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Chasing the New White Whale

From 7 critic and 11 member reviews
Members say: Ambitious, Great staging, Disappointing, Confusing, Clever

About the show

This ambitious new production uses Melville’s 19th-century monster as a metaphor for the modern plague of opioid addiction, exploring the ruinous effects of the epidemic on the commercial fishing industry. More…

"Chasing the New White Whale" follows the plight of legendary New England fishing Captain Robby Foerster and his boat The Northern Star as he falls deeply into addiction after a fateful first encounter with heroin. Drawing inspiration from "Moby Dick," the play connects Robby's addiction with Ahab’s obsessive pursuit of the Great White Whale, and re-imagines Captain Ahab's final thrilling chase in Moby Dick.

Drama Queen NYC

"Both the play and the direction are ambitious and aesthetically complex...While it is a compelling production, it’s not quite successful in what it sets out to do...There is a character who recalls the long sermon in 'Moby Dick,' baldy stating the plays themes in brief sermonettes. These little lectures are well performed and staged, but are simply not dramatically effective – too much telling, not enough showing. The acting company, however, is uniformly strong." Full Review


"Gorman’s text attempts to tackle a myriad of themes, characters and situations...It goes off in too many directions and is difficult to follow...I didn’t feel a connection with any of the characters...There are just too many storylines with loose ends and not enough emotion...Director Adair keeps this water world in constant motion and ensures the pace surges forward. He has created mesmerizing standalone moments and a vital physicality that brings the fisherman’s universe to life." Full Review

The New York Times

"'Chasing the New White Whale' scores points for sheer gumption...It would be exciting to report that the playwright Gorman found a way to tie all these strands together — if only because modern theater does not write enough about either blue-collar characters or drug addiction — but 'White Whale' is a muddle of ideas in search of coherence and falls short of its ambition...The show is best at its most direct, and a storm heaving Robby’s boat about is haunting in its simplicity." Full Review

Washington Square News

"The metaphor is muddled, missing more often than it hits. The titular 'white whale' seems to sometimes be fishing itself, sometimes something more amorphous — happiness? Wholeness? It’s difficult to say....In attempting to cover so much ground so quickly, Gorman doesn’t do any of his subjects justice.” Full Review


“Visually impressive...Gorman’s muddled attempt at an epic drama of drug addiction...Instead of developing and relying on his viable scenario, Gorman utilizes two ineffective devices that distract from the plot...’Chasing the New White Whale’s’ worthy intentions are sidetracked by its clunky premise which has the issue of drugs depicted without much impact.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"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...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." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“Ambitious and confusing...The actors take on their parts earnestly... A two-piece band plays what sounds like lounge music, but given Gorman’s attention to historical detail, I’m puzzled why whaling ballads weren’t used. ‘Chasing the New White Whale’s’ heart is in the right place, but with so many disjointed pieces, the real drama in Robby's plight is lost at sea.” Full Review

Ambitious, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if You are interested in an analagous play about addiction and Captain Ahab's chase of Moby Dick. You need to make the connection.

Don't see it if You can't think outside the box.

Great staging, Great acting, Disappointing, Ambitious, Confusing

See it if you like experimental theater done in a huge space that is well-used by a talented cast with great music.

Don't see it if you want a solid story - it doesn't come together in the end and the hard folding chairs are not kind. Program is digital only.

Funny, Ambitious, Clever, Great staging, Refreshing

See it if you like to see a production with great staging and a profound topic that is not what you would usually expect.

Don't see it if You're not looking for something different and deep or you're looking for something frivolous.

Brilliant staging, Abstract, Messy script, Freezing theater, Terrific soundtrack

See it if you want to see a dramatic evocation of the current opioid crisis.

Don't see it if you want to see a play, not a visually inventive pageant of vaguely related abstractions.

Also Over the course of "Chasing the New White Whale," cast members wheel i... Read more Read less

Experimental theatre, Needs work, Disappointing, Based on moby dick, Metaphor of whale as opioid addiction fails

See it if you like being preached to; you support indie experiments; "Moby Dick" by Melville is a favorite book; the fishermen's problems interest you

Don't see it if you like linear narratives; you'd like to understand how addicts get addicted; you prefer a cohesive plot with actions & consequences

Also Runtime = 85 mins [not 2 hrs].... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Confusing, Slow, Great staging, Relevant

See it if You are really interested in Moby Dick. Or opioid addiction. You are better at making sense of confusing shows than I am.

Don't see it if You like shows to be coherent. It was dramatic. There were interesting enough characters. I have no idea what was happening.

Ambitious, Clever, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if .. you're interested in seeing an ambitious attempt to whaling with and opioid crisis... which falls short of coherence.

Don't see it if you don't like experimental theater

Banal, Cliched, Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating

See it if Story between moby dick and addiction was muddled. If you want a new concept play.

Don't see it if Where the music drowns out the want a show that ties out properly.

Confusing, Ambitious, Disappointing, Indulgent, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see a show with not much of a story but that tries to find parallels between Moby Dick and opioid addiction

Don't see it if You like your shows with a clear story and message. This one is sadly quite confusing

Cliched, Epic, Great staging, Indulgent, Dsitracted

See it if you're a member of the niche community of commercial fishermen affected by drug use.

Don't see it if you like stories that tell more than one side and have female characters with their own, independent arcs.

During previews
Great staging, Great acting, Un-moving

See it if you like a unique production with a nice score, and interesting back story

Don't see it if you want to come away with a moving theater experience

Also This production has some great visual effects, and is very well acted.... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (22)