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Eveline & Clay


11 January 2024 at 7:30pm

The James Joyce Centre was pleased to present a musical theatre performance based on two short stories from James Joyce’s Dubliners, Eveline & Clay, on Thursday, 11 January 2024 at 7:30pm. The performances showed how two women, leading restricted lives in a newly modern Dublin, make journeys towards an elusive freedom. First presented in 2009, the show is a revival of the collaboration between the accomplished composer, Michael Holohan, and the award-winning Joyce interpreter and actor, Paul O’Hanrahan.

Written by Joyce when he was a young man between the ages of 22 and 23, ‘Eveline’ and ‘Clay’ were both significant stepping stones in his development as a writer. ‘Eveline’ was initially published in the Irish Homestead in September 1904, not long before Joyce himself left Ireland with Nora Barnacle. ‘Clay’ was completed by December 1905 but it would not be until 1914 that both were published in the collection, Dubliners. The stories show a remarkable ability in a young writer to understand and represent how women’s lives were regulated and controlled by the patriarchal family, work, and religion.

Music in these stories is a form of memory and a means of socialisation; an intrinsic part of Dublin society at the time, it is already embedded in Joyce’s writing. Michael, who is from Drumcondra, has scored new piano music for these performances, drawing on an affinity with the setting of the stories on the city’s north side.

The James Joyce Centre is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

Paul O’Hanrahan, director of Balloonatics Theatre Company, is an actor and theatre director who specialises in re-enactments of the works of James Joyce. He has won Fringe First awards for theatrical adaptations of both Ulysses and Finnegans Wake at the Edinburgh Festival. He has produced, in Dublin, street and venue performances of Joyce’s Ulysses on Bloomsday, June 16th. He also regularly performs Telemachus at the Tower, his solo show based on the opening episode of Ulysses at the Joyce Tower in Sandycove, including seven performances in 2023.

Michael Holohan, an accomplished composer and pianist, has resided in Drogheda since 1983. He has won numerous prizes as well as Arts Council awards for attending master classes, in the 1980s, with Messiaen, Boulez, Xenakis, Berio, and Lachenmann in France. His compositions have been performed and broadcast both at home and internationally.

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