ROCKLAND – “Never Leaving This Boat — Fragments of a Blues Opera,” a provocative and thought-provoking new work by Maine-based playwright Michael Gorman, premiered on the Rockland waterfront during National Recovery Month. Performances will be held at the Steel House Amphitheater, 639 Main Street, on Saturday, September 11 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and Sunday, September 12 at 3 p.m., which includes a community discussion. The opera traces the rise and fall of a young commercial fisherman through the intrusion of addiction and explores the role of myth and storytelling as both sustaining and destructive forces in a community of northeast inshore fishery.
Using Melville’s 19th-century monster as a metaphor for the modern scourge of opioid addiction, Gorman explores the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic on the commercial fishing industry in a tale that spans the generations. and the elders – lost sailors, lost souls, lost lives.
“Never Leaving This Boat” will harness the deep ritualistic healing power of the blues – incorporating live original music and songs, spoken word, performances, community involvement and testimonials – to restore lost or frayed bonds by the complex crises of the opioid epidemic and COVID. Now, more than ever, the time seems right to come together as a community to celebrate the spirit of the blues and the inspiring strength of human relationships in the wake of adversity.
The production is part of Gorman’s ongoing project “Chasing The New White Whale – Harpooning Addiction” – a performance-based art and advocacy model created by the playwright and his production company, The Forty Hour Club – a collective independent artists, contractors, builders, and supporters dedicated to raising awareness of the problem of opioid addiction in the commercial fishing community of Maine and New England.
Through the use of metaphors and the sharing of personal stories by community members, the productions seek to create an open forum for discussion around critical issues in the community. The ultimate goal is to propel constructive change and help build resilience in the face of challenges such as the opioid crisis.
National Recovery Month is a national celebration that takes place each September to educate Americans about substance use disorders and their treatment. For tickets and information, visit clubfortyhour.com.
Maine Theater Fund at MaineCF seeks grant proposals