SCOTT, M, 40s, zestfully firm leader and planner with movie hero looks and optimistic
confidence from flawed experiences.
AMUNDSEN, M, 10+ years younger but in no case under 30, improviser, whose charm and
appeal do not come from his looks but from the wit and self-deprecating storytelling he
uses to mask his fears.
In the style of Brian Friel’s FAITH HEALER and MOLLY SWEENEY, Britain’s Robert F. Scott
and Norway’s Roald Amundsen fight their own failings as they race to the South Pole.
Adapted from their exploration journals, each man paints himself and his opponent by
marvelous studies of subtext. There are many contrasts with their distinctly competing
personalities in an eerily alien and unforgiving landscape.
Their tales intercut, dovetail, revealing themselves through hopes, how they tell the stories
of those under their commands, and how they compete in the race of their lives.
Act I covers the preparations and the vast differences in approach between the laid back
Amundsen and the experienced planner Scott. As natural opposites they compete with
each other in philosphies, leadership styles, and in how they wish the world to view them.
In Act II they race. Each in his own manner must deal not only with the other over his
shoulder but with harsh physical unknowns and their interior insecurities.
In Act III the race to the Pole ends yet the journey back to safety becomes a new contest, a
literal “race of their lives” with even more contrasts than before. How can one man cope
with mental tragedy while Death looms as the ultimate winner?
Can the loser handle being THE LAST SOUTH?
A 3-Act drama based on the separate
1910-1912 journals (now public domain) of
hugely contrasting Antarctic explorers
Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott
in the race of their lives.
75-80 minutes without optional
Simple as a chamber play/reader’s theatre,
or with blocking on a single abstract set.
G. M. Calhoun