admin On dicembre - 19 - 2014


by Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Playwright Mike Gorman, spends his time betwixt the fervent New York theatre scene and the inspiring land of Maine, where his stories and characters come to life. As a resident of La MaMa Theatre, pillar of Off Off Broadway theatre, he has just presented his ultimate play, ‘If Colorado Had An Ocean’ – directed by David Bennett – which is the third and final chapter of ‘The Honor and Glory of Whaling.’ Those who are fans of ‘Moby Dick’ will recognise this is the same title of Chapter 82, which beings with “There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method.”

This is indeed the mood that transpires through Gorman’s semi-biographical play, inspired by Mike’s brother, who was a commercial fisherman and died of an accidental drug abuse in 1998. The daring drama, set in 1988’s Bedford, Massachusetts, tackles fishing, heroin addiction and recovery, with a touch of Melville allure, as Gorman explains: “I blend the whaling era and the modern commercial fishing eras together. The metaphor I make is between opiate addiction and the great white whale. So I’ve drawn a parallel between Ahab being an addict and the great white whale being heroin.”

Mike Gorman idiomatically implements in his work the chaos and disorder given by addiction in combination with fishing, as he explains: “Fishing is an obsessive passionate pursuit, and fisherman may perceive a high that can be addictive. There is also a lot of hard labour and pain injuries, they also sometimes get treated with prescription drugs and if these get removed, street drug heroine take the place of those drugs.”


The play runs from December 4 through December 21, at La MaMa Theatre. In conjunction, on December 17th there was an art installation – at La MaMa’s Galleria – featuring work by Gregory de la Haba, Bob Demetrius, Donald Eastman, Sarah Herboldsheimer and Marguerite White; and during the course of the evening three monologues from Mr. Gorman’s trilogy where performed by Alan Barnes Netherton, Matt Hurley and Melody Bates.

‘If Colorado had an Ocean’, is now ready to tour to New England, with the recovery community, setting a model for future playwriting. The way it focuses on complex emotional and social issues with gritty raw emotion, attests its pioneering advocacy model for theatre, as Mike Gorman says: “The environment and social issues are too important to ignore, and the value they have to connect are incredibly constructive. As playwrights we should try to focus more on writing to address those issues.”

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