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Download Technical Rider

Available for touring and extended runs in 2012 and 2013

An extraordinary and haunting musical adventure into the psyche of a composer trying to create an opera based on Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Desperately fighting against a disease eating away at his mind, he is forced to rely on a tape recorder hung around his neck, each day pressing "Play" and hearing yesterday’s instructions to himself. Described by thee New York Timessas "an American loner-eccentric with touches of Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Beckett, and Tom Waits," Rinde Eckert displays his full creative force in this frenzied, funny, romantic and moving play.




“In Rinde Eckert’s unique play with music, directed by David Schweizer, Nathan (Eckert), an opera composer, has a degenerative disease that is so quickly and profoundly destroying his memory that he has to keep a tape recorder strapped around his neck with instructions that remind hi of who he is and what he is doing; trying to finish an opera based on “Moby Dick”. Nathan has an imaginary friend and music, Olivia (the multitalented Nora Cole), who enacts the opera with him and keeps him on task.  Every element of Eckert’s play is masterly – his performances as a grown man becoming a child is poignant, his music varied and lovely, his dancing divine, his musings profound.”                                           

                                                                                The New Yorker  - March 5, 2012

 “This double sense, both comic and tragic, of human inadequacy and divine aspiration is what gives ‘Whales’ its enduring appeal, including to audiences who usually steer clear of the avant-garde. It values the gesture, the reaching for immortality, that is a part of all art. As anyone over 40 knows, individual memory is fragile and increasingly full of holes. In ‘Whales’ Mr. Eckert gives sweet, silly and sad form to the hope that our memories survive intact in what we create. This makes his production, directed by David Schweizer and also starring Nora Cole, deeply sentimental or, if you prefer, sentimentally deep. ‘Whales’ sometimes lays on the heart-struck whimsy as thickly as a Frank Capra movie. But the show is affecting in darker, deeper ways too. As Nathan struggles to re-create the music lost in his mind, Mr. Eckert summons the terror we all sometimes experience, that we are gradually disappearing. Large boned and bald headed, Mr. Eckert’s Nathan is hardly an invisible man. Yet he often seems to dissolve before our eyes. And the show’s excellent layered sound-design means we’re never quite sure where the music we occasionally hear is originating. Composed by Mr. Eckert, the score is often quite beautiful in a Benjamin Brittenesque way (Nathan’s catalog of the timbres of instruments and voices is priceless.). Early in the show, as Nathan listens to his recorded voice, Mr. Eckert’s face blossoms into an expression of agreeable surprise. Nathan is pleased to make his own acquaintance. You’re likely to share his delight.”                               
                                                                                New York Times - February 15, 2012

“The Culture Project had one of its earliest successes with Rinde Eckert's richly conceived work. To celebrate its return to its former home at 45 Bleecker, the company has remounted the OBIE Award-winning two-hander, which remains a stunning piece of music theater. Among the vocal highlights is a sermon aria which Eckert delivers with passion. As a singer, Eckert is able to traverse an impressive range, seeming equally comfortable with a richly textured baritone and a clarion falsetto. Cole's gorgeous soprano is also shown off nicely within the piece.  The piece has a strong arc. Its themes of creation and the pursuit of the unattainable are emotionally resonant and dramatically satisfying.”                           

                                                                                Theater Mania - February 13, 2012

 “It does have going for it an emotionally resonant take on human frailty and Eckert’s bravura performance as the composer, bumbling and exuberant, childlike and deeply felt. When his shockingly nimble singing voice rises to declaim a preacher’s sermon or recedes to the whispered squeak of a terrified boy aboard the whaling ship, we can hear intimations of the sweep of one man’s life–and the journey to sea that awaits us all.”                                                                        The Broadway Blog – February 17, 2012

The Stage Dive Weekend Roundup Vulture (blog) * Feb 17, 2012


“The multi-talented Eckert created, composed, made the sound design and wrote And God Created Great Whales, and gives a dazzling performance that includes not only brilliantly original acting, but also brilliantly original singing. Many composers and theater artists through the years have significantly harpooned ‘Moby Dick’, including Orson Welles, Bernard Herrmann and Laurie Anderson. Eckert has created a great Whales.”                                    Los Angeles Times, Mark Swed – January 26, 2012

Kiowa County Signal * Jan 26, 2012