This fast-paced adventure story takes its inspiration from Coleridge’s Mariner, an 18th-century sailor who is cursed with immortality and thrust into the modern world. Written and performed as a rollicking sea yarn, Albatross delivers a profound and relevant message about mindfulness and the effect of our thoughtless actions on all living things. The audience sets sail in a spare but visually thrilling stagecraft, powered by the latest multimedia technology. Immersed in this sensory otherworld, audiences come to find out who the Mariner is, why he must forever tell his story, and what he is searching for as he roams the earth.
About “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”:
Although Albatross acts as a prequel of sorts, it is heavily based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem of memory, penance, and navigation through the spirit and the natural worlds. In it, a nameless man known only as a The Mariner weaves a tale to a wedding guest about a ship sailing to the South Pole becoming enveloped in a storm.
In this tale, an albatross appears and seemingly leads them to good winds, but is inexplicably shot by the Mariner. The crew, outraged, believed the sea bird to be a good omen causing the winds to blow. But soon after, the clouds break and the fog lifts. The good winds also cease, leaving the crew trapped out on a calm sea. Believing the Mariner’s actions angered a spirit, the sailors hang the dead bird around his neck.
As circumstances grow dire, the crew is approached by a ghostly ship. Two haunted figures, Death and Life in Death, roll dice for the soul of the sailors. Life and Death wins the soul of the Mariner while the sailors begin to die of thirst all around them.
The Mariner, surrounded by the dead bodies of his crew, prays to heaven. He is visited by water snakes swimming besides the ship. He realizes the beauty of not only these creatures but that of all of nature. The albatross falls from his neck and into the sea.
Falling into a trance, The Mariner awakens to find the Sailors reanimated by angels and at work on the ship. The ship is now heading back home at full speed. In the distance he sees a small boat with a crew of three— a Pilot, the Pilot’s Boy, and a hermit. The Mariner’s ship sinks, and he finds himself on this small boat. The Mariner rows them to shore, and in turn the Hermit grants him absolution from his sins.
Back in the present, the Mariner explains to the wedding guest that he feels compelled to tell this tale, and this particular guest seemed to be a man who needed to hear it. His greatest lesson to impart being that prayer is life’s greatest joy and that the best prayers are of those revering God’s creations.
“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” the longest major poem Samuel Taylor Coleridge, is considered a landmark poem and a classic of the romantic idiom, despite its use of archaic language. It is unique in that it has little in common with other Romantic works and gives the impression that the “Rime” is an ancient ballad. By describing the Mariner as “ancient,” Coleridge makes him a timeless artifact which has always existed and always will exist.
The spelling of the word “Rime” has different levels of meaning. On the most basic level, the poem is a “rhyme”— rhyming verses— told by an old sailor, or mariner. The spelling “rime” refers to frost, specifically frost that forms in fog and wind when the temperature cools down. “Rime” often forms on the windy side of sails and ships. Much of the poem takes place in the Arctic, in a “land of ice and snow” where “rime” is found. The Mariner himself is described as being “frosty,” for example his beard is described as frosty or, “hoary” (7.142). Some critics suggest that the use of “Rime” is symbolic of the Mariner's soul being covered with a layer of frost until he learns to have pity on his fellow creatures.
The albatross has become a symbol of the heavy burden of guilt (albatross around one’s neck) because of the popularity and endurance of the poem. It is an English language idiom describing “a heavy burden of guilt that becomes an obstacle to success.”
Spellbinding. The narrative is jocular and dramatic, scintillating and vernacular by turns.
Mariner: 18th Century British sailor and navigator. Rough, uncouth, and poetic. He also voices other characters in the play.
About the Mariner
In every sense, the Mariner is everyman. He shows tenderness and cruelty, gets caught in disastrous situations that are partially of his own making, defiles nature and then gains appreciation for the natural world, and ultimately moves from random acts to accepting that there is a price associated with how we live our lives. A fresh and compelling character who captivates audiences, the Mariner, as created by Matthew Spangler and Benjamin Evett, is rough and uncouth, funny and harsh, iconic and unforgettable.
Setting: Bristol, England, 1720. Also a privateer ship on the high seas of the Atlantic, Antarctic, and Pacific Oceans. An empty stage in a theater becomes multiple locations and times through changes in lighting, sound, and set decoration.
Performance Royalties for AMATEUR and EDUCATIONAL Groups begin at $90.00 per performance for theaters under 150 seats, and rise depending on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote.
Performance Royalties for PROFESSIONAL Theaters will be quoted as a box office percentage, with a minimum guarantee based on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote.
An Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement (see Materials).
Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement.
“Captivating!” –Boston Globe
“An adaptation of Coleridge’s ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ that winningly references Freud and Margaret Thatcher? Yes. The seemingly anachronistic elements resonate with period-appropriate verisimilitude to round out the mysterious figure of Coleridge’s poem into a fully fleshed character. No matter how painful it is to share, this storyteller cannot resist his duty to tell it. And what artist couldn’t relate to that?” –Boston Globe
“Albatross gives classic poem a gritty edge.” –azcentral.com
“Albatross is riveting. An affecting theatrical piece that you will long remember.” –Broadwayworld
“Evert grabs us and yanks us willingly throughout this 85-minute monologue, leaving us fulfilled and uplifted on the shore of our newly acquired awareness.” – Frontmessjunkies.com
“A stirring production centered around a masterful performance.” – Theatre is Easy
“Updated with energy and imagination, “Albatross” resonates with 21st-century environmentalism, but its deeper message — about the unfathomable mystery of the human mind — remains timeless.” – Azcentral.com
“A dedication to drama as exhilarating language rather than eye-popping spectacle.” – Artsfuse
“It’s nothing less than an amazing experience of live theater.” – Altoona Mirror
An Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement. Your materials will be sent to you two months prior to your opening date, unless other arrangements have been made in advance with your Stage Rights Licensing Representative.
The Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package for ALBATROSS consists of:
9 Production Scripts / $120.00 (shipping included)
Production Scripts for Plays are professionally printed and bound with a full-color cover.
You will have the option to purchase additional Production Scripts at a discounted rate when you complete your Licensing Agreement.
Official Logo Pack Now Included! To help you promote your show, Stage Rights now includes a logo pack with your license. The logo pack includes high resolution versions (both color and black and white) of our show logo. The logo is the portion of the artwork with the title of the show. The surrounding artwork is also available for an additional fee.
Stage Manager’s Script – Printed on standard 8.5” x 11” 3-hole-punched paper, with the same page numbers and text as the Printed Production Scripts, but with more space on the page for notes and cues.