Once again, Bloomsday celebrated
For 31 years, more than 15 of them on the Vineyard, Island resident John Crelan's group, Arts and Society, has put together an annual "Bloomsday Celebration of Music and Drama." Held at the Katharine Cornell Theatre, Bloomsday, June 16, is the day in 1904, when events in the life of the fictional character Leopold Bloom began to unfold in James Joyce's novel "Ulysses."
as father and friend in a theatrical reimagining of part of Joyce's
"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man." Photos by Ralph Stewart
First published in its entirety in 1922, "Ulysses" is considered by many to be one of the most important works of modernist literature.
Since the first Bloomsday celebration in 1954, commemorating Joyce, his work, and "Ulysses" in particular, events have been staged by Joyce aficionados world-wide. The Arts and Society celebration is one of the longest continuous running celebrations in the world, according to Mr. Crelan.
The evening began with a dramatic selection from Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," directed by Bostonian Jean Sheikh, entitled "A Trip to Cork." It was a compelling example of Joyce's wonderful narrative style.
Andy MacDonald, an accomplished actor who has performed up and down the East Coast, brought the role of the son, Stephen Dedalus, into sharp focus with an engaging performance full of mirth and weight. His rolling cadence gave a life to Joyce's words that was enthralling. His foils, father Simon Dedalus and friend Johnny Cashman, were expertly played by real Irishmen (Bostonians and long-time Bloomsday actors) Cahal Stephens and Donal O'Sullivan, respectively. It was funny and poignant.
A musical interlude with Joycian songs sung by operatic mezzo-soprano Lia Kahler followed. Ms. Kahler, daughter of an old Vineyard family, sister to Ann Nelson (former owner of Bunch of Grapes) who spent her professional life singing opera primarily in Europe, sang several songs that Joyce was known to have enjoyed and a complex Samuel Barber piece, "Solitary Hotel", with lyrics from a section of "Ulysses." Accompanied on the piano by the Island's own Philip Deitterich, Ms. Kahler's crystalline voice enthralled the house.