Getting ready for BloomsDay?

Looking to get your Joyce fix before Bloomsday? Hoping you can slip a bit more easily in to the deep waters of modernist literature and, maybe, get a few really good bellylaughs along the way? Well, Tom Stoppard and some of the very talented folk at Plays&Players here in Philadelphia have got you covered. And, believe me, this will get you ready, happily, joyfully ready for all the lifeaffirming comedy Joyce’s work can bring.

Plays&Players is presenting Tom Stoppard’s TRAVESTIES, a fantastical romp through the art culture of Zurich during World War One when Joyce, Vladmir Lenin and DaDa poet Tristan Tzara may, or may not,  have met. In typical Stoppard fashion it gives you a wild, frenetical glimpse at how art, literature and politics all intersect. Sure, you may leave the theatre wishing you read more, but that’s just typical Stoppard as well. Don’t worry. No one is going to check your library card when you come in, but I guarantee  you’ll be looking to use it a lot more once you leave.

But, to make things a bit easier still, Plays&Players has schedule some great supplementary and educational “talkbacks” with the cast and some guest speakers after some of the performances:

JUNE 8

“Talking Stoppard and Joyce”

Join us for a pre-show happy hour at our Quig’s Pub, from 6:30-7:30pm on Friday, June 8 for an informal conversation about the work of Tom Stoppard and James Joyce with Professor Janine Utell of Widener University, author of James Joyce and the Revolt of Love: Marriage, Adultery, Desire.  Read more. (many of you will know Janine from her  fantastic Readers’ Guide to the “Calypso” chapter on this website.)

JUNE 10
“Meet-the-cast talkback with a guest star!”
The cast and creative team of Travesties join Professor Joseph J. Feeney for a talkback immediately following the show, to talk about the work of James Joyce, Tom Stoppard, and to answer questions about the production. Read more.
JUNE 15
“Bloomers on the Limmat”
Join us for a pre-show happy hour at our Quig’s Pub, from 6:30pm-7:30pm on Friday, June 15, with Professor Jean-Michel Rabaté of the University of Pennsylvania, as he discusses the reality behind the imagination of Tom Stoppard in Travesties, transporting us to 1917 as privileged witnesses to the radically modern, a time when Vladimir Lenin, James Joyce, and Tristan Tzara were busy changing the world of art and politics. Read more.
JUNE 17

“Meet-the-cast talkback with a guest star!”
The cast and creative team of Travesties join Professor Elizabeth Mannion of Temple University for a talkback immediately following the show, to talk about the work of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and to answer questions about the production. Read more.
As you may’ve guessed by now, I did the poster for this production you see above and most of the drawings used on stage. This means I’ve had a chance to see the rehearsals of this really difficult play and can tell you that I’m really excited by what thew cast and director Candace Cihocki are doing. Can’t suggest it highly enough and, well, I’m a bit of a tough audience for Joyce-related theatre by now!
Hope you’ll join us for this glimpse into the modern age and the wartime lightheartedness that only real men of genius are granted the time for. Heavy politics and art? Maybe. But the deeper question is, “what has any of that got to do with life and love and memory?”
Hope to see you there,
-Rob

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