THE WHALE and the kind of people you don't typically see on stage

by Shawn Knight

Nashville’s Verge Theater Company has, as part of its mission, the goal of giving voice to the voiceless, portraying the kinds of people not typically seen on stage, and this is certainly true of the character of Charlie in their current production of Samuel D. Hunter’s The Whale.

Consider the first scene of the play: as Charlie, the title character, sits at his computer, he begins to suffer chest pains; he desperately reaches for his cell phone, only to knock it out of reach just as a Mormon missionary appears at his door. This scenario is certainly not commonly seen on the stage.

I have the honor and challenge of playing Charlie, a morbidly obese gay man facing his own mortality and trying to make amends with his ex-wife, his best friend, and his estranged daughter. A myriad of themes pepper this play, but one stands out as particularly relevant during LGBT pride month—acceptance.

What has caused Charlie to find himself approaching 600 pounds is the guilt he feels, not over who he is, but for the way he has been able to help or not help those in his life as they have been challenged to accept themselves. This seems cryptic, but I fear giving away details of the plot. The Whale is a play that deserves to be seen and experienced with as little known about the characters as possible. It is filled with mysteries to be solved, as they are slowly revealed throughout the play, but it is ultimately his inability to save his own partner from fear and doubt and family expectations that consumes Charlie. And this inability drives him desperately to save others.

The danger of failing to accept and love others is not limited to the victim; the waves of pain and destruction ripple through all of the victim’s relationships, destroying so many more. But what one does in response to cruelty is a true measure of a life.

Charlie’s desperate need to make amends, to heal wounds, to save others is on a clock. His health will not allow him much more time, and as he sees the end approaching, he fights even harder. He will no longer passively accept the hatred that has spawned so much cruelty. Disease and all, Charlie’s heart is strong and filled with love, and a central question of The Whale is whether or not he can triumph over the hate to build a better world and, in the end, a stronger person to fight for the next generation.

This fight should be an inspiration to all.


For more information on The Whale, see






WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less