How do you celebrate James Joyce’s great modernist novel Ulysses in a time of plague? This year the annual June 16th celebration can’t be in a theatre, as Bloomsday in Melbourne have celebrated for the past 27 years. Instead, we are creating 18 short films, one for each of the book’s episodes, and playing them out across the big day on Facebook. The film director is the very talented Jennifer Sarah Dean (founder of Melbourne Shakespeare Company). The cast of 20 comes together from around Australia and the world for a virtual celebration. Narrator and guide is the peerless Max Gillies.
This year’s festival on 16 June 2020 (starting at 8am and running till late) comprises three events:
1. Ulysses in Plaguetime is a (short short) Film Festival based on all 18 episodes of James Joyce’s Ulysses. These films, a hectic slam version of Ulysses, directed by Jennifer Sarah Dean (of Melbourne Shakespeare Company) will be screened according to Joyce’s timetable on 16 June for Ulysses on FaceBook. as well as on the Bloomsday in Melbourne website. They aim to be true to the text and to distil the essence of each chapter.
2. Philip Harvey (with the scripters) will host the Bloomsday seminar, the most democratic in its history, as a comments thread after each film. For that you need to join the closed group on FaceBook as a participant (it’s free, so join now).
3. By way of supplementation, there’s also a blog, a wordfest, which examines the choices made for the films and what else there is to discover in the each chapter.
We hope many potential readers of Ulysses will get the kickstart they need by watching the films and following up.
Suppported by the Irish Embassy Canberra and the Celtic Club
More information: www.bloomsdayinmelbourne.org.au