Slung Low's The White Whale
(Image Credit: Slung Low (http://www.slunglow.org/)
Slung Low is reputed for producing adventurous theatre in unconventional spaces. Their version of The White Whale, written by James Phillips, is performing at Leeds Dock between 4th to 14th September 2014. The performances take place on a canal basin and it is no ordinary theatre production. One can hear the adventure at the basin's sides from headphones via a radio link as if you're on the whaler yourself. Theatre etiquette is relaxed and standing and moving around are encouraged.
The White Whale, based on Melville's Moby Dick, is set on water and the story takes place on a whaler, the Pequod. The story is about the crew whose beliefs and priorities differ why they hunt, like in the past, for survival and for a living. Some of the crew members gave their personal narratives why they are on board. Ishmael (played by Nima Taleghani), a Muslim, is simply looking for inner peace and he believes the 'hunting monsters at sea' will accomplish this. Alex (played by Liam Evans-Ford), a journalist, who has seen the world in extraordinary situations including warfare and political instability questions the reasons why the crew hunt and link their answers with his world grown views. His views are seemingly not popular with some members of the crew who are on Pequod simply just to do a job.
Ahab (played by Oliver Senton), a very determined captain, simply wants revenge after a whale nearly killed him and he vows not to rest until he hunts 'the greatest whale in all the oceans'. His tunnel vision attitude seems to obscure the original purpose why he's on a whaler in the first place and how his lucky escape influences this. This production explores how one's desire can either work for or against them which was observed by the audience and crew members.
The thought provoking play certainly raises a number of themes which are relevant then and in society today not just on whaling but how traditions, livelihoods, politics, economics, the environment and so forth can shape the issues and form personal opinions about the world lived in today.
The unique setting for The White Whale is perfect for the adventure with the canal water being the open ocean. The technical elements are first class such as the water fountains used for the whales' presence and the usage of ammunition shots for pursuing the prey in the ocean. Not forgetting the amazing choreography and co-ordination of the lighting (by Ric Mountjoy) and pyrotechnics (by Doug Nicholson) complementing the dark skies which are married by the sounds (Matt Angove), movements (by Lucy Kind) and music (by Heather Fenoughty) encapsulate the intrigue, drama and emotions expected for this adventure.
The White Whale, with an amazing cast and creative team, fully interacts full with the audience by inviting them to be part of this experience. Slung Low will give them a theatre adventure like no other and it will certainly be a production remembered for a very long time. There is further information about Slung Low by clicking onto the link. A big thanks to Leeds Inspired for making this production possible!