‘Dawn of Blackfish’ in the spotlight as Suffolk’s first live audience since the pandemic


Erin Field

Erin Field’s senior capstone project “Dawn of Blackfish” was shown at Suffolk’s Sullivan Studio Theatre on Oct. 8.

Erin Field, a Suffolk University theatre major and director of “Dawn of Blackfish,” had no idea how fitting her new play would be for our modern, post-quarantine times when she wrote the play in the fall of 2020. 

“Dawn of Blackfish” was performed Oct. 8 at the Sullivan Studio Theatre as part of Field’s senior capstone project. 

The story follows the life of Clarice as she discovers how SeaWorld, her childhood haven, provides inhumane environments for the beloved orcas living there. Clarice realizes this after a tragic accident with a trainer named Dawn, her hero.

Keeping whales captive in a small pool at SeaWorld their whole lives is an animal rights issue that the performance actively conveyed to the audience. Field accomplished this by using video and audio clips from the documentary “Blackfish,” which created a multimedia production inside of the theater. 

In a Q&A with the cast following the performance, an audience member pointed out that because of the pandemic, the general public can now connect to these isolated animals. Field’s timing in producing this play amidst a global pandemic is no less than perfect in raising awareness for these spectacular creatures. 

Not only was the play important because it raised awareness for animal rights, as a capstone project, it “is the equivalent of an honors thesis paper in the theatre department,” Field said. 

Field was inspired by a homework assignment from her playwriting class last fall, which was to write an adaptation of something. Field chose the documentary “Blackfish,” due to her childhood attachment with SeaWorld and the shock the documentary gave her. 

Although it was clear that the play’s story was personal and close to her heart, Field involved many different types of people to help bring “Dawn of Blackfish” to life, including freshmen and other students from multiple departments. 

“It’s not exactly so typical for many of them to get involved. Especially this early in the year,” Fields said. “They have been absolutely amazing, hard-working, dedicated, all the things you would want.” 

Field also recognized and thanked her stage management team, Mikey McCarthy and Mea Sangiacomo, along with the Suffolk Theatre Department.

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