It takes a lot of courage to take one’s personal agony and transform it into something meaningful, something with the potential to educate and impact the youth. Mr. Gorman gets full points for doing this and taking on a task that is much needed in the current times.
There was a strong chemistry between all of the actors, and each delivered a fine performance. Alan Barnes Netherton as Robby was simply astonishing.
Chasing The New White Whale, follows Robby (Alan Barnes Netherton) from a young age, and his dream of having his own boat and catching a big halibut. We witness him going down with the boat as he gets involved in heroin transport with Ray (Mark Daly), and in the process also gets addicted to heroin himself. His comrades, Johnny (Chris Cornwell), and Therese (Meridith Nicholaev) stop believing in him and and he is left all alone to fight the waters with his boat and his dream.
This is the story of an underdog rising and falling, the story of a man who gives his life to chasing something that does not exist.
But in addition, there are a myriad of other characters, that come and go, like the young and ambitious Steven (Khari Constantine) who becomes Robby’s mentee and confidant on his boat. Steven’s girlfriend Michelle (Victoria A. Villier) and the chaplain (Mike Gorman) and Elijah (Jim Reitz) and the ghosts and the fisherman and the phantoms. Then there is multi media projections and intense music.
This is all happening on an impressive set, in the midst of bridges and boats coming in and going out, characters climbing high ladders and appearing everywhere, adding an element of surprise.
And that is where the play suffers with too much of a good thing. While it is clear whose story we are following, we never truly connect and empathize with Robby or anyone else. There are too many jewels and it is hard for any one to shine.
Mr. Gorman has a strong premise here, and if he can simplify the story to help the audience experience the heart of the characters without the paraphernalia then we could have a master piece.
Chasing The New White Whale – By Mike Gorman, Directed By Arthur Adair
WITH: Khari Constantine (Steven), Chris Cornwell(Johnny), Mark Daly (Ray), Mike Gorman (Quaker chaplain), Alan Barnes Netherton (Robby), Meridith Nicholaev (Therese), Jim Reitz (Elijah), and Victoria A. Villier (Michelle).
Chasing The New White Whale features scenic design by Donald Eastman, costume design by Sarah Boyden, lighting design by Chris Akerlind, sound design by Tim Schellenbaum, Projection Design by Donna Daly, and music composed and performed by Sammo and Billy Flynn
Chasing The New White Whale, will perform Thursday through Saturday at 7 P.M., and Sunday at 3 P.M., playing its final performance on December 9, 2018.
General Admission: $25; Students/Seniors: $20; La MaMa also offers 10@$10, these are the first ten tickets for every performance at $10 each, first come first served, advance sales only.
Running time: 1hr, 15 minutes.
For tickets, visit: lamama.org; or call OvationTix at 212.352.3101