The Foundry Theatre, ...And God Created Whales

Review in Issue 15-3 | Autumn 2003

An opera and a great white whale are the subjects of this two-hander by The Foundry Theatre who commissioned composer Rinde Eckert to write a musical interpretation of Hermann Melville’s Moby Dick.

Eckert performs in the production as ‘Nathan’, opera enthusiast and one-time piano tuner now confined to his apartment by an illness which is slowly eating away at his memory. Like Ahab from Melville’s novel, Nathan is on a mission and in doing so attempting to defeat an inevitable conclusion. He sits at his piano striking chords to construct his masterpiece, an opera of Moby Dick. A race against time as his mind is eroded by the disease.

Surrounding Nathan’s imposing and slow-moving figure is set and lighting by Kevin Adams which evokes suggestions of the two worlds in which this production is set. Light bulbs of various shapes and colours hang at different heights above a piano trussed up with rope and caked in Post-its (reminders or memories for Nathan), the bulbs interspersed with cassette players of different colours, cassette tape pouring from some like innards from a carcass. Nathan is not alone in his quest; there’s a woman, a product of his imagination, conjured to help him in his task to complete his opera…

Eckert and fellow performer Nora Cole take on different characters within the piece, relating both to Nathan’s life and the telling of Moby Dick. Their presence and the timbre of their voices create great tension in the story of the chase for the whale. One has to wonder whether the addition of Nathan’s story has as much poignancy or whether it is even required…

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jun 2003

This article in the magazine

Issue 15-3
p. 25