In 1820, the whaling ship Essex, from the New England island of Nantucket, was shattered and sunk by a huge sperm whale. The crew was left to drift in an open lifeboat in the Pacific for more than 90 days and ended up cannibalising each other to survive.
The Watery Part of the World was Sound&Fury’s devised piece which blurred the Essex story with moments from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, the whaling epic, to create a truly unsettling feeling of being cast adrift in an ocean that promises adventure but ends up being a tragically grim account. Seventy minutes of total darkness and surround sound effects were punctuated with only occasional low level lighting to show actors’ heads bobbing in the darkness to intone elegies for the dead or to question the haunted survivors.
Commissioned and developed at BAC
Performers: Alex Dunbar, Tom Espiner, Cameron Fitch, Simon Snashall, Pete Townsend, Martin Welton.
Director: Mark Espiner
Sound Designers: Carolyn Downing and Gareth Fry
Additional Sound Design: Dan Jones
Technical Manager: Chris Umney
Sound Operator and Technicians: Gareth Fry, Mike Winship
Set Design Mark Anstee
Lighting Design: Simon Macer-Wright
Critical Acclaim for The Watery Part of The World
"An extraordinary piece of theatre. Form and content are perfectly married. It has a beautifully written script. Mark Espiner's finely acted production creates a piece of total theatre that doesn't just happen all around you but that, like the dark ravenous sea, swallows you up completely." The Guardian