Thursday, February 15, 2007

Kids Will Be Skeletons

On the second and third Saturday of each month, Moby Dick: The Sermon is performed in the chapel of Brooklyn’s historic Green-Wood Cemetery. The cemetery itself is well worth checking out, if only for the undeveloped park-like backdrop and Gothic-inspired architecture. To that end, it seems only fitting to visit the cemetery at the peak of winter, when the degrees are barely reaching into the teens. This provides a literal bone-chilling effect, coordinating perfectly with a presumably haunted outing.

As for the performance itself, I am convinced that anybody born in the past four decades did not actually finish Moby Dick. Let’s be honest here: the book is not a fun read, not in the 11th grade, and not in adulthood. So what better way to experience an excerpt from this "masterpiece" than to see a live CliffsNotes version in a graveyard?

Father Mapple is played by Richard Kirkwood, in an exceptionally theatrical re-creation of the scene from the novel in which a grim preacher shares the deep-seated tale of Jonah and the great mammal that consumed him. As part of the audience, you are expected to stand in as the assembly of whalers, but Kirkwood commands the bulk of the performance.

Sure, it seems a bit odd to spend the first half of your Saturday night listening to a sermon, in a cemetery no less. But if you experience it as a piece of entertainment rather than a homily, it works. At $20 a ticket, it is indeed a costly event. Yet if you tell them you’re a student, you get in for $10. Oh, and if they ask for your Student ID, just tell them you left it back at the dorm.


Anonymous Mary said...

I was born in the last 4 decades, and I never even started Moby Dick.

10:27 AM  

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