A scene from WHALE SONG.
BOTTOM LINE: A slightly unconventional drama about coping with tragedy and reflecting on life.
Whale Song or: Learning to Live With Mobyphobia is a slightly quirky domestic drama which follows pre-school teacher Maya (Hollis Witherspoon), as she comes to terms with the recent death of her father, whose naked body was found in the killer whale tank at Sea World. Grappling with her own sanity, her new found obsessive fear of whales and the direction of her own life, Maya slowly attempts to make sense of herself. It’s a late twenties coming-of-age drama.
While the bizarre premise of suicide by whale is a fun twist, at the end of the day, it’s not enough to make this particular show feel much different than the other countless living room dramas that take the Fringe stage every summer. Despite this there are quite a few reasons to see Whale Song, among them a talented cast full of charisma and believability and some sharp direction by Brad Raimondo.
Although the ensemble is solid throughout, there are a few standouts, most notably Ryan Feyk in the role of Mark, Maya’s long-term boyfriend. Feyk takes what could easily be a throw away sidekick of a role, and turns it into a compelling, conflicted character which feels like it has just as much depth as the protagonist of the play. Playing Mark with a vulnerable bravado, Feyk creation is a welcome dose of grounded reality in a surreal play.
Whale Song is well worth the time for Fringe lovers. It’s an excellent example of slightly quirky, well-produced theater on a budget.
(Whale Song or: Learning to Live With Mobyphobia plays at The First Floor Theatre at La MaMa , through August 27, 2011. Remaining performances are Thursday, August 18th at 2PM; Monday, August 22nd at 6PM; Wednesday, August 24th at 7PM; Saturday, August 27th at 9:30PM. Tickets are $15 and are available at fringenyc.org. For more show info visit dreamscapetheatre.org/shows/whalesong.html. For more info about FringeNYC visit fringnyc.org.)