The Moby-Dick Variations
The Moby-Dick Variations is an unconventional new work conceived and directed by John Zibell, Master of Fine Arts directing candidate, and devised by the production company. The multi-dimensional piece is inspired by Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Like the novel, it is about perspective and multiculturalism. Unlike the novel, it is set in the present and investigates the disappearance of the human animal from the natural landscape.
Melville’s Moby-Dick is the tale of the wandering sailor Ishmael and his voyage on the whaleship Pequod commanded by Captain Ahab, a character who is defined by his obsession for revenge on the sperm whale Moby Dick. In a previous encounter the whale destroyed Ahab’s ship and bit off his leg.
The Moby-Dick Variations follows Melville’s narrative and plot in a non-linear fashion exploring the multiplicity of perspectives both within, and outside of, the novel.
Director John Zibell’s objective is twofold: to enable the audience to experience the multiplicity of perspectives that Melville delivers in the novel; and to allow the audience further perspectives through their own and the actors’ contemporary lenses. There is neither traditional stage nor spectator seating. Rather, audience members are invited to wander among the performers.
Despite the experimental approach of The Moby-Dick Variations, the essence of Melville’s work remains. Zibell smiles, “The beauty of the novel is in its prose and poetry. The narrative is almost not there. Like life, it feels like there’s a story but what you’re inside of is the experience, the poetry, not the objective meaning.”
The Moby-Dick Variations opens Thursday, May 5, and continues through Sunday, May 15, at Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.
This production is rated R.