In his original winter ballet, Snow, Garrett Ammon introduces Fenris, a devious wolf cursed by an evil dwarf to remain in human form until he can complete one truly good deed. Inspired by Norse mythology, Ammon created this character with the legendary Fenrir in mind. According to legend, the gods feared the wolf-son of Loki, Fenrisúlfr, for his infamous strength. His greatest claim to fame: devouring the great god Odin in a mighty snap.
Keston Meyer as Fenris in rehearsal for Garrett Ammon’s Snow. Photo by Martha Wirth.
Hearing the tale of the trapped Elizabeth, Fenris sees his chance to resume his true form. “He thinks it is a huge injustice that there’s this magpie who has her life stolen from her, and there’s this other woman who’s living her life. So he determines he’s going to right this wrong,” said Ammon. However, while the deed itself may be good, his methods are not necessarily benevolent, as Ammon said, “he’s a devious character, so his idea of “good” is a bit complex.”
After years of searching, Fenris finally finds a potion that will return the false Elizabeth to her true form, releasing the real woman from the curse. As he waits for an opportunity to get close enough to administer the potion, one wanders right into his path in the form of a young traveler named Victor.
Ben Youngstone as Victor in Garrett Ammon’s Snow. Costume by Anaya Cullen. Photo by Amanda Tipton.
Keston Meyer and Ben Youngstone in rehearsal for Garrett Ammon’s Snow. Photo by Martha Wirth.
Victor’s origin character lives within verses of Norse mythology as Vidar, the son of Odin, who sets off on a dangerous quest to capture the wolf that has killed his father. In contrast with the brief and contained European fairy tales, which often concluded with a fable or moral lesson, Norse and Greek mythology developed over hundreds of years, allowing the characters to gain complexity.
Ammon discussed the differences between European folk tales, which tend to be rather self-contained and simple, and stories in Greek and Norse mythology, which often build into long epics through oral re-tellings. Norse narratives, he said, “become character-driven stories, which ultimately opens up multiple views on complex subjects.” As stories built up over decades of time, “Writers would try to solve issues and also see the multifaceted ways that you could look at an issue and, depending on your perspective, form a different opinion of what is right or wrong.”
Morgan Sicklick and Damien Patterson in Garrett Ammon’s Snow. Costumes by Anaya Cullen. Photo by Amanda Tipton.
Ammon believes that the moral complexity of the characters in Snow resonates with a modern audience: “I think people today really hunger for the complexity of seeing characters that are multi-faceted, that have good and bad inside of them and different motivations, and to see them travel through that.”