Gerda and Kai both identify as non-binary in new Brighton take on Snow Queen

Snow Q performer Maria Zikowska
Snow Q performer Maria Zikowska

A re-imagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s fable The Snow Queen, combining poetry, original music and visuals, is coming to Brighton and Lewes.

Snow Q is a live literature performance inspired by Andersen’s tale of friendship, love and loyalty. It will explore contemporary themes of social isolation, gender, sexuality, migration and exile.

At the centre of Snow Q are lifelong friends Gerda and Kai, two lost young people.

When winter comes, ice enters Kai’s heart and when Kai disappears, Gerda embarks on a quest to rescue her lost friend, meeting a wise, at times acerbic, Crow who tells stories in a hybrid language of English and Polish.

Writer Maria Jastrzębska has re-imagined the story with a series of poems in the voices of the Crow and Gerda and Kai, who both identify as non-binary.

Maria said: “As a child I was greatly disturbed by the idea of a piece of ice falling into your heart.

“Could someone else’s tears melt it?

“When I started writing Snow Q I knew Gerda and Kai were not going to be traditionally girl-and-boy in my version.”

“I wanted to use this story to ask what it is that keeps us disconnected from one another and everything around us.

“How do we truly communicate with each other?

“Once ice has lodged in our hearts, can it melt?

“Snow Q features originally composed music, film, sound design and poetry in English, Polish and Ponglish to show how language can transcend borders.”

On Tuesday, February 18, it plays Lewes All Saints Centre, Friars Walk, as part of the Experiments with Live Literature season.

Advance tickets £8. Doors: 7.45pm

On Saturday, February 22, it plays The Spire, Brighton as part of LGBTQ History Month.

Advance tickets £8 (includes booking fee)/£10 on the door. Doors 3.45pm.

The age recommendation for both showings is 13+, and the approximate runnning time is 60 minutes.

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