The Quick Brown Jumps Over the Lazy Dog

Against DW Griffith

The Confidence Man


Professional spokespeople take the place of performers, relaying stories, market shocks and TED talk-like speeches to a live audience.

The Confidence Man was Herman Melville’s final novel. Maybe it was bad sales, disappointing reviews (Including the headline “Herman Melville Crazy”), but there’s a pattern in these late works, the novels adding up to a deep suspicion of drama. Causality, the corner brick of narrative, never ended well for the men Melville wrote of (the whale stole my leg, therefore…) Now it was 1857, PT Barnum was in full scam, the ‘Know Nothing’ party was emerging,  moods floated down from the markets. Melville’s plan, I guess, was to plot a novel from these fluctuations in the shared weather and market moods. The stories are relayed through ghostly reappearing archetypes, stories never experienced first hand, maybe not even believed, nonetheless the interface carries things along.
1646, Den Haag. Performers: Jeremiah Fleming, João Paixão, Abner Preis, Pasquale Camporeale. Camera: Lukas Heistinger.

Good-night; and Providence have both of us in its good keeping.



At 1646 Project Space,
Boekhorstst. 125, The Hague, NL
21 January, 2014
Doors open at 19:00, the performance begins at 20:00.


The Confidence Man, Herman Melville’s farewell to fiction, is made up of a series of meetings on a steamboat heading down the Mississippi. Actors and professional speakers will deliver speeches adapted from the text as a theatrical performance.

The play will be accompanied by a guest-lecture by Frans-Willem Korsten.