Deep Blue Sound Review: Searching for Orcas and Longing for Community

Logo The New York TimesThe New York Times
2023-06-09 18:29:50  • 3 mins

In Abe Kooglers latest play, melancholy islanders try to band together to investigate where their beloved orcas have gone.

When a group of friends and neighbors on a Pacific Northwest island go caroling, they create an amusing cacophony: Warbling in mismatched tones and keys, they stand next to each other but not together. So goes the community in Abe Kooglers new play, Deep Blue Sound friendly and supportive but made up of individuals who cant quite connect.

Although this is an ensemble show, part of Clubbed Thumbs popular incubator series Summerworks, and one with fairly evenly distributed narratives (though most are sketchily drawn because of the number of characters crammed into a concise 90 minutes), a woman named Ella emerges as the emotional center.

Partly this is because she has the most poignant story: She is dying of cancer and has decided to make use of Washington States Death With Dignity Act. And partly its because sad, scared, angry Ella is played by the brilliant Maryann Plunkett, who can turn the simple act of staring into space into a devastating insight.

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