Moby Dick on the Mersey: Maritime Lectures

The lecture programme for the Moby Dick on the Mersey project is taking shape. This is still in draft, but it will be updated as speakers confirm. Here’s the list: Maritime Lectures.

Review of Moby Dick at the Unity Theatre, Liverpool, 17 October 2012

Over at Moby Dick on the Mersey I have reviewed last nights excellent production of Moby Dick at Liverpool’s Unity Theatre, adapted for stage by Conor Lovett and Judy Hegarty Lovett from the novel by Herman Melville, with music composed and performed by Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh, as part of the Liverpool Irish Festival. I was impressed. Here’s an extract:

This is a gripping, and intense performance, with sustained tension and high drama. Ishmael’s story is accompanied by the perfectly-judged music of Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh, performing on an instrument I had never seen before, but which turns out to be a Norwegian Setesdalsfele “5+5”, a fiddle with five played strings, and five resonating strings below. Together they recreate the atmosphere of melancholy stillness and suppressed danger that pervades the novel itself, from the first ‘loomings’ to its desolate epilogue, and yet do so with a lightness and humour that make this show a joy.

Guy walks on stage and starts telling this crazy story …

Moby Dick in Space

Moby Dick is constantly in my thoughts these days, largely because of the Moby Dick on the Mersey project, but filmmaker Lynne Ramsey has extra-terrestrial plans for Melville’s great novel. According to The Guardian, plans are well advanced for a science fiction film adaptation:

Ramsay is writing the screenplay with Rory Kinnear, who collaborated with her on We Need to Talk About Kevin The Glasgow-born director first revealed details of the project on Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode’s Radio 5 Live show in October a year ago, where she said it would be shot on a low budget. “We’re taking the premise into the galaxy,” she said. “We’re creating a whole new world, and a new alien. [It’s] a very psychological piece, mainly taking place in the ship, a bit like Das Boot, so it’s quite claustrophobic. It’s another monster movie, cos the monster’s Ahab.

“It’s about this mad captain whose crazy need for revenge takes the crew to their death. I’m taking people into dark waters and you see some casualties on the way. It’s fascinating stuff because there’s so much in it.”

The Hollywood Reporter describes the film, which will be titled Mobius, as a “psychological action thriller set in deep space [in which] a captain consumed by revenge takes his crew on a death mission fueled by his own ego and will to control an enigmatic alien”.


Moby Dick on the Mersey, a Marathon Reading in Liverpool

This is going to be keeping me busy for a while. Moby Dick on the Mersey is a marathon reading of Melville’s famous novel, taking place at the Merseyside Maritime Museum from the 4th to the 6th of May 2013. I am organising it through the University of Liverpool’s department of Continuing Education, where I look after courses in English. The reading will take over 130 readers 26 hours, and we are arranging other events alongside it, including a series of talks and lectures about Liverpool and whaling, Herman Melville, and the novel itself. With a bit of luck we will also have a Moby Dick ale brewed for refreshment.