Every June 16th is Bloomsday. It is the day depicted in James Joyce’s world-changing novel “Ulysses,” the day in 1904 that we follow Leo Bloom and Stephen Dedalus throughout Dublin and some 650 dense and exhilarating pages.
Bloomsday was created by Joyce fans in 1954 and it has been celebrated since — especially in Dublin, but also worldwide.
Bloomsday In New York City offers a plethora of activities, from Bloomsday on Staten Island to a celebration at the American Irish Historical Society to Radio Bloomsday (on WBAI) to The Bloomsday Collection, a fashion show (!)
For the 29th year in a row, Symphony Space will present “Bloomsday on Broadway” which will feature Stephen Colbert and Marian Seldes, fresh from her completely silent Tony Award acceptance speech. (“They told us, keep it short, keep it short, keep it short, so I decided I would just say nothing.”) This time she will be saying something — the words of James Joyce. Also performing in these staged excerpts are various other Broadway and film stars, including Tony Roberts, Dana Ivey, Stephen Lang, Malachy McCourt, Jonathan Hadary, Lois Smith.
The first sentence of the novel:
“Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.”
It would not be practical to reproduce the last sentence of the novel, since it’s 35 pages long. The last few words, though, spoken by Leo’s wife Molly, are probably the most famous in the novel. They begin:
“…and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”
As the Symphony Space website points out:
“BLOOMSDAY ON BROADWAY will conclude with the complete, uncensored, vivid night-time monologue of Molly Bloom performed by Fionnula Flanagan in a prodigious performing feat that lasts two and a half hours. This performance will be broadcast on WNYC and on Symphony Space Live.”