The play, which contains biographical information relating to Herman Melville, is an exploration of the ways in which writers compose and are composed. Parallels between past and present (in racism, domestic abuse, and the plight of the visionary American artist) are clearly implied; but the play also utilizes new technologies, like video, in order to represent the kind of dialectical history and representation promoted by Walter Benjamin. The utilization of various performance strategies within the play generates the exposure of the complex textuality of a writer who has haunted the landscape of American from the mid-19th century to the present. This is a text which may be applied as both textbook and supplementary reading. As a work of dramatic historical fiction primarily focused on Herman Melville, it should be of interest to any Melville or American studies enthusiast.
Before becoming a lecturer in the English Department of California State University, Mitchell worked extensively as a playwright and professional comedian/ventriloquist. He performed throughout the U.S and Caribbean, also appearing on television. Previous plays include; Urban Renewal, Potlach, Cruising the Caribbean: Old Pleasures in the New World, Behind-the-Scenes and American Labor.