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Moby Dick - Jack Studio Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

DOUGLAS Baker’s adaptation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick runs at the Jack Studio Theatre from Tuesday, October 8 to Saturday, October 26, 2019.

Ishmael loses faith in civilisation and voyages to oceans deep to hunt the elusive white whale. But once the killing starts, he comprehends the scale of man’s misdeeds. Melville’s novel is transformed into a multimedia mock-fable that celebrates and decries the human spirit in equal measure.

Moby Dick is presented by So it Goes Theatre and follows their critically acclaimed productions of Dante’s Divine Comedy and The Fatal Eggs. They now bring Moby Dick to life with immersive video design, dynamic choreography and contemporary sea-shanties.

Directed by Douglas baker, Moby Dick has movement direction by Matthew Coulton. Casting will be announced in due course.

It’s not difficult to see the birth of modern capitalism in the pages of Moby Dick. Melville wrote in an 1849 letter how his works “spring from my pocket, & not from my heart.” It was around this time he began work on Moby Dick so it makes sense that it has become a product of contradiction. It is a balancing act between financial necessity and artistic urgency.

The role of the writer was changing in an increasingly market based economy. Melville lived a fairly frugal life, churning works out for salary; his own motivations and fears are realized in the book’s own moral dilemmas. The way Ahab manipulates the crew for money, the destruction of the natural world and the indifference towards human life over profit.

This is not withstanding Moby Dick’s own cultural legacy as a figurehead for a genuine capitalist behemoth. Starbucks Coffee was originally to be named after the doomed ship The Pequod, but then was
hastily renamed Starbucks. Starbuck is the rational, headstrong first mate who just loves a cup of coffee in the morning and ironically speaks out against the more dangerous parts of the voyage.

Moby Dick is unparalleled in literature and its meaning can be as elusive and symbolic as the white whale itself.

Moby Dick is suitable for ages 14+.

Tickets: £16, £13 concessions. To book, call the box office on 0333 666 3366 (£1.50 fee for phone bookings only) or visit

Time: 7.30pm.

Also at the Jack Studio Theatre: Katheryn Howard by Catherine Hiscock (until August 3); Charles Darwin: Collapsing Creation by Arthur Meek (August 20 to August 31); and The Strange Case of Jekyll & Hyde from Arrows & Traps Theatre (September 3 to September 28, 2019).