The Whale / A Bright New Boise
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The Whale / A Bright New Boise

Samuel D. Hunter

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eBook - ePub

The Whale / A Bright New Boise

Samuel D. Hunter

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Acclaimed for his gentle, complex characterizations, Samuel D. Hunter's bighearted and funny plays explore the quiet desperation running through many American lives. The Whale tells the story of a six hundred-pound shut-in's last chance at redemption and of discovering beauty in the most unexpected places when he reaches out to his long-estranged—and severely unhappy—daughter. Hunter's second piece, the Obie Award-winning A Bright New Boise, is a philosophical investigation of faith and search for meaning in rural Idaho where a disgraced evangelical is forced to take a minimum-wage job at the local Hobby Lobby craft store in an effort to reunite with his estranged son. Praise for The Whale "Beautifully devastating... The Whale manages to be about so very much at once: writing, parenting, teaching, religion, body image, overeating, the price paid by gay couples born in the wrong state or just a few years too soon. But, most of all, The Whale is a remarkably eloquent exploration of the way the need for honesty overwhelms us when we sense that our time is short." -Chris Jones, "A vibrant, provocative new play... The sharp-eared skill and sensitivity with which Hunter explores his thickly layered material are matched by his fair-mindedness." -Michael Feingold, Village Voice "Extraordinary... Hunter has constructed an outsize, gothic scenario in tender miniature, against a backdrop so blandly bleak we brace ourselves for despair: the sound of cascading highway traffic braids itself with the crashing surf inside Charlie's head. Is it all too much? Never for a second." -Scott Brown, New York "A deeply affecting and piercingly amusing play about guilt and connection... Hunter has given all of these funny-sad lost souls details that emerge bit b y bit and twist and expand the story in compelling ways." -Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News " The Whale is a tragedy in a minor key, about a man torn between flesh and spirit... Humane, sharp and often funny." -David Cote, TimeOut New York "Samuel D. Hunter's compelling, psychologically complex play takes the audience to the confounding no man's land of nihilism." -John Lahr, New Yorker Praise for A Bright New Boise "A dark, droll and ultimately explosive work... Funny, compassionate and disturbing all at once, Hunter's quintessentially American scenario portrays an individual trapped in an emotional and cultural wasteland, his life configured by uncaring impersonal forces, his spirit hobbled by unnamed guilt." -Deborah Klugman, LA Weekly "A simple, superb little heartland heartbreaker... This is a rube tragedy--a respectful and honest-feeling one, for a change, with unquenchable humor and scrupulous emotional honesty--and by jingo, it sings." -Scott Brown, New York "Exhilarating... A Bright New Boise is an unsparing account of the hunger pangs in the barren American gut... Hunter has such highly sensitive antennae for the look and rhythm of mundane places that A Bright New Boise develops an authentic texture, separate from other pieces in its genre." -Peter Marks, Washington Post "Despite the crisp wind of despair that blows through Samuel D. Hunter's beautifully realized A Bright New Boise, this clear-eyed comedy about faith's meager harvest will still lift your heart. Some of it is simple delight in craft... The rest of our pleasures lie in Hunter's gentle characterizations, a plot that mingles absurdity and genuine philosophical investigation." -Helen Shaw, TimeOut New York "An anxious, funny look at the messianic and the mundane in America... Hunter delivers these characters and their crucibles with tenderness and rage. For all its mistrust of religion, the play is a kind of prayer." -Charles Isherwood, New York Times Acclaimed for his gentle, complex characterizations, Samuel D. Hunter's bighearted and fiercely funny plays explore the quiet desperation running through many American lives. The Whale tells the story of

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Information

Year
2014
ISBN
9781559367769
The Whale
PRODUCTION HISTORY
The Whale was developed with support of PlayPenn (Paul Meshejian, Artistic Director) and, in part, at the Icicle Creek Theatre Festival (Allen Fitzpatrick, Artistic Director). It was awarded the 2011 Sky Cooper New American Play Prize at Marin Theatre Company (Jasson Minadakis, Artistic Director; Ryan Rilette, Producing Director).
The Whale received its world premiere at the Denver Center Theatre Company (Kent Thompson, Artistic Director; Charles Varin, Managing Director) on January 13, 2012. The production was part of the Colorado New Play Summit and was directed by Hal Brooks. The set design was by Jason Simms, the costume design was by Kevin Copenhaver, the lighting design was by Seth Reiser and the sound design was by William Burns; the production stage manager was A. Phoebe Sacks. The cast was:
CHARLIE
Tom Alan Robbins
LIZ
Angela Reed
ELDER THOMAS
Cory Michael Smith
ELLIE
Nicole Rodenburg
MARY
Tasha Lawrence
The Whale opened at Playwrights Horizons (Tim Sanford, Artistic Director; Leslie Marcus, Managing Director; Carol Fishman, General Manager) in New York City, on November 5, 2012. The production was directed by Davis McCallum. The set design was by Mimi Lien, the costume design was by Jessica Pabst, the lighting design was by Jane Cox and the sound design was by Fitz Patton; the production stage manager was Alaina Taylor. The cast was:
CHARLIE
Shuler Hensley
LIZ
Cassie Beck/Rebecca Henderson
ELDER THOMAS
Cory Michael Smith
ELLIE
Reyna de Courcy
MARY
Tasha Lawrence
The play opened at South Coast Repertory (Marc Masterson, Artistic Director; Paula Tomei, Managing Director) in Costa Mesa, California, on March 15, 2013. The production was directed by Martin Benson. The set design was by Thomas Buderwitz, the costume design was by Angela Balogh Calin, the lighting design was by Donna and Tom Ruzika, and the original music and sound design were by Michael Roth; the production stage manager was Jennifer Ellen Butler. The cast was:
CHARLIE
Matthew Arkin
LIZ
Blake Lindsley
ELDER THOMAS
Wyatt Fenner
ELLIE
Helen Sadler
MARY
Jennifer Christopher
The play opened at Victory Gardens Theater (Chay Yew, Artistic Director; Chris Mannelli, Interim Managing Director) in Chicago, Illinois, on April 15, 2013. The production was directed by Joanie Schultz. The set design was by Chelsea Warren, the costume design was by Janice Pytel, the lighting design was by Heather Gilbert and the sound design was by Thomas Dixon; the production stage manager was Tina M. Jach. The cast was:
CHARLIE
Dale Calandra
LIZ
Cheryl Graeff
ELDER THOMAS
Will Allan
ELLIE
Leah Karpel
MARY
Patricia Kane
CHARACTERS
CHARLIE
Male, weighing around six hundred pounds, early to mid-forties
LIZ
Female, mid to late thirties
ELDER THOMAS
Male, nineteen
ELLIE
Female, seventeen
MARY
Female, early to mid-forties
SETTING
Northern Idaho, the present.
The main room of a small, white-walled, desolate apartment in a cheaply constructed two-story building. The room is dominated by a large couch that sags in the middle, reenforced by several cinder blocks.
Within arm’s reach of the couch are a small computer desk on rollers with a laptop, a large pile of papers, a claw for reaching, and a whole universe of full, empty and half-empty food containers (doughnuts, candy bars, fried chicken, burgers, two-liter soda bottles, etc.). A walker rests near the couch somewhere. An aging TV sits in a corner. Little effort has been made to clean up trash or organize.
A small kitchen is off to one corner of the stage; a bathroom and bedroom offstage.
NOTES
The play is served much better by being performed without an intermission (running time is roughly one hour, fifty minutes). However, if absolutely necessary, an intermission can be taken in between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
Dialogue written in italics is emphatic, deliberate; dialogue written...

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