How it’s Irish: Bloomsday is named for Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of James Joyce’s Ulysses, and is set on the day that the novel takes place, June 16, 1904.
You’ve got multiple opportunities to have fun in New York this year! Here are just a few of them:
At 3 p.m., you could catch ReJoyce with Molly at The New York Society Library, an enactment of Molly Bloom, directed by Catherine Taylor-Williams and featuring actress Getchie Argetsinger, this staging of the last forty minutes of the Molly Bloom soliloquy offers the audience a glimpse of the irresistible and enigmatic wife of Leopold Bloom.
You can also catch a matinee of Patrick Fitzgerald’s play Gibraltar at Irish Repertory Theatre, a play about Leopold and Molly Bloom.
Haunted by the death of a son and incapacitated by the havoc that loss has wrought on their relationship, they’re treading water. Bloom’s solution – Let Molly take a lover – Then she’ll appreciate Bloom more – She’ll tell him all about it – And thus they’ll recover their lost language of love. He embarks on his Odyssey around Dublin knowing full well that Molly is going to have an affair that afternoon. Can this gambit work? We wander far and wide with our unconquered hero until day turns to night and Bloom returns home to the comfort of his bed and sleep. Then Molly awakens. And has the last word. Yes …
At The Culture Project at 3, Juilliard-trained and award-winning actress Eunice Wong will read Molly, too.
“Penelope [Molly] is the clou of the book,” mused Joyce. “The first sentence contains 2500 words. There are eight sentences in the episode. It begins and ends with the female word yes. It turns like the huge earth ball slowly surely and evenly, round and round spinning, its 4 cardinal points being the female breasts, arse, womb and cunt expressed by the words because, bottom (in all uses bottom button, bottom of the class, bottom of the sea, bottom of his heart), woman, yes.”
One perennial is Bloomsday on Broadway, at Symphony Space: beginning at 7 p.m., a variety of starry actors and writers will read sections of the novel. Fionnula Flanagan will perform the entire Molly Bloom soliloquy! Other perormers include Malachy McCourt, Keir Dullea Kathleen Chalfant, Geraldine Hughes, and Aidan Connolly (from Irish Arts Center).
Me, I’ll be spending some time down at Ulysses Folk House from noon on. They take over the back alley, and everyone comes down. Usually you can spot Colum McCann, Malachy McCourt, Peter Quinn and loads of others, including people who will be at Symphony Space later. I just saw on the poster that Screaming Orphans will be playing later. What better way to spend the day! Yeah, it’s Father’s Day– bring him along!
Check out this clip of Aedin Moloney, with music by dad Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains, reading Molly– as she often does at Ulysses! Album is due out next year.