Provincetown will once again join New Bedford, MA, Mystic, CT, and New York City in celebrating its significant whaling heritage by hosting the third annual Provincetown Public Library Moby-Dick Marathon Reading in April 2018. Published in 1851, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick chronicles the obsessive quest of Ahab, captain of the whaler Pequod, for revenge on a massive white whale responsible for destroying his ship and severing his leg at the knee during a previous voyage. The three-day marathon reading of this nineteenth century masterwork will be held at the Provincetown Library on the starboard side of the Rose Dorothea Model, and officially begins at 2:00 pm on Friday, April 27. The full weekend schedule is as follows:
Friday, April 27: 2 pm to 8 pm
Saturday, April 28: 10 am to 10 pm
Sunday, April 29: 10 am to 4 pm
This year we are honored to announce that local living legend, Charles “Stormy” Mayo, Ph. D. and Senior Scientist and Director of the North Atlantic Right Whale Ecology Program at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Massachusetts, will open the third annual Provincetown Moby-Dick Marathon with “Call me Ishmael,” on Friday, April 27th at 2:00 pm.
Uniting members of Provincetown’s literary, art, theater, and academic communities, the event will bring together over 120 participants at the Provincetown Library to read Melville’s classic work aloud over a total of 24 hours. Passages of five pages each are read throughout the weekend by the community, visitors, library staff, trustees and Melville enthusiasts. The 2016 and 2017 editions of the Marathon were a tremendous success, bringing more than 870 visitors combined to the Library. Admission to the Marathon is free.
Provincetown holds a rich whaling history dating back to the early 1800s when skilled Portuguese seamen settled at Land’s End where they started families, manned ships, and became captains of their own vessels. By 1870, the whaling industry had created a since-unrivaled era of prosperity in Provincetown, then ranking as one of the richest towns in Massachusetts. In the century between 1820 and 1920, more than 160 vessels were outfitted from Provincetown, ranking her third in the U.S. in voyages launched (902).
Hosted by the Library Board of Trustees, presenting sponsor Bay State Cruise Company is joined by Cape Air in welcoming Mayo as the featured orator. This year’s Marathon logo was created by artist Peter Martin, who specializes in black paper cutting and whose exhibit Martin & Moby was displayed at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in 2014. Angel Foods’ Liz Lovati will provide an on-site café with snacks and beverages.
The Marathon will also feature Sailor Beware, a Cape-based collective of theater professionals dedicated to the self-production and dramatization of bold, new full-length plays and musicals that, by their design, cast-off creative and financial constraints to the wind and sea in a spirit of unbridled imagination. The group, founded by local actor, Jody O’Neil, in 2016, will perform Melville’s Chapter 36 “The Quarter-Deck” at approximately 10:30 am during the Saturday of the Marathon, as well as Chapter 106 “Ahab’s Leg” at approximately 11:00 am the following day.