Launched in 2008, the Armchair Adventurer Series chronicles true, historical events with the energy and emotion of a personal narrative. From the deadly, frozen landscape of Antarctica to the merciless abyss of the sea, Armchair Adventurer journeys through the most heart-wrenching survival tales of all time. These are epic stories of great adventure, perseverance, and courage, created and told by Lawrence Howard.
Storyteller Lawrence Howard
The Fremont in Portland, Oregon
January 20, 21, 27, 28
Cascades Theatre in Bend, Oregon
Nansen of the North
Before Amundsen, before Scott, before Shackleton, there was Fridtjof Nansen, the great Norwegian, the Father of polar travel, the one who showed them all how it could be done. Adventurer. Scientist. Explorer. Humanitaran. Nansen, who made the first ever crossing of Greenland on ski. Nansen, who locked his ship in the Arctic ice and tried to drift over the Pole. Nansen, who famously said that it is better to go skiing and think about God than it is to go to church and think about skiing. Join us in January, 2017, for a brand new installment in the Armchair Adventurer series: Nansen of the North.
Shackleton, The Untold Story
Read a review by Bob Hicks of Oregon ArtsWatch
Read a preview by David Jasper of the Bend Bulletin
Thanks to Solo Speak, this April, Lawrence Howard returned to the Cascades Theatrical Company in Bend, Oregon to tell a new story about Ernest Shackleton and the 1914 Trans-Antarctic Expedition. This show premiered at Fertile Ground, Portland’s City-Wide Theater Festival. Going back to the roots of the Armchair Adventurer series, for the first time ever Howard will tell the harrowing story of the Ross Sea Party — those valiant men on the other side of the continent who gave everything they had to lay down the caches of food and fuel along the route — caches that, as it turned out, Shackleton never used. This is a story that speaks to something very deep within the human psyche. It’s a story of the indomitable power of the human spirit.
Shackleton’s Antarctic Nightmare | The 1914 Voyage of the Endurance
Shackleton’s Antarctic Nightmare is the gripping, heart-breaking, true story of British explorer, Ernest Shackleton, and the Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914. Shackleton’s dream of being the first to cross the Antarctic continent on foot became a nightmare when his valiant ship, The Endurance, was crushed in the pack-ice of the Weddell Sea. The story of how he and the twenty-seven men of the expedition survived on the ice and eventually came to safety is an epic tale of hardship and suffering, of courage, determination and fortitude.
Polar Opposites | Amundson, Scott, and the Race for the Pole
Polar Opposites recounts heroic and tragic events in Antarctica one hundred years ago. Scott and his four companions fought their way to the Pole only to find the Norwegian flag flying there: Amundsen had beaten him by five weeks. Crushed by disappointment, utterly exhausted and short on food and fuel, Scott and his companions froze and starved to death on the return journey, just eleven miles from a huge cache of provisions and supplies. This a tale of the agony and the ecstasy, of accomplishment and failure, of a glorious victory overshadowed by an even more glorious defeat.
Mawson’s Mettle | Alone on the Wide Shores of the World
Mawson’s Mettle is another true, epic tale of Antarctic adventure written and told by Lawrence Howard. Part of Portland’s annual Fertile Ground Festival, this world-premiere is about Douglas Mawson, a veteran of one of Shackleton’s earlier voyages, who led an Australian expedition to the frozen continent in 1911.
The Essex | Survival at Sea
The Essex is the true story of a Nantucket whaling ship that was rammed and sunk by a sperm whale in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in 1820, leaving 20 men in three small boats with very little food or water. Reaching the coast of South America 93 days later, only eight sailors survived the ordeal of thirst, starvation and despair. This is the true story that became the inspiration for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Meticulously researched and historically accurate, The Essex is the fifth installment in Portland Story Theater’s acclaimed Armchair Adventurer series, created and performed by Lawrence Howard and directed by Lynne Duddy.
John “Babbacombe” Lee | The Man They Could Not Hang
John “Babbacombe” Lee is a departure from Artartica. The time is November, 1884 in the sleepy village of Babbacombe, on the Devonshire coast of England. An elderly spinster is brutally murdered and her body set on fire. Suspicion falls upon her manservant, John Lee. A three-ring circus of a trial ensues. Lee is convicted on circumstantial evidence and sentenced to be hanged, but on the day of the execution the trap doors of the gallows fail to open not once, not twice, but three times. Was it mechanical failure or divine intervention? Was Lee really innocent, as he claimed? And if he didn’t do it, who did??