The Sea Wolf

Full Length Drama – Single Set – 9 Men, 1 Woman


Photos Courtesy of Hardcover Theater

Based on the novel by Jack London

Adapted for the stage by: Steve Schroer, Mark Jensen, and Justin Maxwell

Description: When a shipwrecked gentlemen is rescued at sea by Captain Wolf Larsen and the crew of the Ghost, his journey into desperation begins.

Synopsis: Considered one of the best novels by Jack London, The Sea-Wolf is both a gripping adventure story and a penetrating study of philosophical conflict. Hump, an educated gentleman, is leaving San Francisco Bay during a foggy morning, when his ship slams into another and he is washed out into the Pacific Ocean. Rescued by the crew of the Ghost, he is forced to be part of the crew to earn his keep.

However since he is educated, he also gains the dubious attention of Wolf Larsen, Captain of the Ghost. Wolf Larsen loves to drive his men to the point of mutiny so he can have the pleasure of beating them into submission. But Larsen isn’t just a brute – he’s an intelligent, articulate nihilist whose actions match his unflinching philosophy. Hump and Captain Larsen form an uneasy intellectual truce. Then a young woman comes on board, and both men are forced to test their philosophies in a dangerous battle of idealism and survival.

Why It Was Written: I was asked to work on this project at the last minute by Steve Schroer, artistic director for Hardcover Theater. The book sounded great, but unfortunately I had never read it. Making things more complicated was that we were about to leave on a family trip to Chicago. So I bought the novel on Friday, spent all of Saturday and most of Sunday reading it, and then started writing new scenes and incorporating them into the current draft. I remember getting through Act One by Monday night. Since we were leaving for Chicago on Wednesday, I was up late Tuesday night until about 4 in the morning working on Act Two.

I don’t think I pulled off the second act of the play as well, but apparently it was enough to build on during rehearsal. Altogether, I only spend five days working on this piece! Since the characters also needed to perform under duress, the writing process probably helped us better dramatize the novel(?). A terrific production. If you like Jack London, this might be your play.

Theatrical Licensing: Hardcover Theater