Actor Jenne Vath, left, and young actor Tristan Morton during a recent rehearsal for “Ahab Inside Me”. The Forty Hour Club photo

AUGUSTA — The Colonial Theater will stage “The Ahab Inside Me” Friday through Sunday, Sept. 2-4, at the 139 Water St.

In a tale that stretches across generations and ancients — lost mariners, lost souls, lost lives — “The Ahab Inside Me” is a provocative and challenging new musical theater production that explores the traumatic impact of a fatal overdose on a fishing family and the inspiring efforts of the community to address the destructive roots of addiction, according to a news release from the The Forty Hour Club, based in Rockland.

Colonial Theater set with boat. The Forty Hour Club photo

Drawing inspiration from Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” and Captain Ahab’s obsessive pursuit of the White Whale, playwright Michael Gorman and his crew — The Forty Hour Club — a collective of independent artists dedicated to bringing awareness to the issue of opiate addiction in the commercial fishing community of Maine and New England — plan to premiere “The Ahab Inside Me” Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 2, 3 and 4, at the historic Colonial Theater.

The theater is undergoing a “rehab” of its own. A renewed effort is underway to restore the theater and bring it back to life for the cultural and economic benefit of Augusta.

Directed by Joe John Battista (artistic director of The 13th Street Repertory Company in New York City), this production will incorporate original live music and song (with full blues/rock band), spoken word, dramatic performance, commentary choruses, and community participation to restore connections lost or frayed by the compound crises of the opiate epidemic and COVID.

Performers will include community members of all ages, from both the theater and recovery communities, as well as professional actors, singers and musicians from Maine, New York City, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and California.

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In addition, a series of audience talk-backs are scheduled following the performances. On Sept. 2, Gordon Smith, state director of Opioid Response, will moderate an audience talk-back and discussion with state and local leaders working at the forefront of recovery and harm reduction in Maine. On Sept. 4, he will moderate an audience talk-back and discussion with the Maine Arts Commission and others.

The production is supported by a project grant from the commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Performances are set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Friday’s show will feature an audience talk-back led by a panel of leaders from the Addiction & Recovery Community as well as the playwright and performers in the show, and Sunday’s show will feature an audience talk-back led by a panel of leaders from the arts community as well as the playwright and performers in the show.

Admission is a $25 suggested donation, per person. A pay-what-you-can option also is available.

The production is being staged in recognition and celebration of National Recovery Month, a national observance held every September to educate Americans about substance use disorder and treatment.

For tickets and more information, visit fortyhourclub.com.

Playwright Michael Gorman’s production of “Chasing The New White Whale” at The Ellen Stewart Theater at La MaMa, New York City, in  2018. Carlos Cardona photo

 

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