Butterfly Bar at the Vortex
"...Well, it turns out that it was also the story of Herman Melville – yeah, the same guy your high school English teacher tried to convince you wrote the greatest American novel of all time. Maybe you didn't like that book about the white whale any more than the literary critics back in 1851 (in which case you may be grateful you weren't also subjected to Melville's sure-to-be-a-hit follow-up, Pierre: or the Ambiguities, a gothic sudser of New York society, decadent artists, and forbidden love of the brother-sister kind), but if you take a peek at Melville's life through the lens of Poor Herman, the latest from the theatrical adventurers in Paper Chairs, you may find yourself feeling a tad more sympathy toward the 19th-century author..."
"...That's why tyro film director Jonathan Parker has scored such a coup by casting Glover as the peculiar titular character in Bartleby, Parker's modernization of Herman Melville's short story "Bartleby the Scrivener." (Bartleby screened at the 2001 South by Southwest Film Festival.) Bartleby wangles his way into a job as a law clerk only to decline to perform his duties with no explanation except that he would "prefer not to." His penchant for preferring not to eventually devolves into a catatonic stupor. Melville never delved into Bartleby's motivation -- or lack thereof -- and so Bartleby has become a literary Rorschach inkblot test to which every sort of philosophical and metaphysical speculation has been attached..."
"...The unimaginable chain of catastrophic events that led to the destruction of the Nantucket-based whaling ship Essex in the Pacific Ocean in 1820 is the subject of Ron Howard’s new film. The real-life fate of Essex, her captain, and crew partly inspired Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick; or, the Whale in 1851..."
"...Eight years passed before Carax was ready in 1999 to try it again with Pola X. The film is based on Herman Melville's novel Pierre, or the Ambiguities (curiously, it's the book Melville wrote following the poor reception of his previous novel, Moby-Dick)..."
"...Vibrating workplace."), the perfect candidate appears: Bartleby (Glover), a wan, stooped, glassy-eyed milquetoast who remains contentedly parked at his desk and apparently subsists on Handi-Snacks alone. In adapting Herman Melville's 1853 short story "Bartleby the Scrivener," debuting writer-director Parker (with co-scripter Catherine di Napoli) wisely moves the action from Wall Street to a behemoth office building on a precipice surrounded by a tangle of freeways (making it "completely inaccessible to pedestrians")..."
"...As mesmerizing as the images are, it is difficult to isolate their meaning. Denis' story is inspired by Herman Melville's Billy Budd..."
"...In 1997, Smith crafted that adaptation for Vortex Repertory Company's Summer Youth Theatre, where it proved stageworthy enough to be revived in a subsequent season. Now, he's returning to the Summer Youth Theatre with a new dramatic version of Herman Melville's masterpiece..."
"...Book: Moby Dick by Herman Melville..."
"...Moby Dick Vortex Repertory Company's Summer Youth Theatre stages the premiere of Kirk Smith's new adaptation of Herman Melville's novel, in which minimalist design and stylized movement take us aboard the Pequod as the mad Captain Ahab seeks the great white whale. Bonnie Cullum (The Music of Erica Zann) directs a cast of teenagers and adults, including Elizabeth Doss, Melville's great-great-great granddaughter, as Ishmael..."
"...Still, Parker’s satire pulls its punches. He really seems to like and admire his characters, who are somewhat reminiscent of Crispin Glover in the titular role of the nonconformist Bartleby in Parker’s 2001 film rendition of the Herman Melville story..."
"...By the end of the film, relationships have turned so corrosive that the characters leave an ugly aftertaste in the mind of the viewer. It’s only then that the Herman Melville quote that precedes the film begins to make sense: "Woe to him who sets out to please rather than appall." It suddenly seems clear that Lucas is referencing his own mission here rather than the travails of his characters..."
"...Good versus evil. Is there a more timeless theme in literature? On some level, it's played out in every story imaginable, and it is the essence of this Herman Melville tale, adapted for the stage by Louis O..."
"...In Kirk Smith's adaptation of Herman Melville's masterwork, language comes at us in great waves, in storms of words, soaking our brains with images, not just of the sea but of Atlantic squalls and Nantucket chowderhouses, of berths below decks and masthead perches, of shark attacks and the devastation wreaked by a white whale on ships and sailors and a Captain Ahab, who lost a leg to the beast's "sickle-shaped jaw." All this comes to us through the dense, ornate language of the novel; it is the surging, living ocean on which this play moves. It is through language that we come to know the depth of Ahab's hatred for Moby Dick, through language that we absorb the terror that the whale inspires and the dread in the heart of the sailors Starbuck and Ishmael, through language that we feel the persistent chill of death on board Ahab's ship...."
"...Bluff, the town tycoon who owns the polluted body of water from which the creature came. (No doubt the name that they give to the monster -- Herman Melville -- will go over the heads of most of the movie's viewers, including some of the adults in the audience.) There's also a more traditional subplot about Doug's frustrated attempts to woo Patti away from the clutches of an obnoxious upperclassman in time for the Valentine Day's dance..."
"...It's a name that, like the flame imagined in the panther's eyes, suggests a thing out of hell, and Crook has fittingly fashioned a figure hellbent on exterminating it. Sam, the scrawny 12-year-old daughter of a former slave and a white man, is about as far as you can get physically from Melville's Ahab, but in her fierce temperament and single-minded resolve to revenge herself on the beast that scarred her – no matter the danger to herself or anyone else – she is the captain's match..."
"..."Chief among these motives was the overwhelming idea of the great whale himself," wrote Herman Melville in Moby Dick 155 years ago. "Such a portentous and mysterious monster roused all my curiosity." When Clutch's Neil Fallon bellows "white whale, holy grail" amidst the perfect shitstorm of opener "Blood and Thunder," there she blows, Leviathan, "one grand hooded phantom, like a snow hill in the air," wrote Melville..."
"...One can safely assume that Herman Melville never imagined the title character of his dark tale "Bartleby the Scrivener" in an episode of The Drew Carey Show. But in this updated adaptation, Melville's enigmatic clerk wanders into an office that's standard-issue sitcom, replete with mustard yellow walls, avocado green filing cabinets, and "kooky" co-workers: the sexpot secretary (a slinky Headley), the beefy stud (Piscopo, a cross between an aging Jerry Lewis and a thuggish Sinatra), and the lumpish klutz (a hapless Chaykin)..."
"...We both admitted to having watched it several times in the last few weeks. In Herman Melville's short story "Bartleby the Scrivener," when a clerk is fired, he refuses to leave..."
"...Then excerpts of Moby-Dick, Herman Melville (1819-1891). He says it's chaos out there!..."