MOBY DICK wild west tour
“It’s not down on any map. True places never are.”
In the Spring thaw of 2013, the Fight or Flight crew went on the hunt for the elusive white whale, MOBY DICK. FoF co-artistic director Steven Cole Hughes spent the prior year cramming the Herman Melville’s giant novel into 90-ish page script for 8 actors utilizing the company’s aerial skills.
We started at our studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where in true Fight or Flight fashion we spent a week working on two scenes that were eventually cut from the script.
Next, we headed West to Jackson Hole, WY, where Off Square Theatre had invited us to do a
reading of MOBY DICK as part of their “Season of Literacy.”
Without the facilities to work on trapeze-y aerial stuff at Off Square, we focused on the script and the original sea shanties composed by resident composer Nathan Cohen (FoF’s Richard II). Shanties like the one below:
At Off Square, the role of Captain Ahab was played by Obie Award-winning actor/playwright/director/clown Bob Berky. He was joined by FoF co-artistic director John Behlmann as Starbuck, and our old friend from the National Theatre Conservatory Jason Henning, as Ishmael. The rest of the cast included the third FoF co-artistic director Eileen Little, Sam Corey (FoF’s Henry V), and Jackson Hole locals John Byrne Cooke, Luis Guerrero, Traci Mears and Nick Staron.
After the reading in Wyoming, we headed to our old stomping grounds – Denver, CO. With the gracious support of the Denver Center Theatre Company and the Denver Center Theatre Academy, we rehearsed for several days in one of the best-equipped low-flying trapeze studios anywhere, in preparation for another public reading.
In Denver, the role of Ahab was undertaken by old salt (and cast member of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln) John Hutton. With Behlmann, Henning and Little reprising their roles, the rest of the dream cast was rounded out by FoF veterans Khris Lewin and Richard Thieriot, and newcomers Lawrence Curry and Justin Walvoord.
And thus, after many miles and different states and private workshops and public readings, the crew of Fight or Flight continues the hunt for MOBY DICK. He tasks us; he heaps us. We’ll chase him round Good Hope and round the Horn and round perdition’s flames before we give him up. And what about you, dear Theatrical Producer? Wilt thou not chase the White Whale? Art thou game for Moby Dick?