You remember when we started to hunt whales again?
We fought monsters and we killed them and wrestled the oil from their dead bodies and we sold it.
In the future we hunt whales for the oil in their bodies. Just like they did in centuries past. The oil of a single whale can run an army for a week. This is new science. This is our future. So we send gangs of men out onto the dark, cold sea to bring back the things we need.
The crew of the Pequod are going to sea because it's their job. But Ahab, captain of the Pequod, is not going to sea for the oil or for the money. Ahab is going for revenge. Revenge on the vast whale that took him down into the black depths of the ocean. Revenge on the greatest whale in all the oceans: a perfectly white whale. And Ishmael, a young man new to whaling, is going to sea seeking a hunter's violence, trying to stop the thoughts of violence in his heart.
And we are all going with them.
The White Whale premiered on 4 September 2014, at Leeds Dock, UK in a production by Slung Low theatre company.
About the Author
James Phillips is a British playwright and director. Educated at St Catherine's College, University of Oxford, Phillips's first play, The Rubenstein Kiss (2005), won both the John Whiting Award and the TMA Award for Best Play. He was also a recipient of the National Arts Endowment Award for his first professional production as a director, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (Pleasance, London). He is a selector for the NSDF and wrote a new adaptation of The Wind in the Willows for the NSDF Ensemble, performed at Latitude Festival. Other plays include The Little Fir Tree (2004) and Hidden in the Sand (2013).