The Dead, 1904
James Joyce’s novella, THE DEAD, is the final and most celebrated story in his 1914 collection, DUBLINERS. It describes a 1904 holiday gathering on January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany, in the Dublin home of two elderly sisters, Kate and Julia Morkan, and their niece, Mary Jane, all three of whom are musicians and music teachers. At the party are students, friends, a celebrated tenor, an ardent nationalist, a lost alcoholic, and the young couple, Gabriel and Gretta Conroy (the sisters’ nephew and his wife). Over the course of an hour or two there are conversations, music, dancing and dining. There are speeches and disagreements – polite and impolite. The tenor sings a lovely traditional lament – The Lass of Aughrim – and when it is all over Gabriel Conroy learns something about his wife that changes everything: his idea of her and of himself, his sense of what it actually means to be alive, and to be dead.
THE DEAD, 1904 is a new, immersive adaptation by Pulitzer Prizewinning Irish poet Paul Muldoon and novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz, in which the audience members will themselves attend the Misses Morkan’s annual party, move from room to room with the actors, listen to the music, watch the dances, share food and drink and observe the characters in their interactions. The adaptation received its world premiere from the Irish Repertory Theatre in an eight week run from November 2016-January 2017, at the American Irish Historical Society, an important cultural organization based in a beautiful 1900 mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. A Victorian meal inspired by the dinner in Joyce's story was provided by Great Performances catering as an intrinsic part of the adaptation. Audience was limited to 40 people.
This exquisite theatrical event is a true immersive experience, incorporating drama, music, dance and food in a unique and intimate setting.