The Whale at Mixed Blood

Laini Devin


The Minneapolis-based theater companies, Walking Shadow Theatre and Mixed Blood Theatre team up to perform “The Whale,” a play by Samuel D. Hunter.

“The Whale” is set in a northern Idaho town where Hunter grew up.

“All of my plays are set in that part of the country, and I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from that area over the years,” Hunter said.

During his writing process, Hunter was interested in protagonists that weren’t immediately relatable. He wanted to write a play that challenged the audience’s sense of empathy.

The play being performed by Walking Shadow Theatre took many great strides to land where it is at right now.

“After I had a first draft, it was a long process of readings and workshops before I arrived at the draft we premiered in Denver,” Hunter said. “Even after that, I continued to do rewrites throughout the first four productions.”

Amy Rummenie directs the latest production with a five-person cast. Performances begin Wendesday, November 26.

Hunter recently saw a production of “The Whale” for the first time in years.

“It was so interesting to see a snapshot of who I was as a writer two, three years ago,” he said. “I think following the play around for as long as I did taught me so much about the play, but my own craft.”

Hunter said that writing a play is like raising a child.

“You spend a lot of time developing it, nurturing it, allowing it to grow—but at a certain point you have to let it graduate high school and go off to college,” he said.

It’s all about letting go of the work and letting it adapt.

“It’s all the more exciting when you realize that productions of the play can be drastically different from one another but still communicate the simple and essential things that you were trying to get at when you first wrote the thing,” he said.

“The Whale” will perform at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis. The show will run through December 20.