George V. Reilly

Circe, second draft

James Joyce

Moments ago, I completed the second draft of the Circe Part I script for this year’s Ulysses reading.

The chapter is couched in the form of a play, making it relatively straight­for­ward to convert to a staged reading. There are, however, huge numbers of “stage di­rec­tion­s”, often ironic, generally unactable: A vast, detailed procession in Bloom’s honor; Bloom burning at the stake; camels offering mangoes to Molly; and much, much more.

In addition, there are over one hundred characters, most of whom have a line or two, then disappear. They need to be introduced somehow.

So I added two narrators to handle all of this. They steer the reading along, adding much-needed context to aid the audience who won’t be nearly as familiar with the text as we are.

Next rehearsal is Wednesday, when I’ll get to hear the changed text for the first time. I’m confident that most of the changes that I made will work, but I’ll probably need to produce another draft in a few weeks.

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