FALL INTO THE UNIVERSE
Alley of blouses
On January 6, 1982, director Declan Gorman discovered James Joyce’s Dubliners in a library in Munich. He had left Dublin for Germany earlier that year to work in an auto factory and become a writer. While reading the last story of the collection, The Dead, he experienced a Joycian epiphany: he should devote his life to the stage rather than to the page. He returned to Ireland to do so.
Falling Through the Universe tells this personal story, using the framework of Joyce’s famous fiction to structure it. If the positioning of the two artists side by side seems somewhat gratuitous, the intention is not comparative but illustrative. Joyce’s story allows Gorman to demonstrate his theatrical impulses, as well as his theatrical influences; the two men found the beginning of their own artistic ambition in European naturalism.
Gorman manages to keep us engaged for 80 minutes despite lack of visual stimulation
However, there is a difficult disjunction between the seriousness of Joyce’s story as Gorman presents it and the undramatic twists and turns of his own coming-of-age narrative, much of which is relayed in letter-writing form as sanitized letters to his beloved parents in Monaghan.
Audiences familiar with Gorman’s work on Dublin’s independent theatrical scene in the 1990s or, more recently, in the northeast of the country may appreciate hearing him sketch the different stages of his career, but the stakes are too low. for the more disinterested viewer.
Still, Gorman is a lovable storyteller who manages to keep us engaged for 80 minutes, despite a lack of visual stimulation: the scene only offers a chair, a coat rack, and a copy of Dubliners as a cheat sheet.
The Smock Alley race is over. Touring at: Garage Theater, Monaghan, January 14; Mermaid Arts Center, Bray, January 21; A TÃ¡in, Dundalk, January 22; Wexford Arts Center, January 28; Riverbank, Newbridge, February 3