Conquest of the South Pole [image credit Simon Annand]
The Conquest of the South Pole by Manfred Karge is a mind over matter struggle between unemployment and the need to dream. Decidedly melodramatic and poetic this modern classic splits the idea of dreaming of success like an orange and lemon peel pushed simultaneously inside out- budding the question is it reality that’s sweet and the dream that leaves a bitter taste?
Characters such as Slupianek, performed by O-T Fagbenle a deep driving force guiding the unemployed men in a game that plays with the realities of their lives, leading the gang of friends towards acts as big as robbery and minor blunders like upsetting the washing- when turned on its head ,the latter weighing much greater than the former.
O-T Fagbenle in Conquest of the South Pole [image credit Simon Annand]
Slupianek fights daily recruiting his friends to master his obsession with the South Pole inspired by the story of Norwegian Roald Amundsen, the man who truly led a team to the South Pole. Instead of signing on and handing out black and white CV’s, the men decide to focus on the historical Polar journey manipulating the rudimentary beings of reality to help create the make belief escape they are trying to create, but the line between reality and fate are so thin at the top of the attic with just white sheets and stolen goods to help them conquer the tale.
La Braukmann( Emma Cunniffe) is the feminine driving force that hurls the play back into reality always drawing on the obvious in her casual clothes and her womanly stresses. An achievement, using her white sheets as glaciers to get further in their attic of make belief is an action that could defeat the entire idea.
During a time where our youth have looted due to the fact that their actuality is far from the achievements in their dreams, Karge’s 1988 play could not have felt more contemporary and pertinent as many ruin their reality to try to accomplish dreams.
The Conquest of the South Pole is at the Arcola Theatre until May 26, 2012 and then transfers to the Rose Theatre from 29 May to 2 June, 2012.