Based upon a 10th century manuscript written in Old Norse by the Icelandic historian Snorri Sturlsson and a collection of songs and poems about the gods and goddesses from the Viking Age.It was brought to life by Ian as a comic rhyming Mummer`s play for open air performance in 2000.Ian had been involved in Viking re-enactment with the Birmingham Vikings and later as combatinstructor with Mercia Sveiter ( ie Mercia Warriors), putting on authentic combat displays around the country for groups like the National Trust.Ian taught re-enactors how to use longbows, swords and spears.The play was written following a bet with Ian`s brother.Ian had tired of writing and had been concentrating on his legal career (when not running around fields in chainmail!).The bet was this: if Ian could write a poem for his brother on anything he wanted, then Ian`s brother would model the head of Ian`s first-born daughter out of clay.The poem turned into a play, won an award at the Belfry Theatre in Telford and went on a national tour featuring actors and actresses from the Bird of Prey Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and the drama students from Kidderminster College.In Bristol, the cast performed in front of the television stars from the 1980`s cult TV series Robin of Sherwood at the Hilton Hotel for an international reunion called Silver Arrow 2000.
Reviews of Fenris by the Birmingham Repertorical Theatre`s Reading Service:
(1) I enjoyed reading this piece and think it has lots of potential for outdoor performance, suitable, like the best Mummer`s plays, for performance at short notice just about anywhere.
(2) I thought this was a very workable, entertaining play for children.The story is quite strong enough to bear the weight of the rhyme; there is proper characterisation of the various bodies (I particularly like the way Freya has a different rhyme scheme from the others); the visual and dramatic elements of the chains, dwarfs etc are presented imaginatively and there is a working, if simple, structure.There is gory action, plenty of opportunity for imaginiative staging and some good strong moral points to prompt discussion.
Performances of Fenris the Wolf included a tour of Kidderminster schools, the Dark Ages Trust in Canwell, Lichfield International Arts Festival, Kidderminster College, Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare`s Millenium Birthday Celebrations), Bristol Silver Arrow 2000, Whittingham Castle ( Shropshire), Belfry Theatre, Telford and Sxcarborough Castle ((Yorkshire).
EXTRACT FROM FENRIS THE WOLF
- Enter Fatandugly (A Dwarf):
- Darkness gone, now the morning of quietude!
- Meditate on what was, in solitude.
- I see the flowers open to the day,
- Now chaos and death have gone away.
- Before I go, know this the tapestry binds us together,
- Asgard`s dragons or swallows` bright feathers;
- Thor`s hammer, trembling butterfly wing,
- Gentle rain or rampaging Viking!
- Love and beauty, stronger than any metal,
- Like a butterfly slipping into an oasis of petals.
- Have faith in intuition, its all you need,
- Previous knowledge is like grey seaweed
- Hurled and battered on the rocks:
- Look at your life and the door unlocks.