The 16th annual Moby-Dick Marathon celebrates the 160th anniversary of Herman Melville’s literary masterpiece with a 25-hour nonstop reading of the book during a weekend of activities and events, January 6 – 8, 2012, including a performance by the critically acclaimed American tenor, Jonathan Boyd. Admission is free.
On Friday, January 6 at 5:30 p.m. the weekend kicks off with a ticketed buffet dinner and cash bar in the Jacobs Family Gallery. For tickets to the dinner ($25), call (508) 997-0046 ext. 100.
Dinner will be followed by a free public lecture titled “Moby-Dick in American Popular Culture,” presented by Dr. Timothy Marr, at 7:15 p.m. in the Cook Memorial Theater. Co-editor of “Ungraspable Phantom: Essays on Moby-Dick,” Professor Marr teaches American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He serves as an executive member of the Melville Society Cultural Project and is a contributor to the Melville and the Digital Humanities project of the Melville Electronic Library.
On Saturday, January 7 at 10:00 a.m., “Stump the Scholars II,” returns by popular demand – a free program in which the audience is invited to pose questions to Melville Society scholars on all matters Moby-Dick in the Cook Memorial Theater. Patterned after NPR’s popular quiz show, “Wait, wait, don’t tell me,” prizes will be awarded to those who can stump the scholars.
At 11:30 a.m. in the Bourne Building, Melville Society members will read many of the 80 brief Extracts related to whales and whaling, which Melville included before Chapter 1.
At noon, the Moby-Dick Marathon begins with “Call me Ishmael” – the most famous opening line in American literature. With more than 150 scheduled readers, the marathon will continue through the night, ending early Sunday afternoon. All reading slots have been booked. The public is cordially invited to come and go at any time during the marathon, or stay for the entire 25 hours and win a prize.
On Saturday at approximately 1:30 p.m., marathon participants will walk next door to the historic Seamen’s Bethel (est. 1832) – located at 15
Johnny Cake Hill for the reading of Chapters 7, 8, and 9, titled “The Chapel,” The Pulpit,” and “The Sermon” – all three chapters take place in the original “Whaleman’s Chapel.” This segment will feature a performance by Jonathan Boyd, the critically acclaimed American tenor starring in the San Diego Opera’s co-production of Jake Heggie’s “Moby-Dick,” a new opera hailed “a triumph” by the Dallas Morning News. Boyd has made recent notable debuts at Opéra de Nice and Opéra de Toulon, and has performed with opera companies throughout the United States. He will sing the hymn from Chapter 9.
Readers and guests are also invited to “Chat with a Melville Scholar” from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Wattles Family Gallery or take a guided tour of the “Imagining Moby!” exhibit with Dr. Robert Wallace, Northern Kentucky University.
Chapter 40, “Midnight, Forecastle” will be performed in the Cook Memorial Theater by members of Culture*Park, a theater and performing arts collaborative.
Three related exhibits during the marathon include, “Imagining Moby!,” “Visualizing Melville” and the 1956 Moby-Dick publicity panels. “Imagining Moby!” showcases the collection of Melville scholar, Dr. Elizabeth A. Schultz, including works by Leonard Baskin, Richard Ellis and Rockwell Kent in the Centre Street Gallery, Level 2. “Visualizing Melville” pairs items from the Museum’s collections with Melville’s vivid text, including “Quakers with a vengeance” and “a heathenish array of monstrous clubs and spears” in the Changing Gallery, Level 2. The 1956 Moby-Dick publicity panels feature movie memorabilia displayed in the windows of the Research Library.
Images related to the book will also be projected in the Cook Memorial Theater throughout the marathon, presented by the Museum’s youth apprentices.
A midwinter tradition, attracting hundreds of Melville fans from around the world, the marathon marks the anniversary of Melville’s January 1841 departure from the port of New Bedford and Fairhaven aboard the whale ship, Acushnet.
Refreshments will be available throughout the Marathon.
This year’s marathon is a program of MOBY! – a partnership of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center and New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park to celebrate the iconic tale of the ‘Great White Whale’ and is funded through a grant from the Education through Cultural and Historical Organizations (ECHO), administered by the United States Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement.
Moby-Dick Marathon Weekend Schedule of Events
Friday, January 6
5:30 p.m.: Ticketed buffet dinner and cash bar, Jacobs Family Gallery.
7:15 p.m.: Public lecture, “Moby-Dick in American Popular Culture,” with Dr. Timothy Marr, Cook Memorial Theater.
Saturday, January 7
10:00 a.m.: Stump the Scholars II, Cook Memorial Theater.
11:30 a.m.: Moby-Dick “Extracts,” Bourne Building.
12:00 noon: Moby-Dick Marathon begins, Bourne Building.
1:30 p.m. (approx.): Chapters 7– 9 in the Seamen’s Bethel with tenor Jonathan Boyd.
2:30 p.m. (approx.): Marathon continues, Jacobs Family Gallery.
3:00-5:00 p.m.: Chat with a Melville scholar, Wattles Family Gallery.
3:00-5:00 p.m.: “Imaging Moby!” tour with Dr. Robert Wallace, Centre Street Gallery.
7:00 p.m. (approx.): Chapter 35 to Chapter 40. “Midnight, Forecastle” performed by Culture*Park, Cook Memorial Theater.
8:00 p.m. (approx.): Marathon continues, Jacobs Family Gallery.
Sunday, January 8
1:00 p.m. (approx.): Marathon concludes with the Epilogue.
Ongoing related exhibits: “Imagining Moby!,” “Visualizing Melville” and the 1956 Moby-Dick publicity panels. Moby-Dick slide show, Cook Memorial Theater.