Visual theatre masterminds from the Dead Puppet Society will bring epic space saga, Ishmael by David Morton, to Moncrieff Entertainment Centre this month as part of its 2023 Queensland Regional Tour.
Hailed by critics as a new kind of storytelling, Ishmael is a unique and visually compelling theatre experience.
A ground-breaking live theatre experience like no other, Ishmael wowed audiences and critics in its world premiere season at Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) as a hero event of the 2021 Brisbane Festival.
A reimagining of the timeless novel Moby Dick, the production is the creative vision of the internationally acclaimed Dead Puppet Society and melds captivating storytelling with live action, live filmmaking, puppetry, a heart-racing original score by Bec Sandridge, which will be pushing the boundaries of visual theatre.
Following a QPAC season at the Cremorne Theatre, Dead Puppet Society is also orbiting Ishmael to Bundaberg on 31 May.
Dead Puppet Society’s Executive Producer Nicholas Paine said the company was delighted to return to bring Ishmael to audiences in regional Queensland.
“After making waves at Brisbane Festival in 2021, we couldn’t be more excited to present Ishmael to audiences across Queensland and we are thrilled to have a stellar cast joining us,” he said.
“We thank the Queensland Government for the Touring Queensland funding to enable us to bring this compelling show live to audiences across the state.
“Following huge success with the return of The Wider Earth and Holding Achilles at Brisbane and Sydney Festivals, we are also returning Ishmael to prepare it for international touring.”
Writer and Director David Morton explained the genre-crossing Ishmael played out like a film on stage, weaving in the elements of miniature sets, puppetry, a trio of live performers and an original score by indie pop musician Bec Sandridge.
On the resource-depleted earth of a not-so-distant future, a young climate refugee named Ishmael is given the chance to build a new life, provided she can survive a voyage to the outer solar system aboard the MV Pequod under the command of the obsessive Captain Ahab.
David said three acclaimed actors would take up roles to tell this futuristic story.
Ellen Bailey reprises the title role of Ishmael, Barbara Lowing returns as Captain Ahab and direct from playing a leading role of Patroclus in Dead Puppet Society’s Holding Achilles, Karl Richmond rounds out the cast as Queequeg; an AI droid who has escaped from a laboratory.
“The original Moby Dick centred on humankind’s relationship with the natural world; Ishmael addresses what happens to the human motivators of greed and wealth when we’re in an environment that can no longer sustain them,” he said.
“Our original decision to recast Ishmael and Captain Ahab – two iconic characters from Western literature canon – as females brought the story into the new millennium.
“They are both incredibly strong characters who embark on a literal journey of self-discovery, one with challenges and adventures that transcend gender.”
Nicholas said in contrast to other Dead Puppet Society productions, which featured human or animal puppet figures, Ishmael had built universes and worlds, miniaturised landscapes and lifelike spaceships to convey the epic space story in a unique and captivating way.
“Ishmael is both timeless and contemporary; a relatable story with classic themes of redemption, determination and triumph of the human spirit that was reinvigorated and reimagined for a modern audience,” he said.
The Ishmael script was commissioned by Dead Puppet Society, and the production was commissioned by Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Dead Puppet Society and Brisbane Festival in association with Screen Queensland.
Tickets to Ishmael’s Bundaberg performance on 31 May 2023 are on sale now at What’sOn Bundaberg or phone the Moncrieff Entertainment Centres box office on 4130 4100.
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