Best Premiere - 2012
When Samuel D. Hunter's The Whale was read at the Denver Center Theatre Company's New Play Summit in 2011, we all wondered how a work that centered on a morbidly obese man slowly dying while anchored to his couch would fare in full production — and the production mounted by the DCTC this season laid all those concerns to rest. While Charlie's world is static, the action is essentially emotional and metaphoric rather than physical. He may be anchored to his couch, but he's visited by several people: a friend who's determined to try to help him, a nineteen-year-old Mormon, his ex-wife and — most important — the estranged daughter with whom he's determined to make some kind of connection. Well-cast and -directed, this premiere illuminated the profound half-submerged contours of The Whale and illuminated its large-spirited gentleness.