This play by Orson Welles is about a group of New Englanders trying to rehearse a play based on Melville’s novel, ran originally for three weeks. It was also apparently filmed, but the film version is lost. In the play, the actors, who are expecting to rehearse King Learare informed they will be doing Moby Dick instead. Dressed in street clothes, they start to improvise scenery – using brooms for oars, and a stick for a telescope, and eventually get into character. The cast included Orson Welles, Gordon Jackson, and Joan Plowright among others.
'I still wish I had been there in 1955 when Orson Welles took over the Duke of York's Theatre and put on his own play (by way of Herman Melville) – Moby Dick Rehearsed – in which some New England villagers try to place Melville's epic novel on a tiny stage. There was no whale, no ocean, no ship – just valiant theatrical gestures towards those immense, unmanageable realities, and the Shakespearean dream of 'a muse of fire' doing the rest...Those who saw it (it ran less than a month) say it was magic, with all the actors swaying in unison to suggest being on a ship at sea.' - David Thomson, Theatre Blog