Part of the Summer Movies and Music Series, which is made possible with the generous support of Camden Riverhouse Hotel & Inns, and Camden Law.
Renowned actor Stephen Collins returns to the library as Herman Melville. The show will take place in the beautiful Library Amphitheatre, in view of the Harbor. The show “Sailing Towards my Father” by Carl A. Rossi is a one-man play about Herman Melville the 19th Century writer best known for his whaling epic Moby-Dick. The play explores his complex relationships with his family and friends, God and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Stephen Collins grew up in Cambridge and received a BA in Literature from UMass Boston. After twenty plus years in a sales career, he is back doing what he truly loves – performing and teaching. Recently he has been teaching seminars on Whitman, Hardy, Shakespeare, Frost, and Contemporary Poetry at various locations throughout the country.
The newest addition to his repertoire, a one-man show Shake-Scene has been met to rave reviews. He also works as a professionally licensed tour guide doing narrated historical tours of Boston. His Whitman performances have taken him all over the country. He now has eight one-man shows and six courses where his teaching style has been described as a hybrid between lecture and performance.
Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, and poet of the American Renaissance period. His best-known works include Typee (1846), a romantic account of his experiences in Polynesian life, and his whaling novel Moby-Dick (1851). His work was almost forgotten during his last 30 years.
His writing draws on his experience at sea as a common sailor, exploration of literature and philosophy, and engagement in the contradictions of American society in a period of rapid change. He developed a complex, baroque style; the vocabulary is rich and original, a strong sense of rhythm infuses the elaborate sentences, the imagery is often mystical or ironic, and the abundance of allusion extends to biblical scripture, myth, philosophy, literature, and the visual arts.
Melville was born in New York City, the third child of a merchant in French dry goods and his wife. His formal education ended abruptly after his father died in 1832, as this left the family in financial straits. He briefly became a schoolteacher before he took to sea in 1839 as a sailor on a merchant ship. In 1840, he signed aboard the whaler Acushnet for his first whaling voyage but jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands. He returned to Boston in 1844 after further adventures.