Yesterday I attended the world premiere performance of a play adaptation of Moby Dick from Herman Melville’s symbolism filled classic novel of the same name. The plot of the story is known to many of course. Fair Ishmael, having no money in his purse and nothing else to do joins the ship Pequot in search of Moby Dick, a whale that took off the leg of the Pequot’s captain and (SPOILER ALERT) in the end kills everyone else on the ship.
Now I have a difficult relationship with Moby Dick going back years. Some years ago, having no money in my purse, I thought I would read Moby Dick. Well, that is not exactly the whole story. I tried to read the book when I was about 16 so I could get three points for my literature study class. I loved that class. All we did in class was read books and write reports about them. HEAVEN. Anyway, we got an insanely long list of books where each book was worth between one and four points. War and Peace (which I read 200 pages of) was worth four points and Moby Dick three points. I got about 10 pages into Moby Dick and gave up.
Enter my good friend James Armstrong. James and I became friends some years ago, never mind how long ago precisely. Well, again, that is not the whole story. We became friends when I was living in New York working as a financial reporter. James is a very fine playwright who, among many other things, transforms classic books into plays and makes them digestible to the general public. One day, he came to work and said “My play with all of Charles Dickens’ thirteen books is going to be produced” to which I said “even Nicholas Nickelby” which has about 600 characters. And he goes “even Nicholas Nickelby.”
Anyway, precisely two weeks ago James got in touch that his play adaptation of Moby Dick was going to be at the Wellfleet Actor’s Theater. Wellfleet is on the Cape, one of the most magnificent places on this earth. I talked my mom into joining me for the weekend and off we went.
The play was magnificent, as was the company.
After the whole thing was over, we attended a lovely cast party and got to meet the aforementioned performers and portrayers. I loved how they embodies these various characters on stage and then just came out and they were themselves again. I guess that is the magic of acting.