Holy Cow: James Joyce Slaughters the Sacred Cows of English Literature

Concert or Performance

13 Jun 2018 to 17 Jun 2018

An original play, based on James Joyce’s Ulysses, and directed by Jennifer Sarah Dean. What does a style virtuoso do with the sacred cows of literary tradition? Nothing is safe and everyone is fair-game. James Joyce chooses fine cuts and then gorges, spews, parodies, refashions and creates new life.

This play foregrounds Joyce’s literary virtuosity: he magisterially commandeers all the styles of literary history, refurbishing them to tell his own modern story. Does style make the man? How does it limit how one thinks? Govern even what one can think?

As well as showcasing Joyce’s parodic wit at its best, it tells the simple story of Bloom’s visit to the maternity hospital to offer moral support, and homage, to a woman in labour for the twelfth time. All the while, too, in the tea-room, the rambunctious medicos and friends carouse and discuss sex, contraception, obstetrical pathologies, church attitudes to childbirth, and women’s bodies. They do not hold fertility in quite the same esteem as Bloom or Joyce and their over-the- top exchanges make for great comedy. They are irreverent, sacrilegious and down-right offensive.

Join Mina, the boyos, Stephen and Bloom at the maternity hospital, for a romp through English literature.


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