July 15, 2015

Threadbare Theatre will adapt “Moby-Dick” for the stage… or a boat?


The whale is out there, man.

The whale is out there, man. (But this is the light that will play the whale, taken from the company’s Kickstarter video.)

In April, Threadbare Theatre Workshop staged a reading of or, The Whale at WORD Bookstore. The Greenpoint-based theater group is now planning a fully staged version of Herman Melville‘s classic novel. The company’s Kickstarter, which is intended to help pay the actors and cover a rehearsal space, was within $2,000 of its goal at the time of writing. It concludes today.

Vanessa Ogle of The Brooklyn Paper writes, “The performance is filled with scenes so tense you could cut them with a harpoon, offering insight into Ishmael’s voyages…. [Director Kate] Russell said her approach to the seafaring story is different from other adaptations, which she said often strip the performances of the language that helps shape the scenes. The director said she welcomed Melville’s words, which she likened to Shakespeare.”

The whale will be played by a bright white light, complete with red ribbon blood. A ship is even interested in hosting the stage production:

NEWSFLASH! THIS JUST IN: PortSide NewYork has expressed interest in staging our production on their flagship, the historic and beautiful tanker MARY WHALEN. After a serendipitous meeting with the PortSide NewYork crew and a tour aboard the MARY WHALEN on a sunny afternoon in the Red Hook harbor- our wheels are turning in an auspicious direction. We are so inspired by her, she’s magic. We feel as though staging or, The Whale in such an evocative space would elevate and transform the production, and my mind is already off and running in a million directions with the possibilities that a site-specific performance opens up! Our dream of “sailing” or, The Whale into the Brooklyn waterfront may be coming true…

Moby-Dick performed on a boat? It’s kind of amazing this hasn’t happened sooner.


Kirsten Reach is an editor at Melville House.