By Holli Harms
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote,“Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone.” The Irish brought more than stone, they brought emeralds, diamonds, sapphires, and opals. And James Joyce’s novel Ulysses is one of those rare gems. The novel set one day in Dublin ends with the wife of the main character, Leopold Bloom, speaking. The chapter known as Molly’s soliloquy is over 4,000 words with no punctuation. A stream of consciousness from a woman up in the wee hours of the morning considering her life, her sexuality, her place in her own world. It ends with the simple word “Yes”, and the only punctuation in the whole piece, the period following it. Joyce said of the word “yes” that it is, “the female word,” and he said it indicated, “acquiescence, self-abandon, relaxation, the end of all resistance.” Yes! Reflections of Molly Bloom is exactly that and also feminine power, desire, hurt.
This theatrical adaptation of Joyce’s Molly soliloquy is itself a diamond, glistening and showing off its beauty at every turn. Molly Bloom (played by the ethereal Aedín Moloney) wakes from sleep and ushers us in with stories and thoughts on herself, and men and women. She, Molly, is a seductress, a temptress. She talks about the role of a woman in the world as a young sex symbol, buoyant and playful, as a mother, a hag, whore, fool. And continuing about love and the injuries we do on others as well as those we suffer on ourselves. It is about a woman’s power – her body – the breasts, the vagina, all of it. About what it means to live the life of our bodies. Molly is having an affair and she is NOT at all apologetic. As a matter of fact, she wants us to know how good she is at satisfying and being satisfied. And all of this beautiful telling and describing done by Aedín Moloney is like watching a cat discover itself. Discover its beauty and abilities to twist and turn its body, to leap from high places and land with quiet grace, to rub and prowl, to cascade into itself like water over stones. Her love and hate of her husband delivered not with anger but with a unique sensual landscape of truths, observations, and confessions. The film’s set is a white bedroom. Everything white but for the warm yellow glow of the carefully arranged white candles. Their yellow glimmer enhances the open beauty of Ms. Moloney and the white space and shines on all like the sun on snow. Moloney and Colum McCann have taken Joyce’s text and updated it bringing to it a sexual woman direct and open about every aspect of her body. It is done in the style and words of Joyce and yet with a 21st-century spin that is not at all jarring simply raw and honest.
In the opening of the Youtube performance of Yes! Reflections of Molly Bloom, prior to the performance Artistic Director Charlotte Moore and Producing Director Ciaran O’Reilly talk about the fact that when the doors to the theatre had to shut due to the pandemic they knew they had to find a way to, “keep the ghost light on,” and so they said we as Irish are resilient and know how to spin a good yarn, let’s move to the virtual world. Irish Repertory Theatre has been there for almost a year. Thank you to them for their ingenuity and commitment to bring good theatre to all of us during this restrictive time.
“Yes! Reflections of Molly” part of a series of shows being brought to all of us by Irish Repertory Theatre@Home Festival. Find HERE the listings and times for all the performances coming up including Conor McPherson’s The Weir.
ALL festival events are free. Reservations are required to access Performances on Screen. Donations of $25 for a performance, or $100 for the festival, are suggested for viewers who are able to give.
Yes! Reflections Of Molly Bloom adapted for the stage From the novel Ulysses by James Joyce by Aedín Moloney and Colum McCann
With: Aedín Moloney
Music by Paddy Moloney, Filmed by Fernando Garcia, video editor Rory Duffy, sound editor M. Florian Staab, Public Relations/ general manager Lisa Fane
Running Time 1 hour and 15 minutes with no intermission
Wednesday January 27 at 3pm
Tuesday February 2 at 7pm*
Sunday February 14 at 2pm
Wednesday February 17 at 8pm*