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Behind the Scenes: MOBY DICK IN THE DARK, Live Online Audio Theatre from Chicago's Theatre in the Dark


Q&A with adapter/director Corey Bradberry and cast member Mack Gordon

Behind the Scenes: MOBY DICK IN THE DARK, Live Online Audio Theatre from Chicago's Theatre in the Dark

We sat down with the director and adapter of MOBY DICK IN THE DARK, Corey Bradberry, and one of his actors from the show, Mack Gordon (Starbuck/Stubb). MOBY DICK IN THE DARK is the fourth live online audio drama from Chicago's Theatre in the Dark, where Bradberry and Gordon are co-founders. They talk MOBY DICK, the resurgence of audio theatre, and the importance of doing it live.

Thank you for talking with us! What is MOBY DICK IN THE DARK, and why should we be excited for it?

Corey Bradberry: MOBY DICK IN THE DARK is Theatre in the Dark's live-audio adaptation of Herman Melville's MOBY DICK, which is one of the great American novels. It's part mystery, part ghost story, part adventure on the open seas!

Mack Gordon: It's the story of Captain Ahab, a 19th-century whaling captain who harbors a monomaniac vengeance against the white whale Moby Dick, who reaped away his leg after a fierce battle years ago. It's told from the point of view of Ishmael, one of the sailors aboard The Pequod -- and where we get the famous line "Call me Ishmael."

CB: We perform it live over Zoom and it's audio-only, so you don't have to worry about screen fatigue.

MG: I call it an experiential listening experience -- kind of like a radio-play, kind of like an enhanced audiobook, kind of like laying down on the carpet and listening to an old record front to back. Listeners should create a dark space at home, turn off their lights and screens, and let their imagination run away with itself for an hour or two. We even offer a MOBY DICK grog recipe to make ahead of time!

CB: You can listen to MOBY DICK IN THE DARK by yourself, or with a small group of (socially-responsible) friends depending on your specific situation.

How does Theatre in the Dark produce its shows? What makes it different than other audio dramas?

CB: Our actors connect over 5,500 miles and broadcast live each night from Chicago, Vancouver, and New Orleans; featuring an original score by Nick Montopoli, rich soundscapes, and classic Foley sound effects.

MG: Just like live theatre, each night the actors give a different take on the show and we respond to the world and the circumstances around us in real time.

CB: Unlike pre-edited content, our shows are forged through the live-performance process. Many listeners are amazed at how seamless our performances feel, and that's because we put in a lot of rehearsal-as much as you would for an in-person event-to make sure everything runs smoothly every night.

Most of us know MOBY DICK as the book we were supposed to read in high school. With MOBY DICK being adapted for film, TV, and even operas in the past-why now? Why MOBY DICK as a live online audio drama?

CB: I find MOBY DICK is one of those stories you can return to time and again, multi-faceted. MOBY DICK is the story of a man pursuing his own vengeance at the peril of his ship and crew. Though some offer resistance, most of his men follow Ahab blindly. I think the last few years have shown us what can happen when too many people put their faith in a captain who doesn't have their own best interests at heart. It's also a warning for the future.

MG: MOBY DICK is a massive story and there's no better set and costume designer than your own imagination. Our approach to theatre is to use words to create worlds. We give you lush audio and passionate performances so you can feel like you're right there beside Ishmael as Captain Ahab orders his crew to "lower the keel among ravenous sharks".

MOBY DICK IN THE DARK is Theatre in the Dark's fourth full audio drama. Why is audio theatre becoming so popular again?

MG: Theatre in the Dark was the first Chicago company (and one of the first groups nationally, we think) to pivot to audio theatre. In October of 2019, we produced a noir mystery, THREE STORIES UP, live and in-person, in a pitch black theatre space. The switch to audio-theatre was natural when we remounted THREE STORIES UP in May 2020 as our first 'pandemic-proof' online audio drama.

CB: We continue engaging audiences through audio storytelling as a temporary antidote for our visual, screen-based world. Audiences loved listening to the Golden Age of radio in the 1950s, and now people enjoy podcasts and audiobooks. We intersect those worlds with our love for theatre, audiobooks, podcasts, and literature. Knowing the experience for listeners is audio-only helps us choose which stories we tell and why.
This sounds incredible. How can we listen to MOBY DICK IN THE DARK?

CB: (laughing) Great question! We play for 20 performances March 11 - April 10 (8pm central, 7pm on Sundays), and all tickets are Pay-What-You-Can. Find us online, see performance information, and get your ticket at

Theatre in the Dark's MOBY DICK IN THE DARK
Based on the novel MOBY DICK by Herman Melville
Adapted and directed by Corey Bradberry
Featuring original music by Nick Montopoli
Performed live online March 11 - April 10, 2021
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7 pm; Wednesday, April 7 at 10pm (All times Central)
All Tickets are Pay-What-You-Can ($20-30 Recommended)
Tickets on sale now at
Phone for info only (no ticketing): 312.285.0314

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