Reliance on devices like the photograph and slide
will lead, I rather fear, to linguistic suicide.
We must keep on challenging language to engage
with all we suffer from in this new modern age.
This epic sweep of a play takes us from a contemporary Westminster Abbey to the Arctic ship Fram - or Forward - specially built by the famous Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen who, with his suicidal companion, Johansen, makes a bid on foot for the North Pole in the 1890s. Though incompatible, they share a bear fur sleeping-bag through the long winter. Nansen, still haunted by Johansen's ghost is appointed to the League of Nations. As a figurehead of Russian famine relief in 1922, he conducts the first celebrity campaign, searching for means, however shocking, to make people care.
Fram premiered at the National Theatre in April 2007.
Tony Harrison was born in Leeds in 1937. His volumes of poetry include The Loiners (winner of the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize in 1972), Continuous, v. (broadcast on Channel 4 in 1987 and winner of the Royal Television Society Award), A Cold Coming (Gulf War poems written for the Guardian), The Gaze of the Gorgon (winner of the Whitbread Prize for Poetry) and Laureate's Block. Recognised as Britain's leading theatre and film poet, Tony Harrison has written extensively for the National Theatre, the New York Metropolitan Opera, the BBC, Channel 4, and for unique ancient spaces in Greece and Austria. His version of Aeschylus's Oresteia, written for the National Theatre, won the European Poetry Translation Prize in 1982. Among his many television films are Black Daisies for the Bride, which won the Prix Italia in 1994, The Shadow of Hiroshima, commissioned for the fiftieth anniversary of the destruction of Hiroshima in 1995, and Prometheus.