Rinde Eckert’s And God Created Great Whales Explores Themes of Loss and the Unattainable, October 17-19

Friday, September 21, 2012

CONTACT: Sarah Snyder
(301) 405-8151

September 21, 2012 – College Park, MD – Rinde Eckert explores themes of loss, creation and the unattainable in And God Created Great Whales on October 17-19 at 8 p.m. in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center’s Kogod Theatre.

Equal parts tragedy and comedy, the piece follows Nathan, a piano tuner and composer who is losing his mind and memory, on his quest to write one final opus—an opera based on Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. As Nathan suffers the devastating effects of memory loss related to a degenerative illness, he leaves himself tape-recorded instructions and visual aids to jar his memory and relies on his imaginary muse, Olivia (played by Nora Cole), for inspiration and advice. As Nathan strives to create one last grand work before his mind dies, he and Olivia take on the roles of Moby-Dick’s most memorable characters, including Ishmael, Queequeg, Starbuck and Captain Ahab.

Join the artists for a Talk Back after the October 17 and 18 performances.

About And God Created Great Whales

Eckert’s piece was first workshopped and presented in January 2000 at New York’s PS 122, a nonprofit arts organization renowned as an incubator for new and experimental work. It received its world premiere in June 2000 in an off-Broadway presentation at Dance Theatre Workshop, winning an OBIE Award and a Drama Desk nomination. Critics characterize the current production as a return to the original concept, which incorporates such diverse references as Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Beckett and Tom Waits.

According to the New York Times, “… the double sense, both comic and tragic, of human inadequacy and divine aspiration is what gives ‘Whales’ its enduring appeal.”

About Rinde Eckert

Rinde Eckert is a writer, composer, librettist, musician, performer and director. Known for his evocative and haunting performance pieces, he pushes the boundaries of what a "play," a "dance piece," an "opera" or a "musical" might be.

During his long association with the Clarice Smith Center, which began with a week-long residency in the 2004-2005 season, Eckert has examined the nooks and crannies of the human mind in multiple works of music and theatre. His 2009-2010 production Slide, with Steven Mackey and eighth blackbird, recently received a Grammy award and, in February 2012, Eckert was designated a Doris Duke Artist for his "demonstrated evidence of exceptional creativity, ongoing self-challenge and the continuing potential to make significant contributions to [his field] in the future.”

He most recently appeared at the Center with eighth blackbird and Steve Mackey in Slide during the 2009–2010 season.


More information can be found on our web site. Tickets for this performance are $35 adults/$10 students and youth. They can be purchased online or by calling (301) 405-ARTS (2787).


The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Learn more about the Clarice Smith Center's donor support.