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Best play: Moby-Dick

Staff Pick

The Lifecycle Building Center, a 1914 warehouse full of salvaged building materials near the railroad tracks in southwest Atlanta, may not seem a likely setting for the best play of the year, but Saïah's inventive site-specific staging of Moby-Dick proved to be genius. Many of us remember the book as a dense, difficult text we were assigned to read in high school English class. But in a luminous production, Saïah reminded audiences that ol' Melville could actually spin a damned spooky, edge-of-your-seat yarn. The audience followed the scenes of the play as they moved throughout the warehouse: a loading dock doubling as boat docks, a rolling, industrial staircase playing the roll of a small harpoon boat. The athletic cast climbed over every pole and beam in the place, raising the high-stakes excitement. A brilliant, nuanced performance by Phillip Justman as Captain Ahab and a sleek-as-a-shark adaptation by playwright John Gentile helped nail this baby shut.
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