The Bloomsday Festival
with the play Bloomsday
by Steven Dietz
It was June 16, 1954 in Dublin, John Ryan organized a celebration of James Joyce’s Ulysses, the most important novel of the 20th Century, according to the Irish. Ryan and his cohorts created a route through the city of the sites visited by Leopold Bloom, one of the main characters in the story, including several pubs. As it happened, the planned journey only made it halfway through, as the Joyce fans drank too much and conflict between them ended the trek.
But the yearly tradition of “Bloomsday” survived in Dublin and grew to be celebrated all over the world. Participants dress up in Edwardian costumes, read passages from the book, reenact scenes from the novel and revel in all things Joycean.
And now this joyous event comes to Tallahassee!
Starting at 6:30 pm at Goodwood Museum & Gardens, the lucky 60 who attend will be able to partake in these activities:
Hear Nora Joyce, Joyce’s wife, performed by Jessica Lowe-Minor, talk about her life with the ex-pats in Paris and Zurich, taken from Mrs. Joyce Has Her Say by Jack Gilhooley.
Listen to Stanley Gontarski and/or Camille Gonçalves Vilela dos Santos from FSU impart details of Joyce’s career
Sing-along Irish songs with John Camacho
Blush at Molly Bloom’s sensual monologue from Ulysses
Enjoy the rousing energy of the Tallahassee Irish Step Dancers
And IRT's partner The Tallahassee Irish Society will have Guinness and wine for purchase!
Then at 8:00 pm, be enthralled by the production of Bloomsday by Steven Dietz. It is a time-warped love story between a young Irish woman guide and an American lad who joins her Bloomsday tour. Will they get together? Or, so Irish, will it end in heartbreak?
The production is sponsored in part by Howard Kessler, in conjunction with Goodwood Museum and Gardens and the Tallahassee Irish Society, as well as financial support from COCA, Visit Tallahassee, and the City of Tallahassee.
Tickets are available for the Festival are $25, or $15 for the Show Only. Go to Tickets to purchase yours.
Online Tickets close at 4 pm on performance nights. Tickets can be purchased on site prior to the show.
DUE TO THE INCLEMENT WEATHER, ALL REMAINING PERFORMANCES WILL BE INDOORS AT THE CARRIAGE HOUSE AT GOODWOOD.
The Cast of Bloomsday
MELANIE APPLEGATE (Caitleen) is thrilled to be performing in her first production with the Irish Repertory Theater. Some of her previous roles include: The Little Mermaid (Ariel), Little Women (Beth), High School Musical (Sharpay Evans), The Fantasticks (Luisa), and Romeo and Juliet (Juliet) with the Southern Shakespeare Festival. She will be attending Savannah College of Art and Design in the fall. She hopes everyone enjoys the production!
KEN LAMBERT (Robert) is excited to once again be part of theatre with this talented cast in his first production with The Irish Repertory Theater. Ken has been most recently seen in New Stage Theater Works’ production of Fun Home (Bruce) and in Quincy Music Theater’s Spamalot (Sir Robin). Other favorites include Fiddler on the Roof (Tevye), South Pacific (Emile de Beck), and The Pirates of Penzance (Pirate King).
JOSHUA WEINSTEIN (Robbie) is a 3rd year Digital Arts and Science student at the University of Florida. He is grateful to return to the stage once again since his last performance in 2018 with the Southern Shakespeare Company. Joshua has taken many roles throughout the years including performances in Romeo and Juliet, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Irish Folktales, As You Like It, and many others. He hopes to one day combine his love of theater with his computer science knowledge to create exciting new experiences.
TAHIRIH LEE (Cait) most recently appeared as Nell in IRT’s Endgame at Goodwood and at Palaver Tree Theatre in Crawfordville. Previously in the Big Bend, she performed the role of the Princess Natalya Dragomiroff in Theatre Tallahassee’s Murder on the Orient Express, as Miss Prism in IRT’s The Importance of Being Earnest, and as Professor Willard in Our Town at the Monticello Opera House. Prior to moving to Tallahassee, Tahirih played Mrs. Smith in The Bald Soprano (original French version), Catherine in Pippin, the title roles in Little Mary Sunshine and Lili, Wendy in Peter Pan, and Sister Rita in The Runner Stumbles, among other roles.
LANNY THOMAS (Director) has directed several shows for the Irish Repertory Theater including Playboy of the Western World, The Irish Curse, The Shaughraun, and Irish Folktales, which he adapted for the stage, and The Importance of Being Earnest. Thomas was the Artistic Director of the Southern Shakespeare Company and directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), A Comedy of Errors, Zombie Shakespeare, and As You Like It, and conceived and co-wrote SSC’s original production of A Town Divided. As an actor, Thomas has appeared in productions for IRT, Hispanic Theater of Tallahassee, Canopy Roads and Theater Tallahassee.
