Fringe 2018 review: 'Enter, Pursued by a Whale' is perplexing, rapid-fire and very, very funny


“Exit, pursued by a bear” may be the most famously confounding stage direction in Shakespeare, but Enter, Pursued by a Whale is every bit as head-spinning, and far funnier. This new play by Orlando author Irene L. Pynn stars Ken Pruess as Hawel, an atheist Bible salesman who has been involuntarily retired. His wife, Mel (Traci McGough), and boozy, bickering neighbors (Peri Goldberg, Jim Cundiff) have gathered for surprise celebration of his newfound freedom, but Hawel is more worried about the massive marine mammal that’s inexplicably following him.

In Pynn’s perplexing yet fascinating one-act, the characters engage in circular debate over the significance of Hawel’s unseen stalker, invoking literary allusions to Melville and Joseph Campbell along the way. The only one who seems to have a grip on what’s going on is the D&D-obsessed pool boy, Leviathan (Daniel Molina), who counsels Hawel as his reality begins to crumble.

Under Rob Cunha’s breathless direction, Enter Pursued by a Whale is like a lost Pinter play without any of the pauses. The rapid-fire repartee is confusing yet clever, with each character functioning as both a comic foil to Hawel’s haplessness and a metaphor for his mental breakdown. There’s a message about finding your passion and pursuing it into the belly of the beast, and you may find yourself mulling over the enigmatic ending’s true meaning for hours after. I emerged more than a bit muddled, but this play harpooned my attention until the final moment, which is the true white whale for every Fringe show to pursue.

Enter, Pursued by a Whale
Renie and Rob Productions, Atlamonte Springs, FL
13 & Up - Some PG-13 Language
60 Minutes
Blue Venue
Friday, May 18, 2018 @ 7:30 PM
Saturday, May 19, 2018 @ 1:00 PM
Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 6:00 PM
Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 10:30 PM
Saturday, May 26, 2018 @ 6:00 PM

Check out ALL of our Fringe 2018 reviews at

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.