I am fortunate to live in a city that possesses a big, live theatre presence. There is everything from the Old Globe Theatre, the highest level of performances here, to a wide variety of other playhouses, along with some niche production groups. I used to attend the Globe quite frequently, but lately it has only been when the show seemed particularly special to me, like with Allegiance.
Through trial and error, I found a wonderful theatre group that consistently puts on performances I want to see: Cygnet Theatre. I’ve mentioned their production in the past – the most memorial being Maple & Vine. I still find myself thinking about that one.
Last weekend Ms. M and I attended their latest production, The Whale by Samuel Hunter.
The story of Charlie, a morbidly obese, house-bound man, could have been a horrible, stereotype-filled, depressing show, but this production was different from the first moments. Charlie is an intelligent, likeable character. Over the course of the show, the weight, while ever-present, is not always the center of attention – it’s the man inside the highly realistic fat suit is what shines.
The poster for the play has the word “funny” on it. I told Ms. M I was going to hold them to it. It did have some funny moments, mainly dark, that provide the needed contrast to the constricted life we were watching on stage.
Ever since the show, I’ve been thinking a lot about related themes: the walls we all hide behind, how self-destructive behaviors come in many forms, and how much I could relate to this 600 pound man without having any shared life experiences. Definitely the sign of an excellence performance.
What was the last play you saw? or Have you ever deeply related to a character with whom you had nothing in common?