George V. Reilly

Circe Poster

As promised yesterday, I'm posting the poster for the Circe reading. It's a fine painting by Ellen Coyle. The shrunken image here doesn't do it justice. You can download an 11"x14" PDF (6MB) to see it in its full glory.

Circe Rehearsal

We're rehearsing most Wednesdays for our reading of the first half of the Circe chapter of Ulysses next month. It's going well. We need some more rehearsal, but it now sounds like we know what we're doing. Tonight we read the entire piece through from beginning to end, for the first time. Now we know that it takes two-and-a-quarter hours.

We also got the poster tonight. It looks great! I'd post it, but I need to get the painting scanned first.

Bloomsday 2009 Press Release

I just sent out the following press release.

The Wild Geese Players of Seattle will perform a staged reading of Circe, chapter 15 of James Joyce’s Ulysses, on Saturday, June 13th, 2009, 1:30-4pm at the University Bookstore, 4326 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105. Donations towards costs of posters and props are welcome.

It is late on the night of June 16th, 1904, and Leopold Bloom has followed Stephen Dedalus into Dublin's red-light district. Bloom has a paternal concern for Stephen's welfare and knows that Stephen is now very drunk. In the Circe chapter of Homer's Odyssey, the witch-goddess Circe transforms Odysseus' crew into swine. In Joyce's version, Bloom will have hal­lu­ci­na­to­ry encounters with 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.

Circe, part 1

I am co-directing this year's reading of Ulysses with Helen. We have decided to do the first half of the chapter with some light cuts. The Circe character, Bella Cohen, will not be seen until next year, as we'll be stopping shortly before she makes her entrance.

We had a readthrough-cum-planning meeting ten days ago at Helen's and a rehearsal tonight at my house. We'll need several more rehearsals, but it's starting to come together.

We'll be reading at the University Bookstore on Saturday, June 13th.

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.

Ulysses 2009: Circe

It's time to start thinking about this year's reading of Ulysses for the Wild Geese Players of Seattle. The next chapter to be tackled is Circe, the nightmare scene in the brothel.

Most chapters require a lot of work to tease apart into a staged reading, to make sense of the different threads of Bloom's inner monologue, or to attribute fragments of con­ver­sa­tion to different characters, for example. This chapter is written in the form of a play; at­tri­bu­tion is easy.

But Circe is also enormously long: some 60,000 words. For comparison, many novels are in the range 80–100,000 words. Last year's chapter was 20,000 words and I cut 5,000 words continue.

Bloomsday 2008

Bloomsday is around the corner. As ever, we at the Wild Geese Players of Seattle are staging a reading from James Joyce's Ulysses, at the Elliott Bay Bookstore, 101 S. Main St, on Sat 14th June 2008 at 4:30pm.

In the Oxen of the Sun, Leopold Bloom visits the Holles Street Maternity Hospital and falls in with Stephen Dedalus and a crowd of drunken medical students, in a chapter that not only re­ca­pit­u­lates the forty weeks of pregnancy, it also con­sti­tutes a tour through the de­vel­op­ment of the English language.

I play Stephen Dedalus, the second most important character of the book. In this chapter, it is neither a large nor a small role.

Behind continue.

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