A storyteller’s calling is not just to write or relay words on a page but to do it so truthfully that they provoke change in their audience, altering the way people think, feel, act and believe.
In SU theatre’s production, BIG FISH, I see that the story was told with these same intentions and communicated with the purpose of leaving the audience with the utmost hope.
BIG FISH is the story of father and son, who are not as close as they used to be, once the young son, Will, has grown up to find that his father’s tales were not completely true and perhaps only exaggerated myths to get attention. Bloom’s passion for storytelling became a source of frustration and even embarrassment to his world-renowned journalist son, who during the course of the musical gets married and has a son of his own.
Traveling salesman Bloom spins such enormous tales that he alienates his son, who has never truly forgiven him for being gone so much of his childhood.
Their strained relationship is forced into reckoning when Bloom reveals he has terminal cancer.
Through Will’s journalistic searches to discover what the real truth is about his father, he discovers that his father was a real life hero, never even having told him the true story about saving an entire town to protect a close friend. This revelation brings about the reconciliation between the two.
In the end, we discover that Bloom told the tall tales so that his son would believe that life was a wild adventure and never settle for anything less for his own life.
As this salesman father sought to do, he succeeded in inspiring his son to see the world and do so much more than he did as a man, by telling him stories that would change the way he thought, felt, acted and believed about what was even possible. Sound familiar?
With its themes of truth, family, love and reconciliation, BIG FISH was a perfect choice for the SU theater department in its purpose of telling stories of hope. As the story concludes, Will and his father, Edward have healed their relationship and everyone says their beautiful farewell before he passes.
The cast did an exceptional job in the telling of this story, with lead roles being played by Tim Mereus, Blaise Phillips, and Chelsie Burks.
Direction was creatively inspired by Professor Kevin Anderton, and music and songs beautifully directed by Sue Gaukel. The set was well engineered for the space by Ted Thomas. The show was full of great costumes and creations by Jan Nisbet.
BIG FISH was an overall hit and if you happened to have missed it, let this serve as a reminder to see the next show April 7-9 when The Glass Menagerie will bring more meaningful stories to life in the theatre.