Now about the play. Indiana University Kokomo (IUK) Department of Theater put on James Joyces' Dubliners as I mentioned in an earlier post. Last Saturday night the Pea and I went to see it. The Pea went as a reporter and I just went as ... well ... the audience. We tried to go to the usual entrance doors into the auditorium, but they were locked. This I thought was a little curious so close to the time of the opening, but soon as we walked around the hall leading to the stage entrance, we saw the ticket takers and other people. Hum, strange. We entered realizing that the audience was to share the stage with the actors. It was a huge stage with chairs for the audience on one side and a simple set on the other side. This gave us a cozy feel and brought us on eye level with the play that was about to take place. Interesting.
The set was simple. An upper stage and a lower stage, a set of stairs leading up to a free-standing front door, and a sign on an easel with the title "Dubliners" on it. The man who heads up the theater department came forward to say a few words beaming just like anyone would whose baby was about to be seen by the public for the first time. He explained that this performance was staged in the "Chamber Theatre" style. Meaning that this was to be a story, and this story was not going to be dramatized in the normal fashion. Dialog and narration would be woven together much like it would be in a novel. In this way, we could experience James Joyce as an author much more fully since his insights to various situations were written into the script explicitly as the characters break away from dialog to narrate for themselves and for other characters.
This would be very difficult to pull off - but springing from a great writer as Joyce, the screenwriter as played through the actors soon had me riveted.As the light dimmed for the first sketch, a girl removed the "Dubliners" sign to reveal the next sign which said "Araby" - this was to be the first ::you can't really call it an "act" because each section is a self-contained sketch based on a separate short story - we'll just call one a "part":: part.
I won't go into the details of the story lines - you'll have to read them for yourself, but there were four parts taken from four different short stories. One major link between all of them was a moment of self-revelation. The main characters in each part would make decisions at crucial points in their lives based upon their inner perspective. It wasn't something with which you could agree or disagree since the decision came from their inner presuppositions. But since they presented you with an intimate look into their thought life, you did get a better understanding as to why they made a decision. They had sad, disconnected lives as many people do. And since I think it's good to know what makes people tick, it was all in all, an intellectually satisfying and profitable experience.
*Post Scriptum* If you want to read more about this play go to the Pea's blog.