Going down laughing: ‘Jimmy Titanic’ might be first comedy about ‘unsinkable’ ship

Colin Hamell takes on 20 roles to tell the story of the ill-fated oceanliner in "Jimmy Titanic."
Colin Hamell takes on 20 roles to tell the story of the ill-fated oceanliner in “Jimmy Titanic.”

“Humorous” might be the last thing most people would call the story of the ill-fated Titanic, but that’s the word actor Colin Hamell uses to describe the New Repertory Theatre’s “Jimmy Titanic.”

“This is the Titanic as you’ve never seen it before,” says Hamell.

An Irish shipbuilder named Jimmy Boylan is the central character, but Hamell takes on 20 roles that include European immigrants, a politician, a New York Times editor, first-class passengers, angels — and God.

“The heaven scenes really add the humor,” explains the actor. “Archangel Gabriel is very effeminate and God is played as an inner-city, chain-smoking Dublin gangster type.”

The scenes between these two are Hamell’s favorites to perform.

“They appear in the play when they’re needed,” he explains. “The demise of the Titanic is such a tragic story. These scenes lift the audience back up again.”

There are no costume changes — or sets — in the show, so Hamell must carefully differentiate between each character.

“The key is very clear body language: the way you stand, the way you hold your hand for each character,” he says. “You get to recognize each one as the play unfolds.”

Changing accents, too, is crucial. Hamell, who grew up outside of Dublin, has had to master quite a few accents: Northern Irish, French, Spanish, English and American.

Offering more than just laughs (and there are many), “Jimmy Titanic” explores the event from all sides, and perhaps from some sides many Americans have not considered. “A lot of people don’t realize the ship was built in Belfast,” says Hamell, who plays the mayor of Northern Ireland’s capital city in part of the show. “He’s very upset that their ship building industry will suffer because the Titanic went down.”

If you go

“Jimmy Titanic”
June 19-30
Black Box Theater
321 Arsenal St., Watertown
$36, 617-923-8487
newrep.org


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.