#128. This show was as elusive to me as the great white whale itself. Scheduling conflicts initially deterred my visit. But eventually last night, despite CTA suckage, biking in steamy and windy conditions, I finally harpooned it. Unfortunately for you, I saw the finale performance.
The Chicago Mammals presented ALL GIRL MOBY DICK. Captain Ahab is on a vengeance streak. He wants revenge on the whale that bit off his leg. He assembles a motley crew for the kill. Among the sailors, Ishmael narrates the journey to enlightenment. The bones are familiar but The Mammals skinned this whale tale differently. ALL GIRL MOBY DICK was a maiden voyage on steroids.
Co-adapters Bob Fisher and Sara Gorsky cleverly re-imagine the classic but cast with all women. The strong female influence teases out erotic undertones of one man’s obsession and his crew’s idolization. The ladies bring out moments of true tenderness that might be missed by their male counterparts. On the flip side, it’s easy to forget these guys are girls. They fight, compete, and swear like a bunch of sailors. Under the direction of Bob Fisher, these talented ladies rock the boat. Literally, Fisher has them in-sync in a back and forth motion. It’s a lot of these special touches that made this show very see-worthy. Fight Choreographer Missy Styles keeps the scrapping and harpooning intense and riveting. There is a lot of splatting onto the floor and thrashing into the walls. In the intimate Zoo theatre, the commotion is inches away from me. I want to break it up before someone gets hurt but I guess girls will be boys.
Fisher cast out his net and pulled in some whoppers. Among the standouts, Amy E. Harmon (Ahab) gave us a haunting performance. Harmon hit it with controlled lunatic determination. Her expressions were poignant with a hardened face and raging eyes. A grunting Liz Chase (Queequeg) brings some comedy to the drama. With limited words, Chase endeared as the kindhearted indian. But it was Erin Orr (Ishmael), who steered this ship to success. Orr delivered an emotionally complex performance. Her conflict was heart-tugging. When she asked ‘I have a choice?‘ to the audience, I’m so caught up in her dilemma I nod in the affirmative. Outstanding!
I’m sorry to say this ship has sailed. But the ALL GIRL MOBY DICK legend will live on!
Running Time: Two hours and twenty minutes included an intermission
At the Zoo, 4001 N. Ravenswood
Based on the novel by Herman Melville
Adapted by Bob Fisher and Sara Gorsky
Directed by Bob Fisher
Upcoming shows www.chicagomammals.com