Book of Ishmael

Generated Work   /  

About the Play

On the vast sea, the lonely whaling ship Pequod hunts for riches. Nantucket pays a fortune for sperm whale oil, and many of the crew dream of money, some others of glory, and one odd stowaway is hungry for adventure. The captain, however, has something far more sinister on her mind, and is willing to test the limits of Nature to get it. Book of Ishmael is a bold, new adaptation of Herman Melville’s epic Moby-Dick; the story of a damned chain-of-command, forged and tested by the fires of Hell.

About the Process

In creating Book of Ishamel, we were interested in developing a story focusing first on world-building and visual narrative rather than beginning with dialogue or character.  In the first year of development, the storytellers involved in the process were the designers and director without a playwright.  It was only after the main trajectory of our narrative was drafted and world of the play was curated that we brought in the playwright to respond to our vision for Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick; or, The Whale.  We have named this development process for play-making “design-driven adaptation.”  By deciding how much of the story could be shown, it was easier to narrow down how much of the epic novel needed to be told through language.

The goal of this adaptation has been to create an immersive theatrical experience for the audience that captures the excitement, danger, and isolation of a whaling ship rather than to faithfully translate the classic novel.  By utilizing cutting edge technology in the area of integrated media and projection design, we are able to bring the world of the ship and the sea to life.  Book of Ishmael is an experiential event that places the audience on the Pequod, fighting for their lives as the crew hunts Moby Dick.

About the Creators

Christopher Kehoe is a performer, playwright, and director from Minneapolis, Minnesota. His work has been called “brilliant” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and “genius” by Minnesota Playlist, both in developing original plays (I Will Show You Fear in a Handful of Dust, Joe Dowling’s William Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet” on the Moon…, Reykjavík, St. Christopher of Financial Aid) and performing onstage with The Jungle Theater (Hamlet), Frank Theatre (Ajax in Iraq, The Metamorphosis, By the Bog of Cats, Vinegar Tom), Sandbox Theatre (.faust), Skylark Opera (Mlle. Modiste), The Strange Capers (Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night), the Minnesota Centennial Showboat (The Count of Monte Cristo, Sherlock’s Last Case, Forty-Five Minutes from Broadway), and more, in addition to studying and performing long-form improvisation with Brave New Institute for over three years. Christopher graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota, and holds an MFA in Ensemble-Based Physical Theatre from Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. He is a member of American MENSA, and is the Producing Director of The Peanut Butter Factory.

Jared LeClaire is a multi-media artist based in Los Angeles, California.  Jared’s work focuses on the artistic application of technology in all facets of the entertainment industry.  A life-long tech guru and maker, Jared discovered a love for the performing arts while attending college at the University of West Georgia.  Early in his studies as a theatre major he developed an interest in the fields of scenic and projection design.  Jared now has experience in many facets of the industry, including theatre, dance, opera, film, installations, and large-scale spectacle.



Teena Sauvola

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