In present-day Cambridge, where the academic world rubs shoulders with urban bohemia, Sub-Zero uncovers the high price of Art and creativity. Fenton, a once-famous artist suffering from bipolar disorder, exploits his illness and others--through seduction and intimate warfare--to reclaim his success. His marriage to a renowned art history professor implodes, leaving his son to stand in as his new protector. A young local woman, attractive and complicated, enters their lives, and romantic entanglements unfold. A young local woman, Claire, attractive and complicated, enters their lives, and romantic entanglements unfold. Though adrift in her own life, Claire serves as a catalyst for others to change and take action. Fenton manipulates the extremes of his illness through seduction and intimacy in a desperate quest for inspiration and renewed success. Fenton's actions and betrayals endanger his own tenuous grasp on the world and challenge the limits of family trust. The fates of father and son and the two very different women intersect to produce both hidden and external triumphs.
The fates of father and son and two very different women intersect and lay bare the cost of self-sacrifice and artistic exploration. Fenton endangers his own tenuous grasp on the world and challenges the limits of family and friendship.
FENTON Early fifties. A painter and professor of studio art who seeks to recreate his former professional and creative successes. He suffers from a rapidly cycling form of bipolar disease, a condition with varying potentials. Fenton can be passionate, vibrant and very social; however, his illness, which grants him periods of high productivity, when unchecked, inevitably leads to anti-social and self-destructive effects.
LOIS Early fifties. A professor of art history of certain standing who suffers no fools gladly. She has recently broken off with her partner of many years, FENTON. Ambition and intellectual curiosity have made her a formidable woman, yet she is not free of insecurities. Her own fierce self-reliance is a barrier to her loving others.
SEAN Early twenties. In his final college year, Sean hopes to pursue a career in acting, much to the chagrin of his pragmatic mother. He is open-hearted, sincere, and limited by his own innocence until destruction within the family yields emotional and creative breakthroughs.
CLAIRE Early thirties. She is intelligent and worldly, but lacks self-direction, a trait which draws her to passionate and creative individuals in her own search for guidance and self-definition.
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