I usually spend a fair amount of time laboring over reviews, ensuring I cover all the bases, being thorough. In this case, I want to keep it simple to get the main point across:
Moby Dick at the Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater is the most visually stunning performance I have ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot of plays.
The cast is strong, the acting haunting, but it’s the way the players dangle and swing across the stunning stage, from soaring heights to drowning depths, that harpoon your attention and never let go, not even during Ahab’s windier monologues. The chorus of three Greek-like muses bewitch as they morph from grieving widows, to grieving whales, to seductive ocean spirits, to a vengeful Moby Dick. The sheer athleticism of the cast is awesome, and the set literally makes you feel as if you’d been swallowed whole into the belly of the whale. The tension proves how evergreen is Ahab’s struggle.
This visual treat emerges from the combined efforts of Adaptor and Director David Catlin, Set Designer Courtney O’Neill, Costume Designer Sully Ratke, and Lighting Designer William Kirkham. Kudos to them all. And a special shout out to the talented Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi for her incredible Aerial/Acrobatic Choreography.
Simply breathtaking. A few laughs. Real grief. A boatful of tension. Go see it. Now.
Moby Dick is playing at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater through Dec. 24, 2016 (1101 Sixth St. SW, Washington DC 20024). Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes with one 15 minute intermission. For information or tickets call 202-488-3300 or click here.
Photo credit: C. Stanley Photography