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Set Sail on an Epic Voyage at Northwestern University

“Moby Dick” staged in new adaptation in collaboration with The Actors Gymnasium


EVANSTON, Ill. --- “Moby Dick” -- Herman Melville’s saga about Captain Ahab’s pursuit of a great white whale -- will make its first fully-staged debut April 25 through May 4, and will be the subject of a free symposium at Northwestern University on April 12.

The Melville classic is directed and adapted by David Catlin.

”Moby Dick” will be performed as part of the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University’s 2013-14 Mainstage Season. It will be produced in association with The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston, a circus and performing arts school dedicated to bringing a new physicality to the stage.

Catlin, a visiting assistant professor in the School of Communication’s department of theatre, is a founding ensemble member of Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre Company. In 2011, Lookingglass was the recipient of a Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.

• Performances of “Moby Dick” will be staged at the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus. They will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, April 25; 8 p.m. Saturday, April 26; 2 p.m. Sunday, April 27; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 1; 10 a.m. (student matinee) and 8 p.m. Friday, May 2; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 3; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 4. The production is recommended for children age 10 and older and adults.

• TIC’s post-show discussions will follow the April 25, April 27 and May 1 performances. Director and theatre faculty member David Catlin will participate in all three talkbacks.

• Northwestern’s department of English, the Center for the Writing Arts and the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences’ Dean’s Office will present a symposium titled “Finding Moby Dick,” from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. It will feature lectures, readings and academic and artistic discussions based on topics and themes from Melville’s novel. Speakers will include actor and writer Sara Gorsky, who co-adapted “All Girl Moby Dick,” produced by The Mammals at Chicago’s Zoo Studio; Derek Matson, a Chicago-based dramaturge and translator of theater and opera; Betsy Erkkila, the Henry Sanborn Noyes Professor of Literature at Northwestern; Daphne Kim, a senior in Northwestern’s School of Communication; and Dan Beachy-Quick, an author of “A Whaler’s Dictionary,” a book of interlinked essays on Melville’s masterpiece. For more information, email or visit Finding Moby Dick: A Symposium

Caitlin’s new dramatic stage adaptation of Melville’s novel of adventure, obsession and fate asks what it is that drives us to pursue the impossible and how that ambition can ultimately consume us. Audiences will experience Northwestern student actors tumbling, soaring and bounding across the Barber stage’s briny billows in this collaboration with Actors Gymnasium’s  high-flying brand of storytelling.

“Like finding one white whale in all the world's oceans, ‘Moby Dick’ is seemingly impossible,” says Catlin. “But it’s a compelling story with memorable characters, big ideas and enduring philosophical questions. Melville's most famous work is filled with adventure and delicious language that embraces a wide range of storytelling conventions.” 

Tickets for TIC’s “Moby Dick” are $25 for general public; $22 for seniors over 62 and Northwestern faculty and staff and educators; and $10 for full-time students with valid IDs (at the door) or $5 tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchase. Discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

For more information, phone (847) 491-4819, visit the TIC website at  or email


A three-year construction project under way on the southeast end of the Northwestern University Evanston campus has closed the Arts Circle Drive to traffic. Free parking for evening and weekend events remains available, but the project will impact handicapped parking and patrons requiring special access to Evanston campus theaters. Visit TIC for more information. 

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