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The Watery Part of the World

Directed by
Mark Espiner
Performed by
Alex Dunbar, Tom Espiner, Cameron Fitch, Simon Snashall, Pete Townsend, Martin Welton.
18 Mar - 19 Mar 2004

Fuel presents The Watery Party of the World

Commissioned and developed at BAC

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 promised adventure but ended 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.

Creative Team

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


""An immensely powerful experience. To say it leaves you feeling all at sea is high praise indeed.""

The Times

""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

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Project History