More on Ulysses

Muireann Kelly as Molly Bloom in Ulysses, Tron Theatre Co.

Photo credit: John Johnston

Ulysses at the Tron is being well reviewed. Here’s Brian from the Mitchell Classics book group.

Anyone wondering how on earth James Joyce’s Ulysses (which a comedian once quipped proved literature had a social purpose because it would keep a fire burning all winter) could have been reduced to the size of a play may be relieved to hear that Dermot Bolger’s adaptation of the novel is nothing of the kind. It’s a play in its own right and an extraordinary one at that.
Imagine Leopold Bloom standing motionless in the centre of the stage while you watch the contents of his mind, his thoughts and dreams being enacted around him while at the same time he features in them. Imagine characters appearing to you as the Christmas ghosts appeared to Scrooge but presenting you with scenes from Ulysses or scenes that emerge from themes in Ulysses only to fuse and fade and then return surreally transformed in the way that dreams re-fashion memories of life. Imagine yourself being infused with drifting elements of Joyce’s novel. You’re beginning to get an idea of just how extraordinary this play is.
It’s a distillation on the stage of an experience of the novel. And as you might expect, it takes some brilliant acting and clever theatrical techniques to portray it. One of these, I think, is to conjure up a salaciousness equivalent in its impact to the effect this element of the original – whether actual or reputed – had when it was first published. That people walked out of some performances was a compliment to the actors and the author.
But they should have stayed.

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