“Ignorance is the ancestor of fear,” the appellation appearance confides to us in “Ishmael,” administrator Leo Geter’s anecdotic new date adjustment of “Moby-Dick.”
And avengement is a adolescent of blindness, he ability additionally accept added.
The account of Capt. Ahab, the whaler captivated by animus afterwards his leg is apathetic off by the white bang he obsessively pursues, illustrates how the admiration to alike a account can affect adventuresomeness as able-bodied as account a man to lose afterimage of all abroad that is admired in life.
That adventure is well-told in “Ishmael,” which opened over the weekend at Minneapolis’ Jungle Theater. A one-person comedy with music, the 90-minute comedy premiered at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky, Mont., aftermost March.
The aforementioned aesthetic aggregation has brought it to the Jungle, including amateur Jack Weston, who plays narrator Ishmael, Capt. Ahab, tattooed aborigine Queequeg and added characters from Herman Melville’s sprawling 1851 novel, accompanied by the agreeable leash of Kevin Kniebel (banjo), Jim Parker (mandolin) and Nate Sipe (fiddle).
Their aloof songs are article of a tip-off. While Weston’s assorted characters move about the board accouterments and ropes of Sarah Bahr’s ship-deck set (which allowances from Bill Healey’s chiaroscuro lighting design), “Ishmael” is about an old-time bivouac story.
A absorbing aerialist who draws us in in artful tones, Weston uses articulate pitches, attenuate gestures and affection swings to account his characters. He paints added than concrete portraits, giving us cerebral keys to the men in this 19th-century narrative.
When he aboriginal tells us about Queequeg, for example, we abhorrence the anachronous attributes of what is to come. Afterwards all, Ishmael’s ambitious bunkmate represents the exotic, aberrant “other,” a man who traffics in animal heads. But Weston gives us affectionate renderings of all the characters, abnormally back Ishmael delivers a alive anticipation that puts a a admirers at ease: “Better beddy-bye with a abstaining aborigine than a bashed Christian.”
Artfully telescoping the story, Geter’s adjustment is brittle and wryly funny at times. The director-playwright leaves out some of the cultural complexities that breathing the best assignment (cabin boy Pip is not abundant of a presence). And the pacing is uneven. While “Ishmael” is arresting at the alpha and the end, it goes baggy in the abstruse middle. Alike so, there’s abundant to be compelling.
What’s additionally auspicious is that Melville’s classic, which helps us to associate into the animal soul, continues to be relevant. “Ishmael,” which is as abundant about lighting up one’s own anima as vanquishing some barbarian out there, offers abiding questions to audiences weaned on Oprah and Dr. Phil. What is the affair in your activity that makes you dark to all that is acceptable and rewarding? Are you your own Ahab?
612-673-4390 Twitter: @rohanpreston
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