On Christmas Day the Pequod sets sail from Nantucket on the north-eastern coast of the USA. Encompassing three helmsmen, the harpooners and young Ishmael, who recounts the adventure, the crew of the whaler spends three years on the Atlantic, three years at the mercy of Captain Ahab. Ever since Moby Dick took his leg, Ahab has been forced to rely on his whale bone prosthesis. His desire for revenge is what drives him; he has no goal other than to hunt the white sperm whale and kill it. “All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick”. Together they embark on this journey, a fatal one.
In his 1851 novel’s 135 chapters, Herman Melville, who himself went whaling as a sailor, takes the reader to the limits of being, subjected to shipboard obedience and the arbitrariness of nature. At the same time, the novel is also a compendium of philosophical, mythological, art historical and scientific considerations.
Actress and director Anita Vulesica, recently awarded the ensemble and students' prizes for her production of Bonn Park’s Knurren der Milchstraße (The Growling of the Milky Way, Mozarteum University Salzburg) at the 2018 Schauspielschultreffen festival for theatre schools in Graz, stages Moby Dick with five students from the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts. As a team of women they conquer the legendary material, the adventure novel as epitome of masculine power and pose the question: What does the whale stand for? – is it a literary topos of a deep-seated grievance, an affliction or an insatiable longing?
Coproduction with Hochschule für Schauspielkunst Ernst Busch.