A whale of a play

Credit: Alexander Iziliae
Credit: Alexander Iziliae

“These waves have been killing us.”

That’s not a line of dialogue from the Wilma Theater’s latest production, “Under the Whaleback,” though it could be. Richard Bean’s play traces the life of a British fishing vessel during three different decades, including a fatal storm at sea. But in this case those words were spoken offstage, by technical director Clayton Tejada, about the intricate choreography of lights, sound, and hydraulics needed to portray that storm on stage.

The Wilma’s set, designed by Matt Saunders, represents the trawler in cross section, with hydraulic pistons which cause it to lurch up to three feet on either side. The open design of the ship’s cabin, inspired by director Blanka Zizka’s research in Hull, England, where the play is set, and on architectural drawings which Saunders studied, is meant to evoke the feeling of being on the ship itself. The sensation is enhanced by intricate lighting schemes and forty small speakers planted under seats throughout the theater that allow the sound of the waves to wash through the audience.

“We didn’t have to have a flat set with the actors running back and forth, acting like they’re on a moving boat,” Saunders says. “I started researching a lot of blueprints of boats, architectural drawings of boats, and found the cross-sections to be really stageworthy. I didn’t want to illustrate the sea around the boat, but to focus on the boat itself as an iconic object.”

A few hours before the show’s first preview performance, Tejada joked that crew members were taking bets on when the first audience member would become seasick. No one involved with the production had turned green just yet, but Saunders is hoping their efforts translate to a realistic experience for the audience. “The movement of hydraulic pistons isn’t metaphysically equivalent to the movement of the sea, so we’re trying to massage that with lights and sound,” he says. “We’re trying to make the movement of the boat as mysterious and dangerous as possible.”

 

If you go
‘Under the Whaleback’
Through April 7
Wilma Theater
265 South Broad St.
$39-$66, 215-546-7824
www.wilmatheater.org



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.