Cover photo: Katherine Fried as The Snow Queen; photo by Wide Eyed Studios
The Arden Theatre Company presents The Snow Queen, coming to Philadelphia between November 27th, 2019 and January 26th, 2020. Just in time for the holiday season! The all-ages play, based on Hans Christian Anderson’s classic fairy tale, was also the inspiration for Disney’s Frozen. You and your family can journey through all four seasons in this beautiful show about friendship, adventure, and magic!
We spoke with Minnesota-based actress Katherine Fried who returns to the Arden theatre company as the Snow Queen. Previously, Katherine was seen as The Girl in Once, also at Arden, and performed at this year’s Barrymore Awards. Read on to find out more about her role in The Snow Queen, her favorite fairy tales, and what she loves about spending time in Philadelphia.
Q: The Snow Queen is a much different character than your last role at the Arden Theatre, in Once! Tell us about her.
A: Girl in Once excels in her ability to see and reflect on her own strengths and weaknesses. She offers insight into the places of fluidity and stuckness in those around her with a harsh clarity and curiosity. Her courage with the truth allows her to be a very good challenger and lover to the world. The Snow Queen struggles in her ability to see fully, and therefore, to love fully.
The Snow Queen is one of four seasonal sisters who has settled into self-obsession, and in an effort to celebrate her own beauty, has covered the earth in darkness and frigidity. She is unwilling to find or accept fault in her own reflection, and is therefore unable to love herself and the world with rigor and warmth. Pursuits of perfection can be punishing and unforgiving, judgmental and unkind. They have the capacity to skew our vision immensely. When we choose to acknowledge and uncover our cracks, we let a little light in. When we fill them with love, the soil richens, and things start to grow.
No matter how ferociously the Snow Queen praises her own image and beauty, the world will suffer great misery in her coldness until she sends love to the root of her true and imperfect self. Self-love is driven by truth and ego is often driven by fear. The Snow Queen helps us bear witness to this difference through the desperate vanity and violence which guide her icy path.
Q: How did you prepare for the cold-hearted Snow Queen? Did you draw inspiration from any other fairy tale villains?
A: I am digging into fairy tales right and left and finding inspiration from the Brothers Grimm. I am looking into patterns of psychology and studying the habits of negative thought cycles. I am learning about the many colors of insecurities and the countless masks which they wear. I am enjoying a dip into The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Greek Mythology, and Nowegian Folktales.
One of the things that is so delightful about starting a new project is the opportunity to go down and get lost in new rabbit holes which appear in pursuit of context for the world we are about to build. I am relishing just now in the discovery of new stories, poems, Celtic musicians, cultural teachings and practices. I feel rich in inspiration from the homework.
Q: You’re from Minnesota and have performed on stages in various parts of the US. What brought you to Philadelphia and the Arden Theatre?
A: I reached out to the Arden Theatre Company last summer with a submission for Once. I was itching to be involved in that show, and I could not have found a better company with whom to explore the material. The artistic staff and cast handled the music and story with such care and humility. The rehearsal room challenged both artistic and personal growth. It was a loving and special communion, and I feel very grateful for the experience. I could not be more pleased to return.
Q: When you aren’t on stage here in Philadelphia, what do you enjoy doing in the city?
A: I am getting caught up in such a love affair with this city. I have been walking in Fairmount Park and enjoying the Fairmount Water Works area, visiting art and science museums, discovering incredible restaurants and taking advantage of the extensive historical tours. I enjoy walking for hours on end and delighting in the architecture and character of these unique and plentiful neighborhoods.
Q: The Snow Queen is adapted from a fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen. What are some of your favorite fairy tales?
A: A number of fairy tales come to mind! I love the shadowed and complicated writings of the Brothers Grimm. I quite like “The Juniper Tree” and “Snow-White and Rose-Red.” Both of them have a great darkness and magic to them, and I love the transformational role that nature plays in each.
Q: The Snow Queen is a great family-friendly outing for the holiday season. Do you have anything you love to do with your family during this time of year?
A: Absolutely! My family and I love to spend intentional time together during the winter months. We tend to either find ourselves outside or in the kitchen. This season is such a wonderful opportunity to explore the extremes that the weather has to offer in both physical cold and emotional warmth. We love to ski in the woods and create thankful community through food. We also play a great deal of music and go out to concerts, plays, and museums.
Single tickets to The Snow Queen are currently on sale, and make the ideal holiday gift! Visit the Arden Theatre Company’s website for more information.