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Hamptons Theater Review: Bay Street's Virtual "Moby Dick" Production Innovates The Classic Successfully

T.J. Clemente

Literature Live! Moby Dick will be available to view on demand via Bay Street's website. (Courtesy Photo)

Bay Street Theater's Literature Live! returned with a fantastic original online theatrical production of Herman Melville's Moby Dick. The production was a tremendous way to reintroduce the American classic. In fact, it is a wonderful way for everyone to get reacquainted with the epic tale. Although this production was in fact created for Literature Live!, a traditional program for high school students to sample the performing arts, I believe it is a program worthwhile for everyone! It was a successful merger of Zoom and literature; one might call it the creation of "Zoom-literature," in amazing color. This is a must-see for everyone.

Will Pomerantz, the Assistant Artistic Director of the Bay Street Theater who directed this 90-minute adaptation, is to be congratulated, along with the cast that featured celebrated actor and East End native Harris Yulin; Broadway and stage stars Dan Domingues, Wonza Johnson, Nehal Joshi, John Kroft, and Trent Saunders; and Bay Street's Director of Education, Allen O'Reilly. Through the magic and skillful special video effects and editing by Mike Billings, the original score by Michael Holland grabs the visual audience and tells that epic story of literary legendary characters, including Ishmael, Queequeg, Starbuck, and Captain Ahab.

The costume design by Meghan O'Beirne added to the feeling this production conveys. Personally, for me, the technology somehow gave the production a unique, misty, ethereal effect that made it more Melville and an authentic early 1880's feel.

Harris Yulin gets a personal standing ovation for his portrayal of Captain Ahab. The close-up camera reveals what an amazing actor this man is. The facial smirks and the changing array of moods, seen in the close-ups of this Zoom production, are often lost in big theater productions. His voice was made for this part.

However, I believe who gets the "wow factor" was the performance of Wonza Johnson, whose personalized portrayal of Ishmael energizes the whole production and makes this whole production pleasantly cohesive. He is a great storyteller.

Trent Saunders creates his own Queequeg that is memorable and successful. Again, the close-up lens is his friend. Dan Domingues delivers the goods with his memorable role as Starbuck. He also is a camera-friendly face with a no doubt future on the screen. Allen O'Reilly was wonderfully effective in his three roles as Coffin, Perth, and Stubb. Finally, Nehal Joshi showed his acting and performing skills by handling his four roles (Flask, Fedallah, Gardiner, Peleg) with panache and distinct, effective puncture.

Literature Live! Moby Dick will be available to view on demand via Bay Street's website.

For more information, visit www.baystreet.org.

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