JOYCE'S NEGLECTED PLAY, 15-25 JUNE 2023.
AND ON SUNDAY 18TH JUNE, WE HELD OUT OUR ANNUAL BLOOMSDAY LUNCH AND JOYCEAN SEMINAR.
MORE ABOUT THESE EVENTS BELOW...
THIS RARE CHANCE TO SEE EXILES, JOYCE'S ONLY FORAY INTO THEATRE, PLAYED TO SELLOUT AUDIENCES FROM 15-25 JUNE 2023.
DIRECTED BY CARL WHITESIDE, DESIGNED BY BRIDIE TURNER AND LIT BY LINDON BLAKEY, IT TRANSFORMED THE ADULTERY PLAY INTO A SERIOUS AND DARKLY FUNNY TALE OF ENTRAPMENT AND A CLASH OF VALUES.
AHEAD OF ITS TIME, FEATURING FREE LOVE, POLYAMORY AND HOMOSOCIALITY, EXILES SUBVERTS THE NINETEENTH-CENTURY ADULTERY COMEDY IN A DARKLY FUNNY AND STRANGE EXPLORATION OF NOT ONE BUT TWO SETS OF PARTNER EXCHANGES… AND THROWS IN A DARING UNDERCURRENT OF HOMOEROTICISM, IN AN ERA WHEN THE OPEN PRESENTATION ON THE STAGE OF SUCH SUBJECT MATTER WAS STRICTLY TABOO.
EXILES DELIVERS NEW WAYS OF REFRAMING POSSIBILITIES OF AMOUR/LOVE, AND OUR AUDIENCES LOVED IT. WORD OF MOUTH WAS PHENOMENAL. JOYCEANS CAME COMING FROM CANBERRA, SYDNEY, COUNTRY VICTORIA, TASMANIA, AND MAYBE FURTHER AFIELD.
OUR COMMUNITY WAS KEEN TO SEE THIS UNFAIRLY NEGLECTED PLAY, WITH ITS SERIOUS TREATMENT OF NON-MONOGAMOUS RELATIONSHIPS, WRITTEN LONG BEFORE A LANGUAGE EXISTED FOR TALKING ABOUT IT, AND BEFORE POLYAMORY WAS BY DEFINITION SEXUAL. THE KEY QUESTION POSED TO THE CHILD ARCHIE, IS ‘WHAT IS IT TO GIVE?’, AND IT RESONATES THROUGH THE PLAY. JOYCE ANSWERS IN MANY WAYS THROUGH HIS CHARACTERS, AND (AS USUALLY) QUITE EQUIVOCALLY – IT’S GIVING WITHOUT REQUIRING A RETURN AND WHERE ONE CHOOSES, AND IT’S FRAUGHT WITH UNCERTAINTY AND COST, EVEN FOR THE MOST ASSURED.
WHAT SURPRISED OUR KNOWING PATRONS IS HOW VERY DIFFERENT IT IS FROM ULYSSES (COMPLETED IN 1914 AND FULLY REVISED BY 1917), WHICH IT PREPARES FOR, AND HOW VERY INTENSE IT IS. IT IS ATYPICAL JOYCE IN BEING STRONGLY NARRATIVE-DRIVEN: IT IS WRITTEN LIKE A PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER WITH ITS OWN MACHIAVELLI AT ITS CORE, WITHOUT THE VIOLENCE (ANOTHER JOYCEAN SINE QUA NON).
@ FORTYFIVEDOWNSTAIRS, 45 FLINDERS LANE, MELBOURNE
HOW WAS EXILES RECEIVED?
'It’s a rare opportunity to see Joyce’s only play performed, and Bloomsday in Melbourne is to be commended in bringing out its layers and subtleties and some contemporary resonances so adeptly.
'a compelling and nuanced production....Exiles ask its audience if one can love without the impulse to possess, and creates enough space for an assortment of answers. '
'Exiles’ director Carl Whiteside has breathed life into Joyce’s carefully crafted words, ensuring they have emotional resonance....'Bloomsday's adaptation of Exiles makes for an engaging night of theatre and leaves me asking whether unflinching honesty is always the best policy'
Its real subject is, in fact, jealousy and betrayal... The conflicts are all within the bounds of fidelity versus freedom, friendship versus betrayal.
'Exiles was exuberantly performed with a wisely cut-down script that focussed on the essentials and avoided the melodrama and Irish sentimentally of the complete text.'
Dan Boyle, Tintean
AUDIENCE MEMBERS HAVE THEIR SAY ABOUT EXILES
all comments unsolicited
FROM TASMANIAN FIRST-TIMERS TO BLOOMSDAY
... the play was just wonderful. All actors were so committed ... The play was marvellously witty and captured all the intrigues of each personality. The only thing missing was a little spoken Irish. Just the odd phrase or expletive.
All the characters' personalities were so strong and I personally felt I knew them all emotionally.... I could easily watch it again and again.
FROM A SEASONED JOYCEAN
Thank you very much for producing Exiles! It was a fabulous evening and I am astounded the play has not been performed more often, let alone in Melbourne
It's a terrific script with threads relevant to modern life; it was superbly acted with great direction. You did a great job editing the original work and I agree with you, it's 100 percent James Joyce
Keep-up the good work
PS I read Ronan’s excellent review but found Richard a far more interesting character than Gabriel in 'The Dead'
IT CUTS THE MUSTARD FOR IRISH VIEWERS
‘The play was terrific. Our two Irish friends thought so too. Wonderful, beautiful acting, clever staging. Full marks’
on an admirable and compelling production
FROM AN IRISH-IDENTIFIED RADIO PROGRAMMER
We also liked the play-interesting themes,wonderful performances,(consistent Irish accents!),attractive costumes, set, etc.
However, we felt that it could have been shortened/tightened as it was a rather static, repetitive piece.The ending was a little unsatisfying, leaving some questions unanswered and issues unresolved, or perhaps that was Joyce's intention.
FROM MANY OF BLOOMSDAY'S PATRONS
great (fabulous) performances x 3
very, very worth seeing x4
They have gone all out with the set design, sound and lighting is professional standard.
Bravi to all concerned - it was a most interesting and entertaining production, and I was excited to see the review
THE ANNUAL BLOOMSDAY IN MELBOURNE LUNCH AND SEMINAR
SUNDAY 18TH JUNE 2023 FROM 12.30PM. SEMINAR AT 3PM
SUPPORTED IN 2023
Warm thanks to the Celtic Club of Melbourne