The Festival Participants
S.E. GONTARSKI (Lecturer) Writer, playwright, theater director, filmmaker, and critical theorist, S. E. Gontarski teaches at Florida State University where he is Robert O. Lawton Distinguished University Professor of English. He regularly teaches a range of Irish studies courses, including seminars on Ulysses on both the graduate and undergraduate levels, and he has in the past organized marathon, all-night readings of Ulysses to celebrate Bloomsday. His running, continuous seminar on James Joyce’s final masterwork, Finnegans Wake lasted 14 years.
CAMILLE VILELA-JONES (Lecturer) Hailing from Brazil, is a PhD student at Florida State University. She's a Fulbright scholar currently writing her dissertation on the Brazilian translations of Ulysses. Camille is a member of Joyce Studies in Brazil having presented at conferences both in the United States and Brazil.
JESSICA LOWE-MINOR (Nora Joyce) is thrilled to be part of this IRT production! A graduate of Florida State University's School of Theatre, Jessica played Gwendolen Fairfax in IRT's recent production of The Importance of Being Earnest, and she has also appeared in Southern Shakespeare Company's As You Like It (Celia), Romeo and Juliet (Ensemble), and A Mini-Midsummer Night's Dream (Snug), as well as in Goodwood Museum & Gardens' recurring production of Sham (Clara). A mother of two, Jessica is grateful to her husband, Rick, and their girls, as well as to everyone who helped develop and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.
JACK GILHOOLEY (Playwright for Mrs. Joyce Has Her Say) is a 2020 grant recipient from Bushwick Starr Theatre, winner of the 2018 Free Speech National Play Award with The XXX-Rated Genius. A New Dramatists/Eugene O’Neill Conference alum, Gilhooley has been awarded two NEA grants (Individual Playwright and International to Centaur Theatre, Montreal), two Fulbright Guest Artist residencies (Spain and Ireland), a New York Foundation for The Arts grant, a Shubert Playwright grant, two Puffin Foundation awards, a Pilgrim Project grant, the first John Ringling Fund Artists’ Fellowship, four Florida Arts Council grants and five Ford Foundation development subsidies. His plays have been produced at Asolo, New York Shakespeare Fest/Public Theatre, 59e59, Phoenix Theatre, Circle Rep, South Street Playhouse on Theatre Row. Harry Chapin’s PAF Playhouse, Philadelphia’s Shubert Theatre, ACT/San Francisco, Indiana Rep, Peterborough Playhouse (NH), Theatre of The First Amendment (VA), Focus Theatre (Dublin), Edinburgh Festival, Theatre Odyssey (FL), ans Starlight Players (FL) among others.
NAOMI LAMARCHE (Molly Bloom) This is Naomi’s 37th show in the Tallahassee area, but her first time working with the Irish Repertory Theatre. She is absolutely ecstatic for this experience! She was previously seen as Ursula in The Little Mermaid at the Quincy Music Theatre and is currently in Pippin as Fastrada, also at QMT. Naomi would like to thank her poodle Misa and her tortie cat Salem for being cute, and surprisingly supportive. Enjoy!
TALLAHASSEE IRISH STEP DANCERS are the oldest Irish Step Dance company in Tallahassee and are regionally known for performing both traditional Irish set dances and original Irish choreography by director David Jones. They perform either softshoe or hardshoe dances, year-round, at events and gatherings of all sizes. They are most popular for their many St. Patrick's Day appearances, and their winter performance of 'The Snow Queen.'
JOHN CAMACHO (Piano Man) began classical piano studies at the age of five and wrote his first poem when he was eight years old. He holds an MA in Piano Performance from ASU and an MFA in poetry from FIU. He studied music with Edmund Battersby, Artur Pizarro and Margaret Squire, and studied poetry with Denise Duhamel, Dorianne Laux and Campbell McGrath. John’s original music and songs can be heard in films and TV shows. He has been the accompanist for the Miami City Ballet, the New World School of the Arts, and the Juilliard School. He has been a musician or musical director for many regional productions and one Broadway tour. In 2014, John was one of a handful of pianists selected to take part in the Dublin International Piano Festival, making his 5th (and longest) visit to the Emerald Isle. His love for Irish song, verse, landscape and culture has him delighted to be working with IRT. John lives in Tallahassee with his long-time love, Leslie, and his two sons, Johnny and Joshua.