Thursday, April 2, 2009

"The Mariner"

Ahhhh, "The Mariner"… I have to confess that through at least the first half of this little play I was in utter bewilderment about what was actually going on. I still have some rather important unresolved questions about the ending and the actual nature of one of the main characters... I guess that might be something to be fixed in further drafts of the play, unless confusion was the point. Which in this type of play might be understandable.

The plot, insofar as I understood it, is about a young sailor and a pirate captain getting swallowed alive by a massive whale. In the belly of this whale they play cards for sips of the precious water, try to avoid flying boxes of salvaged goods from shipwrecks that arrive when the whale has a meal, etc. The pirate captain is later revealed to be the young man's long-lost father, and no, it is not a happy reunion, however that may sound. The nature of the wild dancers continually surrounding the stage added an unearthly element to the proceedings; I never could quite figure out who or what they were. The costumes were creative, though. Also, the matter of how exactly the pirate captain ruined the sailor's mother's life was unclear-- was it pure and simple abandonment, or something still more sinister? Again, there was such a mysterious, frankly creepy aura around the whole production that made you wonder what was actually supposed to be made clear to the audience.

The idea of the whole play taking place in the belly of a whale was a refreshingly original twist on normal settings for plays; and I loved that the author was inspired to write the play by a song.

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