Carl A. Rossi’s play Hawthorne & Melville opens the “Herman” Plays series at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead on Tuesday, September 19 at 6:30pm directed by J. Peter Bergman. The play follows the friendship between the two American authors from August 1850 through November 1851 when both men were working on their new novels, The House of Seven Gables and Moby-Dick and building a relationship that never completely gelled.
Admiring the older author with a near-passion, Melville attempts to stretch their acquaintance into something larger than life while Hawthorne, a shyer, more reticent man, tries to keep their relationship more casual. Almost a mediator between them Sophia Hawthorne encourages both men to enjoy an intimacy rare for her husband whose reluctance to engage has made him an introverted human being.
Rossi gives us the two men whose actual intimacy inspired in Melville a new way of writing and confirmed for him his own capabilities if not his genius. Surrounding them with other literary greats of the era, the play provides a perspective on this unique friendship from outside and inside, from a child’s point of view, a wife’s imagination and a merging of two giants into a single entity: Hawthorne & Melville.
Tickets for the play are $20 and seating is limited. Call 413.442.1793 x13 to make reservations, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Mel Cobb plays Melville and Kirk Jackson is Hawthorne. Laura Gardner plays Sophia with Erin Hunt as Lizzie Melville, Andrew Joffe as Evert Duyckinck, John Trainor as Cornelius Mathews, Robert Bruyr as Oliver Wendell Holmes, J. Peter Bergman as James Fields.
Next in the series is Kraken: A Story of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville by Len Jenkin on Tuesday, September 26 at 6:30 followed by Poor Herman by Elizabeth Doss on Tuesday, October 3 at 7:00
Arrowhead, 780 Holmes Road in Pittsfield, is the appropriate place to experience readings of three plays about Herman Melville – come see one, two or three! For information or reservations, call 413.442.1793 x14.