In an ambitious new production—using Melville’s 19th-century monster as a metaphor for the modern plague of opioid addiction, playwright Michael Gorman explores the ruinous effects of the epidemic on the commercial fishing industry. 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.
Featuring a mythical chorus of ghostly whale hunters and modern day commercial fishermen inspired by Ahab’s stowaway crew—”Fedallah and the Phantoms”— Chasing The New White Whale explores the current National opioid crisis through the unique lens of the commercial fishing industry.
MIKE GORMAN is the newly appointed Playwright in Residence for La MaMa’s 57th Season and Director of The Forty Hour Club, a resident company of La MaMa.
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Trey Adams, Khari Constantine, Chris Cornwell, Mark Daly, Mike Gorman,
Rae Nelson, Alan Barnes Netherton, Meridith Nicholaev, Jim Reitz, Sabrina Fara Tosti, Victoria A. Villier
Stage Manager by Kathryn Meister
Lighting Design by Chris Akerlind
Costume Design by Sarah Boyden
Set Design by Donald Eastman
Projection Design by Lacey Erb / Donna Daly
Music Composed & Performed by Sammo & Billy Flynn
“Having lost my brother to opiate addiction, and having imbued the [work]with his spirit, I think many others will find some solace from this epidemic that is larger than all of us,” says Gorman.
With his story of opioids in the fishing industry, playwright tests the waters in Portland
“Gorman sees himself as an everyman playwright with working-class sensibilities. He wants to create art ‘about the chorus of invisible people’ whose stories are not told on stage. ‘A voice in society, that’s something that’s been denied addicts and working-class people. I want to tell their stories,’ he said.”