Writer: Donal O’ Kelly
Director: Sorcha Fox
Reviewer: Clara Mallon
Donal O’Kelly’s Joyced comes to the Dolmen Theatre Cournelscourt Dublin 18. From the onset, the plotline clearly revolves around James Joyce’s earlier life story. Set in 1904, the piece condenses many tales of Joyce’s associates, famously renounced for inspiring one of the leading modernist novels of the 20th Century, Ulysses.
As with everything Joycean, great expectations fill the small theatre before the piece begins. Katie O’Kelly enters the stage draped in symbolic black wings and flies high over Dublin city, and one can almost feel the wind beneath her wings.
Initially we are taken on a somewhat seamless farcical journey from one character to the next. However, the combination of very Joycean pacing and language means things swiftly descend into obscurity. For a one woman show depicting many different characters, perhaps a mimicking of Joyce’s word-play and stylistic narration are less effectively translated into a visual dramatization on stage. For a production running just over an hour, the choice of including an interval signifys insight into the intensity of the pacing.
Nonetheless O’Kelly remains energetic throughout her numerous characterisations. Director Sorcha Fox manages to expose both the complexities and rewards of visualising Joyce in her artistic direction. In the main, the production offers interesting insight into some of the less known figures in the life of James Joyce, whose influence are certainly successfully marked in Joyced.
Photo courtesy of The Dolmen Theatre. Runs until April 18th.