Lawrence Howard, Armchair Adventurer
PORTLAND, OR ‒ February 21, 2020 ‒ Fridtjof Nansen was an originator, an outside-the-box thinker, a Renaissance man in every sense of the word. His story is a story for our times about a man who believed that there is only one way to go in life: forward. Nansen’s story captured the imagination of Lawrence Howard, creator of the Armchair Adventurer series, who, for the first time ever, is telling an epic tale of the Arctic. A captivating performer, Howard holds audiences spellbound and has been called “the Homer of Portland” and “the master of nonfiction on the stage.” Nansen of the North is the seventh installment of Lawrence Howard’s highly successful Armchair Adventurer series. This 110-minute one-man show takes place at three different venues this season:
- Dallas Public Library at the Dallas Event Center, Dallas, Oregon on March 14th at 6 pm – Free
- Portland Story Theater’s hometown venue, Nordic Northwest’s Nordia House on April 4th at 7 pm –
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- Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area, Crooked River Ranch on April 25th at 4 pm –
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Nansen’s approach was completely unconventional. In 1893, the Norwegian explorer sailed his ship to the New Siberian Islands and deliberately allowed it to be frozen into the Arctic pack ice. Until that moment, being frozen into the pack ice was essentially a death sentence. The tremendous forces of the Arctic ice had crushed and sank dozens of ships and sent the sailors on board them to icy graves. But this ship was different. This ship was The Fram, which means “forward” in Norwegian, and it was the strongest wooden vessel ever contrived. Specially built with a rounded hull and two pointed ends, Fram was designed to pop up out of the clutches of the ice. There was no place for the ice to get hold of her, no way she could be crushed. Nansen had theorized the existence of an east-to-west current across the Arctic Ocean. His radical plan was to work with that current and allow it to carry him straight to the greatest geographical prize of his day: the North Pole.
Before Shackleton and Amundsen and Scott ever dreamed of the regions of ice and snow, Fridtjof Nansen emulated the ways of the Greenland Inuit and became the father of polar travel, the oracle, the one who showed them all how it could be done. Nansen, the twelve-time Norwegian cross-country ski champion. Nansen, a pioneer in neurobiology who described the structure of the central nervous system. Nansen, who made the first-ever crossing of Greenland on skis. Nansen, who locked his ship in the ice and set a new record for the Farthest North. Statesman. Diplomat. Humanitarian. One of the founders of the League of Nations. The League’s first High Commissioner for Refugees. Nobel Peace Prize winner. Nansen, who famously said, “It is better to go skiing and to think about God than it is to go to church and think about skiing.” Nansen of Norway. Nansen of the North.
Like all the other stories in the Armchair Adventurer series, Nansen of the North is crafted to transport audiences into the scenes of one of history’s greatest adventure. Beginning in 2008 with the highly acclaimed Shackleton’s Antarctic Nightmare, the Armchair Adventurer series has gone on to include Alone on the Wide Shores of the World, the story of Douglas Mawson’s Antarctic journey; Polar Opposites, the epic tale of Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott and their race for the Pole; as well as recounting the infamous and mysterious 1885 murder trial of John “Babbacombe” Lee, “the man who could not be hanged;” The Essex, the real-life story of a whaling ship that was rammed and sunk by a sperm whale in 1820 and was the inspiration for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick; and the story of the Ross Sea Party, those valiant men on the other side of Antarctica who gave everything they had to lay down the precious depots of food and fuel for Shackleton’s trans-Antarctic party. Carefully researched and enthusiastically performed, Nansen of the North is not history lesson, but a gripping story.
Nansen of the North will be presented at three different performances on March 14th at 6 pm at the Dallas Event Center in Dallas, Oregon, on April 4th at 7 pm at Nordic Northwest’s Nordia House in Portland, Oregon, and on April 25th at 4 pm at the Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area at Crooked River Ranch, Oregon. Young adults 15+ are welcome provided they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Portland Story Theater is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which strives to make the narrative arts an integral part of Portland’s rich cultural identity. Founded in 2004, the organization is committed to bringing an authentic story and theater experience to enrich, inspire, challenge and expand Portland’s urban environment through the narrative arts. For more information, browse pdxstorytheater.org, email us, or call us at 503-284-2226.
The Dallas Public Library was established over 100 years ago in 1905, with the present library and Senior Center complex dedicated in August 1990. The Dallas Public Library offers events, clubs, groups and other services free of charge to the community. The Armchair Adventurer series and Portland Story Theater have been bringing live storytelling events to our community for more than five years. We are pleased that this year’s event will be at the new Dallas Events Center.
Nordic Northwest is a non-profit organization focused on the five Nordic nations: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The mission of Nordic Northwest is to preserve, communicate and celebrate Nordic culture, heritage and innovation. Nordia House, Nordic Northwest’s cultural center, opened its doors in 2016. Beverages will be available for purchase at the show and Broder Söder will be offering Nordic cuisine from their special event menu. For more information, browse nordicnorthwest.org.
Friends and Neighbors (FANs) of the Deschutes Canyon Area was founded in 2011 by landowners surrounding the Deschutes Canyon-Steelhead Falls Wilderness Study Area in Central Oregon. We came together over our shared love of nearby public lands, including special places such as Steelhead Falls, Alder Springs, the Peninsula, and Scout Camp. This program is a fundraiser for the organization. Please visit Friends & Neighbors of Deschutes Canyon.