Mother's Little Secret
An Irish actress and an Icelandic actor engage in role play to recreate the adventure of two characters from the Icelandic Laxdaele Saga: Melkorka, a teenage Irish princess sold into slavery in the year 945 A.D., and Höskuldr, the Icelandic chieftain who buys her as his mistress. Their voyage of discovery takes them from Viking-era Dublin to Iceland, via Norway, the Shetlands, and the Færoes. Gliding playfully in and out of the present and past, they encounter geneticists, historians, tour guides, and literary experts who reveal surprising details not only about the origins of Icelandic society and the influence of Gaelic culture and genes, but most tellingly, the role of Gaelic slave women in determining an emerging identity despite being silenced. In an experimental style that remains light-hearted, our two actors play with national stereotypes while questioning the characters they portray and attempting to draw coherent lines linking hard science, art, literature, and mythology.