Theater: Captain Bligh Swaps Ships

Moby Dick is an Orson Welles adaptation, some of it in blank verse, of Melville's novel. Some men tinker with old cars; Orson Welles tinkers with old masterpieces. His 1937 Julius Caesar, in Fascist uniform, was exciting theater. Moby Dick is a fiasco.

Perhaps no theater is large enough to hold the White Whale, and Welles intelligently lets audience imagination do the work of stage realism. He conceives of a turn-of-the-century acting troupe doing a sort of tryout rehearsal of a new drama, Moby Dick. A tall ladder serves for a mast, benches for longboats, and furled and swaying sails complete...

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