note: entire contents copyright 2000 by Larry Stark
Joseph Zamparelli, Jr.
This floating show has a whole harbor-full of history, pegged to the sights and wharves and islands on a Boston Harbor Cruise. An actor, a singer, an ocarina, a big trunk-full of hats and quick-change costumes, speakers all over the boat, and a few t-v monitors for slides and films sprinkled through the show bring nearly three hundred years of Boston to life. Part lecture, part re-enactment, part short sunny sea-voyage, this trip is fascinating because of so many historic sites that can be seen on the way.
From that "Tea Action" at Griffin's Wharf to Old Ironsides' 7 portside cannon to the shipyards providing clipper ships to the China Trade to the Golden Stairs and Deer Island that were immigrants' first glimpses of America to the mammoth sludge-tanks pouring purified effluent into a cleaner Boston Harbor the bits are quick, concise, and verified by the Boston History Collaborative.
The action calls for constant quick-change in accents and attitudes, from the oldest survivor of the Boston Massacre to a "powder monkey" --- a barefoot kid running ammunition on The Constitution's decks --- to the hanging of pirate William Fly or an eye-witness to the outrage over returning a fugitive slave to bondage in 1851. The performing pair work hard and sing hard to many a chantey-rhythm, march and lament. They're confined to the middle-deck, and the fifteen bits of history fly thick and fast, but their voices are piped to the entire softly rolling vessel, and there are even some audience-participation bits for cabin-boys and -girls. They pull away from Long Wharf a couple times a day, right across from the Aquarium in front of the Marriott, and provide instruction, fun, sea-breezes and sunshine, and a snack-bar for all ages all summer long.