Midwestern storyteller and actor, Loren Niemi, takes on Herman Melville’s Great American Novel as he weaves of delicate web of personal, imagined and improvised stories in his latest Indianapolis performing arts offering. The indyFringe Theatre Festival presents Niemi’s Moby Dick Tonight! Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22 at the indyFringe Building in Indianapolis downtown. Niemi returns to Mass Ave after a successful run of his two person show 55 Minutes of Sex, Drugs and Audience Participation in the 2009 Indianapolis Fringe Theatre Festival. For one weekend only, he shares a one man performance of his interpretation of one of the greatest treasures of world literature.
Most of us turned the pages of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick in high school or college. Ishmael’s story about the mysterious and vengeful Captain Ahab, as he pursues the white sperm whale, Moby Dick, who took Ahab’s leg in their last encounter is genius not for its infamous plot, but for the way in which Melville artfully employs language, symbolism and metaphor to explore diverse and complex themes. Through the main character’s journey, the concepts of class and social status, good and evil and the existence of god are all examined as Ishmael seeks to define himself in the shadow of Ahab’s voyage. The novel employs theatricality in a way not seen in prose fiction, and Loren Niemi intends to capitalize.
In Moby Dick Tonight!, Loren Niemi takes narrative to a far place where conventional narrative ends and improvisation meets poetic imagery. Quotes from Melville give rise to shaggy dog stories, off-handed humor, philosophical digressions, improvised travelogues and erotic memoir. Niemi condenses Melville’s story of obsession and doubt, while expanding on the stunning imagery of Ishmael’s story with his own tales that draw on personal experience of reading the novel in particular times and resonate places.
Moby Dick Tonight played to rave reviews in last year’s Minnesota Fringe Festival. One blogger, Marya Hornbacher, wrote, “I am still caught up in the story of the whale, which becomes the story of the storyteller, which becomes a dark and surreal story of an old lover, which becomes the story of the listener, all told in language so rich and detailed you can smell the blood and sweat on the boat, feel the needle bite the lover’s skin, all spoken in quiet, mild tones by an odd little man in a white linen suit.”
Moby Dick Tonight has become a corner stone of Niemi’s repertoire of performance. Originally created as a twenty minute performance piece for In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre’s Experimental Studio series, the story has been expanded to a thirty minute late night performance for the Walker Art Center and, now, a fifty five minute performance usable for Fringe Festivals across the United States.
Niemi has spent more than thirty years as a professional storyteller, creating, collecting, performing and teaching stories to audiences of all ages in both urban and rural settings. His gift for the art of storytelling stems from thirty five years of work as a community organizer and public policy advocate and trainer with neighborhoods, nonprofit organization and NGOs. Niemi has worked as a Humanities Scholar in Residence for Northern Minnesota, the ring master for In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre’s Circle of Water Circus and is one third of BAD JAZZ, a experimental performance trio.
Loren Niemi has dedicated his life to storytelling as one of the founders of the Northlands Storytelling Network and a four year term as Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Storytelling Network. Day by day his life and work are intended to reflect a simple statement from film director Federico Fellini, “I have invented myself entirely, a childhood, a personality, longings, memories and dreams, all in order to be able to tell them.”
Tickets to this event are $10.00 for all Indianapolis people. Moby Dick Tonight begins at 7:30 pm on both Friday and Saturday. Head to the indyFringe Building in the Indianapolis cultural district, Mass Ave, to support this Indianapolis art event.
Before the show, grab dinner at any of these scrumptious Indianapolis restaurants. Afterward, share your own stories over drinks from any of these Indianapolis bars. Stay tuned to Indianapolis News, Events and Information on Fun City Finder.com for all the latest on fun things to do in Indianapolis. We cover Indianapolis attractions to Indianapolis sports and more! Get out in Indy and find some fun! Make the Circle City your playground!
Moby Dick Tonight!
May 21 and 22, 2010
IndyFringe Theatre Festival
The IndyFringe Building
719 E St. Clair St