Tale of the white whale gets downsized in ‘Bathtub Moby-Dick’

Ed Swidey creates an imaginary world in "Bathtub Moby-Dick." Credit: Daniel Kontz
Ed Swidey creates an imaginary world in “Bathtub Moby-Dick.”
Credit: Daniel Kontz

Michael Durkin and the members of his Renegade theater company were kicking around ideas for reimaginings of iconic literary works. “Moby Dick” was on their short list for a while, but they wanted to find a way to do something atypical, not just a staged version of the novel.

They found a way.

“Bathtub Moby-Dick” is premiering Wednesday, part of the 17th annual Fringe Festival. The play, as the title suggests, takes place in a bathtub, was inspired by the “Seinfeld” episode where Kramer decides to spend most of his time in the shower, even going so far as to install a garbage disposal in the bathtub drain. But don’t show up expecting a comedy.

“There are elements of humor – but it’s more sad, pathetic humor,” says Durkin, who wrote and directed the show. “It’s about not wanting to deal with reality. We’ve all been in the shower in the morning and think, ‘If I can just stay here the rest of the day, I’ll be good.’”

The play centers on a father, played by Ed Swidey, who asks the audience for help setting up a birthday party for his son. But the son is dead, and the father soon becomes overwhelmed and retreats to the bathroom, where the action switches to a live feed from a nanny cam. The audience remains in the living room, watching on a screen as the actor creates an imaginary world based on Herman Melville’s classic novel. A toy boat becomes the Pequod. First mate Starbuck is a rubber ducky.

The whole thing takes place in an apartment Durkin found through Airbnb, owned by a manager at a Center City restaurant who, conveniently, works evenings (and didn’t want his name revealed, lest his home become a hotspot for site-specific theater).

Durkin incorporated existing elements of the apartment “into the fabric of the piece,” he says. “We’ve done a couple of site-specific pieces. We’re going more towards the realm of found spaces.”

Salted rim
Medicine Womyn Mixology School is creating custom cocktails, inspired by the sea, to be sipped during the performance. The punch has a “seaweed-aloe-whiskey flavor,” Durkin says, complemented by a salted rim.

“You drink it, and your mind gets taken to this world we’re trying to create in a very literal way,” he says.

‘Bathtub Moby-Dick’
Sept. 4-22, 6 p.m.
1816 Wharton St.
$10-$15
www.therenegadecompany.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…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

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…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

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.