Eilin O'Dea Stars In MOLLY BLOOM BY JAMES JOYCE At Theater At 244 And Symphony Space
For Bloomsday 2019, Irish actress Eilin O'Dea will perform "Molly Bloom by James Joyce," the American premiere of her tour de force rendition of Joyce's best known and most complex female character. Shows will be June 13-15 and 19-22 at The Theater at 244, 244 West 54th Street (10 fl.) and June 16 as part of "Bloomsday on Broadway XXXVIII" at Peter Jay Sharp Theatre of Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street. The performance, lifted verbatim from the Penelope episode of "Ulysses," has brought O'Dea critical acclaim in Ireland and Europe for her no-holds-barred, candid look into Molly Bloom's whirling mind.
O'Dea first performed the role almost a decade ago as part of Dublin's Bloomsday Festival at the James Joyce Center. She subsequently performed the piece at the Mansion house Dublin by special invite of Dublin's Lord Mayor and throughout Europe.
The performance is set in Dublin's Eccles Street in 1904 around midnight. Molly ruminates on life, love, loss and sex as she awaits the return of her wandering husband, Leopold Bloom. She reminisces on her childhood years in Gibralter, the loss of her son, her adulterous relationship with Boylan, her complex relationship with her husband "Poldy" and how he kissed her under the moorish wall. Original direction of the performance was by Liam Carney and Patrick J Byrnes.
O'Dea's performance was praised by Peter Crawley, lead critic of the Irish Times, writing, "O'Dea is every inch the sensualist Joyce imagined." Irish Theatre award panelist Sara Keating added, "O'Dea brilliantly captures the nuances of Molly's rambling mind." Irish Theatre Magazine heralded her performance as "rich, passionate and compelling" and Sunday Business Post called it "brilliant."
Eilin O'Dea trained at the prestigious LIR Academy, Trinity College, Dublin and has performed at most venues throughout her native Ireland. She is also a Spinto Soprano, having trained at the Conservatory of Music, Dublin. She has performed at both concert and operatic platforms, including as guest soprano at St George's Hall (UK), Mansion House (Dublin), American Irish Historical Society and Symphony Space Broadway. She has received numerous Culture Ireland awards that have allowed her bring her work to the United States, where she founded Fusion Theatre in 2016 to fulfill her concept for synthesizing the worlds of theater and opera.
The company launched in January, 2016 with a staged reading of James Joyce's "The Dead" at Theater Row, in which operatic tenor Byron Singleton and soprano O'Dea sang many of the Irish ballads referred to in Joyce's work. This was followed September 19-25, 2016 with a short proof-of-concept workshop run of this adaptation of Sartre's "No Exit" at Walkerspace Theatre. In 2017, Fusion presented the Lewis Galantière translation of Anouilh's "Antigone" at Theatre Row's Studio Theatre, infusing the play with operatic selections from five classic operas based on the Greek myth. Blogger Steve Capra wrote, "Eilin O'Dea gives a superb performance as Antigone....In fact, the entire cast is first-rate....this production is excellent, exquisite, a great success - and congratulations to Fusion Theatre!" Last month, the company restaged "No Exit" as the debut production of The Theater at 244. Theaterscene.net (Darryl Reilly) wrote, "Further echoing the grand jack of all trades tradition of Orson Welles, O'Dea plays the part of Inez, the manipulative lesbian postal clerk. With her Irish accent, flowing dark hair and abundant charisma O'Dea is bewitching. Laughing, taunting and conveying slyness and despair through her rich vocal cadences she drives the play with Pinteresque brio."
Fusion Theatre is conducting an extended residency this year at The Theater at 244, 244 W. 54th St., 10 fl., where the space's tile red walls are expected to provide a fiery atmosphere for Molly Bloom's voluptuous and earthy monologue. Performances are 8:00 PM June 13-15 and 19-22. Tickets are $35 gen. adm., $20 seniors and students. For reservations call 646-589-2426; to buy tickets go to https://tinyurl.com/y2xq274x.
This year, June 16 is both Bloomsday and Father's Day--90 years since the original Bloomsday was celebrated in Paris in 1929. O'Dea will perform that day as part of "Bloomsday on Broadway XXXVIII" at Peter Jay Sharp Theatre of Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street. The event is hosted by Mia Dillon and also features performances by Malachy McCourt, Kate Mulgrew, John Douglas Thompson and Harris Yulin, among others. Music is by Warbelow Range. Performances start at 7:00 and run four hours. O'Dea will take stage at approximately 8:00 PM. Tickets are $23 for members, $28 for non-members and $16 for people 30 and under. Info: https://tinyurl.com/y67cvtrp.
"Molly Bloom by James Joyce" will be O'Dea's third appearance at Symphony Space. In 2011, she performed "Madama Cassandra," an adaptation of an Edna O'Brien short story, in Symphony Space's Selected Shorts along with Cynthia Nixon. Her performance was deemed "staggering" by novelist/theater critic Belinda McKeon. She brought the notorious "Nausicaa" chapter of Ulysses to life in the Bloomsday Marathon in 2010.