dead father. Daughter Samantha pins her hopes on a scholarship to launch her into a trajectory that will carry her far away from Berlin, a dead-end boyfriend, and her damaged family. Samantha is the linchpin on which this play turns. Her grades have gotten her noticed by an acclaimed college, and all of the events in her young life have come down to a few moments when she most especially needs everything to work; an interview that will take her where she so desperately wants to go.

She's fully aware of the demons that hammer at her door; her mother's mental incapacity, her brother's increasingly physical attempts at a less-than-brotherly relationship, and the prospect of a working-class-Wal-Mart existence in a town almost as dead as dear old Dad. Yet she struggles to keep these demons at bay, literally and figuratively, battling for a semblance of normalcy at home, in school, and in the community with the grim resolve of one who knows too well what happens when one gives up.

The ending of WARMTH is left to the audience's imagination, which is the smartest thing Williams could have done with this story. While there are resolutions within the structure of the story, WARMTH is an open-ended chronicle. The characters in this narrative are left having coped with the realities of the past, to a certain measure, as well as having to grapple with the fresh realities of the present and the future. In all, WARMTH, as crafted by Williams, and translated by its cast, delivers on its promise to tell us the compelling story of the winter of one family's discontent, and of how hope warms us, even in the coldest of circumstances.

THE WARMTH OF THE COLD ran at the Players Ring in Portsmouth NH from December 29, 2006 to January 14, 2007, as was the recipient of the 2006 New Hampshire Theatre Award for Best Original Play. -Written by Michael Curtis "Caught in the Act"

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