The Whale

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Whale Poster

by Samuel D. Hunter
directed by Kristen Van Ginhoven
sponsor: Lake George RV Park

July 10 – 12 and 16 – 19 at 7:30 pm
July 16 at 2:00 pm
Opening Night: Friday, July 11









Steve Barnes of Albany Times Union declares The Whale “one of the summer’s most powerful plays” with “an extraordinary performance in the title role by Timothy Carter.”

Bob Goepfert of The Saratogian calls ATF’s staging “a magnificent production.”

2013 Lucille Lortell Award for Best Play

2013 Drama Desk Special Award for Significant Contribution to Theatre

“Critic’s pick. Four stars. Sharp and funny…Harrowingly good, endowing [its main character] with wit and dignity.” — Time Out NY

Brenny Rabine (Liz) and Timothy Carter (Charlie)

Brenny Rabine (Liz)
and Timothy Carter (Charlie)
Photo by Jim McLaughlin

Timothy Carter (Charlie)
and Betsy Hogg (Ellie)
Photo by Jim McLaughlin

Continuing its commitment of producing the very best in contemporary theatre for this region’s audiences, ATF presents Samuel D. Hunter’s award-winning and critically acclaimed new play. The Whale has been sweeping the country as one of the most talked about plays and this special ATF production is sure to have local audiences talking this summer.

Small-town Idaho is the setting for the characters who inhabit the world of this touching play. Charlie, a 600-lb man is slowly eating himself to an early grave. His caretaker and friend, Liz, has been trying to get Charlie to see a doctor for years, to no avail. Charlie teaches online writing courses from his Idaho apartment; his weight keeps him isolated from the physical world outside. His daughter, Ellie, a teenager who’s pushing against the adults in her life, suddenly shows up at his door. So does Elder Thomas, a young Mormon on his two-year mission. Charlie deals with more than weight issues; issues from his past have brought him to a crisis in the present. The people and the place draw you deep into the story through Hunter’s skillful writing which is fundamentally the story of a father trying to reconnect with his daughter before it is too late.

The Whale contains adult themes and language.


The cast of The Whale talks about this moving piece and what it means to them:

Samuel D. Hunter’s plays include A Bright New Boise (OBIE Award for Playwriting, Drama Desk Nomination for Best Play; original production at Partial Comfort Productions, NYC; second production at Woolly Mammoth Theater Sam HunterCompany), The Whale (Playwrights Horizons, Victory Gardens, and South Coast Rep; original production at the Denver Center), Jack’s Precious Moment (Page 73 at 59E59), Five Genocides (Clubbed Thumb), A Permanent Image (Boise Contemporary Theater), and Norway (Boise Contemporary Theater, Phoenix Theater of Indianapolis). He has active commissions from Seattle Rep, South Coast Rep, Lincoln Center, and Manhattan Theater Club. His plays have been developed at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, JAW West, Ojai Playwrights Conference, and the Pacific Playwrights Festival. He is the recipient of the 2008-2009 PONY Fellowship, the 2011 Sky Cooper Prize, two Lincoln Center Le Compte du Nuoy Awards, and will be a resident playwright at Arena Stage in 2013. He is an ensemble playwright at Victory Gardens, a core member of the Playwrights Center, a company member of Partial Comfort Productions, and an alum of Ars Nova’s Playgroup. Internationally, his work has been translated into Spanish and presented in Mexico City and Monterrey, and he has worked in the West Bank with Ashtar Theatre of Ramallah and Ayyam al-Masrah of Hebron. At Ashtar, he co-wrote The Era of Whales which was performed in Ramallah and Istanbul. He holds degrees in playwriting from NYU, the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and Juilliard. A native of northern Idaho, Mr. Hunter lives in New York City.

The Whale by Samuel D. Hunter is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.



Learn a little bit about our 2014 illustrator,
Reneé Leigh Stephenson.

Click the logo below to learn more about our exciting lobby art display for the season!

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