THE WHALE
By Samuel D. Hunter


 
Directed by Melissa Livingston-Weaver

Charlie had a nice, quiet life in Idaho. He had a wife, a new baby daughter, and a great job as an English teacher. All was well.

Except it wasn't.

16 years later, Charlie was divorced and hadn't seen his ex-wife Mary or his daughter Ellie since he left them after falling in love with a student...Alan...and becoming the true person he always knew he was. All was well.

Except it wasn't.

Alan was a Mormon whose father didn't approve of his relationship with Charlie. After being "fixed" at a local Mormon Church--the one off the highway, by the U-Haul--Alan wasted away, starving himself. To death.

Charlie took the other route. He now weighs 600 pounds, and is slowly eating his way to an early grave. His caretaker, Liz--Alan's little sister--has been trying to get him to see a doctor for years...to no avail.

In what may be the last week of his life, Charlie searches for truth, honesty, and atonement. He reconnects with Ellie, now 16 and a holy terror...and the most honest and genuine person Charlie has ever met. Elder Thomas, a mysterious young Mormon on his Mission who randomly knocks on Charlie's door, may provide comfort...or at least insight into the events at the Church by the U-Haul. And Mary, Charlie's now alcoholic ex-wife, may provide some perspective as a full cast of damaged characters orbit Charlie's life.

THE WHALE runs Thurs-Sat, Feb. 20-March 15, 2014. Hyde Park Theatre, 511 W. 43rd St. 8PM. Tickets are "Pick Your Price," $15-$30 ($10-$30 Thursdays.) Tickets on sale starting December 15, 2013.



Starring:
Erin Barlow as LIZ
Jon Cook as ELDER THOMAS
Elizabeth Mason as MARY
Kayla Newman as ELLIE
and
Shanon Weaver as CHARLIE
 
Directed by Melissa Livingston-Weaver
 
Scenic Design--Michael B. Raiford
Lighting Design--Jason Amato
Costume & Prop Design/Production Manager--Katy Billik-Hogge
Fat Suit Design--Kelly Ruiz
Graphic Design--Dan Price



Praise for The Whale:

"Vibrant and provocative...Hunter explores his material with sharp-eared skill and sensitivity." - Village Voice
" Wonderful...You feel as if you’ve met real people, made of flesh and blood" - New York Post
"Compelling, funny, and unexpectedly impactful...No holds barred." - Associated Press

The Whale is the winner of the 2013 Lucile Lortel Award—Best Play, the 2013 Drama Desk Special Award for Significant Contribution to Theatre, and the 2013 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding New York Theatre. It also received nominations for the 2013 Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Play, the 2013 Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play, and the 2013 John Gassner Award for Oustanding New American Play.

 

 About the Playwright

Samuel D. Hunter’s plays include A Bright New Boise (OBIE Award for Playwriting, Drama Desk Nomination for Best Play; original production at Partial Comfort Productions, NYC; second production at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company), The Whale (Playwrights Horizons, Victory Gardens, and South Coast Rep; original production at the Denver Center), Jack’s Precious Moment (Page 73 at 59E59), Five Genocides (Clubbed Thumb), A Permanent Image (Boise Contemporary Theater), and Norway (Boise Contemporary Theater, Phoenix Theater of Indianapolis). He has active commissions from Seattle Rep, South Coast Rep, Lincoln Center, and Manhattan Theater Club. His plays have been developed at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, JAW West, Ojai Playwrights Conference, and the Pacific Playwrights Festival. He is the recipient of the 2008-2009 PONY Fellowship, the 2011 Sky Cooper Prize, two Lincoln Center Le Compte du Nuoy Awards, and will be a resident playwright at Arena Stage in 2013. He is an ensemble playwright at Victory Gardens, a core member of the Playwrights Center, a company member of Partial Comfort Productions, and an alum of Ars Nova’s Playgroup. Internationally, his work has been translated into Spanish and presented in Mexico City and Monterrey, and he has worked in the West Bank with Ashtar Theatre of Ramallah and Ayyam al-Masrah of Hebron. At Ashtar, he co-wrote The Era of Whales which was performed in Ramallah and Istanbul. He holds degrees in playwriting from NYU, the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and Juilliard. A native of northern Idaho, Mr. Hunter lives in New York City.