George V. Reilly

Adapting Penelope, part II

Last night, I read the first third of the chapter. Tonight I will read more.

I described it as “badly punctuated.” There's no punc­tu­a­tion at all! No apos­tro­phes, no commas, no periods. The “sen­tences” are separated by paragraph breaks.

So far, Molly Bloom has thought back to Mrs Riordan, an obnoxious elderly neighbor whom Leopold Bloom flattered; sickness; Bloom's in­fi­deli­ties, present and past; her own seductions and con­fes­sion­s; sex and child­birth; jealousy; ag­gra­vat­ing husbands.

In the second paragraph: men are all so different; how strange Bloom is; Bloom is “mad on the subject of drawers”; their first sexual encounter; punc­tu­al­i­ty; a potential singing trip to Belfast with both Bloom and Blazes Boylan, her paramour; her last concert; hating politics; money; well-dressed men; losing weight, face continue.

Adapting Penelope, part I

We at the Wild Geese Players of Seattle have been adapting James Joyce's Ulysses for staged readings since 1998, and we will complete the book with the Penelope chapter (aka Molly Bloom's soliloquy) on Bloomsday 2013.

I shall detail my dra­matur­gi­cal process over several blog posts.

The very first step is to re-read the chapter. It's been several years since I last read it and I don't remember it clearly. I've yet to look at my old friends, Gifford and Blamires, for their takes on “Penelope”.

Molly is lying in bed, day­dream­ing early on the morning of June 17th, 1904. Leopold climbed in to bed a little while ago, put his continue.

Narrators in Circe

As I mentioned the other night, I introduced two narrators into the chapter of Ulysses that we're reading in June.

I'd say from the rehearsal tonight that the additions are successful, that they clarify the text for the listener, without being intrusive. I expect that I'll have to produce a third draft of the script in a few weeks, but I think the next round of changes will be minor. The second draft required hundreds of small changes.

We gained three new readers tonight. There are plenty of parts to go around, so it's all to the good. We had great difficulty initially last year in getting enough readers from the old continue.

Circe, second draft

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 continue.

Dramaturgy: Vim

So how do I go from the Project Gutenberg etext to LaTeX?

Here's the Gutenberg text for the pictured fragment:


THE BISHOP OF DOWN AND CONNOR: I here present your undoubted emperor-
president and king-chairman, the most serene and potent and very puissant
ruler of this realm. God save Leopold the First!

ALL: God save Leopold the First!

WITH DIGNITY) Thanks, somewhat eminent sir.

to your power cause law and mercy to be executed in all your 

Dramaturgy: LaTeX

I have a long-standing fas­ci­na­tion with typography. In the late '80s and early '90s, I became quite adept with TeX and LaTeX, the well-known scientific type­set­ting system. When I was at ICPC, I think I read the TeXbook cover to cov­er—twice. I became the TeX ad­min­is­tra­tor for the CS department while I was at Brown.

And then I moved to Seattle to work for Microsoft and entered the world of Windows, and I left TeX behind for more than 15 years.

I wrote the other day that I prepared the Bloomsday scripts in XML for several years, using XSLT to generate HTML. I used to send the HTML to the continue.

Dramaturgy: XML

I'm about halfway through the 60,000-word Circe chapter of Ulysses, converting it to LaTeX.

For several years, I took the plaintext from the Project Gutenberg etext, prepared the script in XML, used XSLT to transform it into HTML, tarted it up with CSS, and then saved it as a PDF. You can see a screenshot above.

I'll write up tomorrow why I switched to LaTeX last year.

XML Scripts -- For the Theater

For the last three years, I've been involved with The Wild Geese Players of Seattle, an amateur group that does readings of Irish literature, par­tic­u­lar­ly the works of James Joyce and W.B. Yeats. Our big event every year is Bloomsday, June 16th, com­mem­o­rat­ing Joyce's Ulysses, which takes place on June 16th, 1904. It's a tale of a Jewish everyman, Leopold Bloom, wandering through Dublin one day, and of the young writer (and Joyce's alter ego), Stephen Dedalus. We're working our way through the book, reading a chapter or two each year. In this, our eighth year, we'll be reading Chapter 11, Sirens, at the Brechemin Auditorium in the School of Music at the University of Washington, continue.