The infinite possibilities of space and time became the inspiration behind Nina Berry’s first full-length production, The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes, which premieres at Live Theatre in Newcastle from Thursday 8th until Saturday 17th December.
Nina has been working on her new production since last Christmas, after being commissioned to write the piece by Live’s Artistic Director Max Roberts. “It was really good, because there weren’t many restrictions placed on me, he basically said I could write anything I wanted.”
Christmas is therefore a central theme in the play, the title evoking the spirit of the season. The tale tells of Rosie and Charlie, whose story journeys from youth to old age, from Trafalgar Square to Chillingham Road. “I wanted to encapsulate the emotions at that time of year. So the play is heartwarming and uplifting but sad as well. It’s also about growing up and it’s about fate most of all; hopelessness, adolescence, anxiety, feeling trapped and a feeling of deja vu.”
The play focuses on the idea of multiple possible situations existing to affect two people’s lives, connecting to the science of every snowflake being unique. “I researched a lot about Multiverse Theory when in the process of writing the play; the theory in science that there are many millions of multiple universes, where events happen differently, so one person’s decision can have a million different outcomes.”
it’s about fate most of all; hopelessness, adolescence, anxiety, feeling trapped and a feeling of deja vu
The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes also deals with themes of growing up and coming of age, following the journey of Rosie, played by Newcastle actress Heather Carroll, and Charlie, played by Gateshead-based Dean Bone. “I think as children we’re encouraged to follow our dreams and told that we can do anything we want to, but growing up we’re faced with limitations and the realisation that we can’t accomplish anything we want, and that the world is more complicated and difficult than that.”
Nina is a Live Lab associate artist and alumni of the theatre’s playwriting course, already receiving high praise for her work from the likes of the British Theatre Guide thanks to her incisive and distinctive style. She’s produced a series of commissions for Live Lab, and last year was involved in the collaborative production Rendezvous, which celebrated the life of former writer-in-residence Julia Darling, which she found set her in good stead for the task ahead. “Lots of writers were commissioned to write plays on different aspects of Julia Darling’s life, and that was a great experience; but I think in some ways it was easier to write a longer play. I had a lot of ideas, and there were more possibilities to explore different themes with a feature-length piece, you can play around with it a bit more because you’re not so constricted for time.”
Exploring complex themes amidst a wintry wonderland with a hint of magical beauty, The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes looks set to be a deeply human production, and the perfect alternative Christmas tale.