Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick: A Storytelling Adaptation

Ian Huffam

 

Storytelling is a theatrical art often underrepresented these days; several of the productions at this year’s Fringe label themselves as such, but so far this show seems to be the truest to the form.

In Moby-Dick, actor and adaptor Dean Verger takes on the character of narrator Ishmael and in 50 minutes stands in one spot and speaks the classic tale of one man’s destructive obsession with seeking revenge.

It’s an ambitious task to tell in only 50 minutes a story that in print takes up over 600 pages, but Verger rises to the occasion with aplomb. His concentration is excellent and the inflection in his voice is not only period-perfect but it also truly paints an image in your mind of the port of Nantucket and the endless expanse of the sea.

The main problem here is not the occasional line flub (though they do occur) but rather the adaptation itself. Obviously only the main storyline can be told within the time limit, which cuts out a great deal of the details which make Melville’s novel such an enduring classic. The script feels a bit like a Coles Notes version of Moby-Dick, so this might not be the show for you if you’re a passionate fan of the original novel. As an introduction however it works particularly well, especially since Verger has not any radical artistic decisions with the presentations. It is Melville Lite, no more, no less.

 

A Production of the Spirit of Rasputin’s Arts Society

Written and Performed by Dean Verger

Based on the novel by Herman Melville

Playing at the Arts Court Library