Snow Q: ‘I heard you calling’ by Maria Jastrzębska

Perhaps the loneliness we feel on our own is not as painful as the loneliness we can feel with others sometimes – with a lover, friend, family, colleagues, in a crowd… Snow Q’s poet Maria Jastrzębska has always been interested in what gets in the way of people communicating.  Gerda and Kai, two of the characters in her reimagining of the Snow Queen story, are young people whose relationship has broken down. They identify as non-binary, refusing to be confined by traditional gender roles or social expectations. Both are bilingual, switching effortlessly between Polish and English. However Kai has lost all sense of connection, not only with the community they grew up in but with Gerda, their closest friend. Ice has entered Kai’s heart. Gerda tries to find them in a landscape that’s part contemporary, part fairy tale.

Rita & Maria with Mark
Rita & Maria Z rehearsing with performance director Mark Hewitt

‘Even if you had the money to phone/knew which door to open/in these marble white corridors...Nie ma, nie ma nikogo...No one here, not now, not on the ice..’

‘I heard you calling/I heard your voice/though it was daleko./I knew that it was you..Even though snow was falling/had covered up your footprints/ although the wind was moaning/and wilki-wolves answered it,/stars had lód in their eyes/and I was weary…’

We are delighted to work with performer Rita Suszek again and welcome emerging actor Maria Ziółkowska who will join us in performing Maria Jastrzebska’s poems during our tour in February 2020. Below they talk about rehearsing for Snow Q the live literature production. For tickets click on:

Rita & Maria rehearse
Can Gerda and Kai reach one another?


This is my second time working on Snow Q and I couldn’t be more excited! This time we not only have more rehearsal time, but also I get to work with a fantastic co-actor. Maria Z is doing a great job as Gerda and it is thrilling to argue with another person as Kai. Somehow fighting with your own recorded voice, as I did in the previous incarnation of Snow Q, does not provide the same satisfaction… We are also adding more colour to the Crow character – dare I say, it shall ruffle some feathers in the best way possible. Overall, the work is going well and I can’t wait to perform in this unique show!

Maria Ziółkowska:

I cannot express the level of excitement I felt when I got invited to be a part of the Snow Q production! I feel so humbled and blessed and this excitement is only growing stronger as we progress with rehearsals. Being Gerda is a constant challenge, they bash into icy walls head on, full speed and each time bounce off with a new perspective, even the resulting frustration ultimately fuels their growth. To have the opportunity to step into such a complex character’s shoes is incredibly fun and rewarding. Having Rita as my co-actor is a treat and a great source of inspiration, she’s dynamite to work with and fearless in her commitment to the part. I simply cannot wait to share this beautiful and dynamic story with a broader audience. I feel like it’s going to resonate with a lot of hearts, as it sure melts mine.


By Maria Jastrzębska

This blog was originally published on Snow Q Project‘s website on 11 January 2020.

Featured image and headshot photo courtesy of Malcolm Glover

Category: Other Blogs


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