The Whale

by  Samuel D. Hunter

Full Length Play, Drama  /  2m, 3f

A six-hundred-pound recluse, hiding away from the world and slowly eating himself to death, is given one last chance at redemption.

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2m, 3f
  • Duration

    Duration

    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Not Applicable
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    From Off-Broadway
  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • Monologues
    • Scene work
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

On the outskirts of Mormon Country, Idaho, a six-hundred-pound recluse hides away in his apartment and slowly eats himself to death. Desperate to reconnect with his long-estranged daughter, he reaches out to her, only to find a viciously sharp-tongued and wildly unhappy teen. Big-hearted and fiercely funny, The Whale tells the story of a man's last chance at redemption, and of finding beauty in the most unexpected places.
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Accolades

  • WINNER - 2013 Lucille Lortel Award, Best Play 
    WINNER - 2013 Drama Desk Special Award for Significant Contribution to Theatre 
    WINNER - 2013 GLAAD Media Award, Outstanding New York Theatre 
    NOMINEE - 2013 Drama League Award, Outstanding Production of a Play 
    NOMINEE - 2013 Outer Critics Circle Awards, Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play 
    NOMINEE - 2013 John Gassner Award, Oustanding New American Play
    FINALIST - 27th Annual Lambda Literary Award, for best LGBT Drama of 2014/15

    Samuel D. Hunter is a 2014 MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellow 
    Samuel D. Hunter is the 2012 recipient of the Whiting Award for Drama

Reviews



REVIEWS

"Riveting [...] An impassioned and arresting clash of minds and emotions. I was glued to the stage [...] Equally dynamic and horrifying." - New York Observer, Read More

"Vibrant and provocative [...] Hunter explores his material with sharp-eared skill and sensitivity." - Village VoiceRead More

"Extraordinary. As he did in his breakthrough play A Bright New Boise, Hunter has constructed an outsize, gothic scenario in tender miniature." - New York MagazineRead More

"FOUR STARS. A deeply affecting and piercingly amusing play by Samuel D. Hunter [...] Leaves an emotional wallop in its wake." - New York Daily NewsRead More

"CRITIC'S PICK. FOUR STARS. Sharp and funny [...] Harrowingly good, endowing [its main character] with wit and dignity." - Time Out New YorkRead More

Samuel D. Hunter on The Whale

"Though the story of The Whale is fundamentally a story of a father trying to reconnect with a daughter, he's doing so by trying to teach her how to write a good essay. But in teaching her how to write a good essay, he's trying to teach her how to think independently and how to relate to other people. Ultimately, he's teaching her how to have empathy." Read the entire essay here.

RELATED ARTICLES ON BREAKING CHARACTER

A Gripping Redemption: THE WHALE
by Julia Izumi
February 25, 2015

Videos

  • Samuel D. Hunter, Advice on Producing His Plays
  • Becoming Charlie, South Coast Rep
  • The Whale, Playwrights Horizons Trailer
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Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Professional Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Intense Adult Intense Adult Themes
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $100 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Present Day, New Millennium/21st Century
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: Northern Idaho, the present.
  • Additional Features: No intermission
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Elaborate / High Volume Costumes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)

Casting

2m, 3f
CHARLIE - Early to mid-forties, male, weighing around 600 lbs.
LIZ - Mid to late-thirties, female.
ELDER THOMAS - 19, male.
ELLIE - 17, female.
MARY - Early to mid-forties, female.
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Features Teens
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)

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Authors

Samuel D. Hunter

Samuel D. Hunter’s plays include The Whale (Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, GLAAD Media Award, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Play), A Bright New Boise (Obie Award, Drama Desk nomination for Best Play), The Few, A Great Wilderness, Rest, Pocatello, Lewiston, Cl ...

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The Whale was developed in part at the Denver Center Theatre Company's 2011 New Play Summit. The play had its world premiere at the Ricketson Theatre in Denver, Colorado, presented by the Denver Center Theatre Company in January 2012. It was directed by Hal Brooks. The play was first presented Off Broadway by Playwrights Horizons at the Peter J. Sharp Theatre on October 12, 2012. It was directed by Davis McCullum.

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