‘The Climbers’ premieres at Theatre by the Lake

The play by Carmen Nasr will send shivers down the spines of mountaineering audience members

Read time 2 mins

Published Jun 24, 2022

Photographer The Other Richard

Hannah Mitchell BASE Digital Writer Hannah is a Lake District-based journalist and all-round outdoor lass with a particular fondness for rock faces.

‘When Yasmin and Sherpa Tshering return from a perilous expedition to Everest without a member of their party, a lot of people have a lot of questions.

Where is Yasmin’s husband Charlie? What happened on the mountain? Why do Yasmin and Tshering’s accounts differ so drastically? Private investigator Connie tries to distinguish hallucination from reality and delusion from fact; someone, somewhere, is not telling the truth.

The Climbers is a mesmerising and thrilling exploration of the lure of the mountains, the drive to conquer and the price of staying alive.’

Theatre By The Lake’s latest in-house theatrical offering is a chilling yet moving tale of love, deception and delusion in the Death Zone that will send shivers down the spines of mountaineering audience members. The play, written by Carmen Nasr, premiered this week and is showing at the Keswick venue until the 16th of July. This powerful stage performance makes for an excellent evening’s entertainment for any outdoor enthusiast visiting the Lake District this summer.

The simplicity of the staging and spine-tingling, at times heart-wrenching narrative combine with the thrill of expedition as the audience are invited to embark on the trip of a lifetime with the two main characters, Yasmin and Charlie. The play is set in Nepal, a far cry from Keswick, one of Cumbria’s outdoor tourism capitals, and yet the setting of the theatre and its proximity to some of the U.K’s most challenging fells makes this performance feel very much at home.

In the death zone, your body starts eating itself. Time and space disappear. It’s impossible to remember what happens up there.

Whilst essentially a ghost story of sorts, the narrative more than touches upon the stark reality of mortality on the world’s highest and most dangerous mountains, acknowledging the uncomfortable truth of the hundreds of irretrievable bodies that are permanent fixtures on Peaks such as Everest.

Despite its unsettling storyline, the performance is punctuated with humour and music too, and the uncomplicated scenery of towering white peaks that adorn the stage will have you hankering for your own adventure from the opening lines to the curtain call.

The Climbers show is supported by a number of outdoor brands and incorporates some use of ropes and climbing equipment. The play’s creation was inspired by Nasr’s brother climbing Kilimanjaro and the stories he told upon his return. Other cast members also have a connection to the mountaineering element of the story, including Manish Gandhi, who plays Sherpa Tshering.

‘I climbed up to Everest Base Camp a couple of years ago,’ Manish says. ‘It’s a strange one because it sets you against nature in a way, Everest is quite unforgiving.

‘The play is really contemporary, it talks about our time, about what’s going on in the world right now. It also reminded me of lots of conversations I had when I was climbing with the Sherpas, about what their life is like, and in that sense it’s very new.’

 

A hub for Cumbrian creative industries, Theatre By The Lake serves as a year-round arts venue for the local community and visitors alike and hosts unique festivals, displays, workshops and performances with strong links to the surrounding landscape and activities that take place there.

As part of The Climbers showing, there is also the opportunity to attend pre and post-show discussions with Writer Carmen Nasr, and Director Guy Jones on the 8th of July, as well as a Q&A session with first British woman to climb Everest, Rebecca Stephens, on the 2nd of July. These are included with tickets which can be purchased here.

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