The tragic airplane crash that took the lives of the entire United States Figure Skating Team as they were en route to the 1961 World Championships remains one of the worst disasters in the annals of sport. Flash/Frozen zeroes in on one of the most painful ironies of that terrible event: the decision of one veteran skater to relinquish his place on the team, and his seat on the plane, to the sport’s brightest young talent.
Opening with the Inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, and telescoping the action in less than a month’s time, the play brings both skaters to life in a crescendo of events culminating in a cruel, unforeseen twist that will assure their destinies are forever intertwined in history.
Lance Ringel wrote Flash/Frozen for the stage, but the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to preclude live presentations of theater. While it ultimately will receive a world premiere in a live production with an audience in attendance, Ringel and director Chuck Muckle wanted some version of Flash/Frozen to be available as of February 15, 2021, the 60th anniversary of the central event in the play. They enlisted the considerable talents of filmmaker Camilo Rojas, who previously had collaborated with them on a video excerpt from Flower of Iowa, and three actors who were all veterans of Muckle/Ringel productions – Devon A.A. Norris, Patrick Tombs, and Rebecca Hoodwin – to create the following staged reading of Flash/Frozen on video, using Zoom technology.
The U.S. Figure Skating Memorial Fund was created in the wake of the tragedy of February 15, 1961, as a living endowment to benefit future skaters. Over the past 60 years, the Fund has provided more than $15 million in financial assistance, supporting a number of Olympic champions.
Like his previous works, Flower of Iowa and In Love with the Arrow Collar Man, Lance Ringel’s new play, Flash/Frozen, reveals the achingly personal side of historical events. Engaging and ultimately deeply moving, this story of young athletes following their passion is a remarkable exploration into the unpredictability of our journey through life.
Mark Pirolo, Faculty Emeritus, University of North Carolina School of the Arts
The doomed flight of Sabena 548 had long haunted my imagination. Flash/Frozen has been my path to writing about it, as I seek to honor both Tim Brown and Doug Ramsay through their interlocking stories.
Lance Ringel, Playwright
Flash/Frozen gave me a concise and well-thought-out road map for guiding the actors to their rich and varied portrayals of these characters, on their brief but unexpectedly harrowing journey together.