George V. Reilly

Preparing Bloomsday Scripts

Bloomsday is less than three months away and the Wild Geese Players need to start rehearsing soon. I made a start on the script at the end of January, but didn’t pick it up again until today.

Three years ago, we completed Ulysses, having started in 1998. Two years ago, we started over, reading chapters 1 and 4 in­ter­leaved. In Chapter 1 (Telemachus), Stephen Dedalus arises in the Martello Tower at Sandymount and feuds with Buck Mulligan. Chapter 4 (Calypso) takes place at the same time as Chapter 1, wherein Leopold Bloom breaks his fast.

Last year, we in­ter­twined chapters 2 and 5. Chapter 2 (Nestor) takes place at the school where Stephen teaches; he locks horns with Deasy, the headmaster. Chapter 5 (The Lotus Eaters) sees Bloom ambling through Dublin, picking up the illicit letter from his would-be mistress, Martha.

This year, we’re going to intertwine chapters 3 and 6. Stephen wanders along Sandymount strand in Chapter 3 (Proteus), lost in his thoughts. While in Chapter 6 (Hades), Bloom travels in a carriage with Simon Dedalus, Martin Cunningham, and Mr Power to Paddy Dignam’s funeral at Glasnevin cemetery.

I dislike Chapter 3, as I find it nearly unreadable. Stephen disappears up his own arsehole with his philosph­i­cal musings. I’m bitter because that’s where I gave up the first time that I read Ulysses, back in 1982 during the Joyce centenary. If I had known to skip the rest of that chapter and start reading Calypso, I might have finished the book twenty years sooner than I did.

I have yet to figure out how to carve up chapters 3 and 6 for in­ter­leav­ing. Otherwise, I’ve mostly prepared the first draft. I took the source from Project Gutenberg, converted it into LaTeX, added at­tri­bu­tions for the speakers, narrators, and internal monologues, added the Gabler edition line numbers, and otherwise cleaned it up.

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