Fish House Opera

"A daily theater unfolds in small community fish houses, scenes of humor, advice, teasing, disappointments, obligations, expectations, and familiarity. The players are fishermen, dealers, neighbors, and kin, but roles blur and relationships intertwine in a small town. The wooden floors, one moment slick with scales and slime and the next hosed down clean, form the stage. Fish boxes stacked neatly, "poly-dac" rope snaking across the floor, and work gloves dropped here and there serve as props. The gurgle of diesel engines mixed with static from VHF radios plays a background symphony to the subtle dramas that unfold."

Fish House Opera by Susan West and Barbara Garrity-Blake

FHOsm.jpg (60K)
 The cover of Fish House Opera, Mystic Seaport Press, 2003
Milton Styron, 
Davis, North Carolina 
Fishing families live by the values considered truly American: independence, risk-taking, and honest hard work. Yet, in the competition over uses of the sea and protection of its resources, fishermen often become victims rather than equal participants in the search for solutions. Taking place in 16 "acts" on and beside the broad waters of North Carolina, Fish House Opera offers eloquent testimony on the issues facing commercial fishing families today. Here they share their delight in being fully engaged in a life well-lived and their despair at seeing that way of life changed beyond their control. With all the comic and tragic elements of a classic opera, Fish House Opera will resonate with anyone seeking to comprehend the nature of American life at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Susan West and Barbara Garrity-Blake's Fish House Opera (Mystic Seaport Press)  is available at Mystic Seaport Museum, NC Maritime Museum, Dee Gees Books in Morehead City, and online at Manteo Booksellers. 
The Miss Gina, Core Sound Trawler
Culling crabs at Full Circle Crab Co.
Susan West and
Barbara Garrity-Blake,
Hatteras Island
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