Following hugely successful revivals in London and New York, Tom Stoppard’s brilliant comedy, Travesties, will have a limited Bloomsday season in June at fortyfivedownstairs. It has all the hallmarks of Stoppard’s style – playfully extravagant theatricality, an historical occasion, and wit.
In 1974, it won the Tony Award for Best Play; in 2016 in London it broke box office records before transferring to a larger theatre. On Broadway, it was reviewed as ‘dazzlingly extravagant and wonderfully witty’ (Variety), ‘a ridiculously entertaining and exultant joyride’ (New York Times) and ‘a giddy, head-spinning triumph’ (Entertainment Weekly).
Loosely based on historical events, the play brings together in Zurich in 1917 literary master James Joyce writing Ulysses, Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin and Romanian art anarchist Tristan Tzara. The main character, Henry Carr, a British consular official in Zurich, took James Joyce to court over payment for a pair of trousers for his role as Algernon in a production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Carr’s unreliable memory gives Stoppard the excuse he needs to have his historical figures double as characters in Wilde’s witty masterpiece, leading to some truly inspired theatrical mayhem.
Jennifer Sarah Dean trained at London’s Globe Theatre and founded the Melbourne Shakespeare Company, and will direct Travesties for Bloomsday, the annual celebration of James Joyce. Since 2016, she has notched up seven sold-out Shakespeare productions across Melbourne, co-directed an Australian national tour and directed shows at the Athenaeum Theatre, the Rippon Lea Ballroom, and Holy Cow! at fortyfivedownstairs for Bloomsday 2018.
Bloomsday in Melbourne, internationally recognised for its Joyce-inspired theatre since 1994, is thrilled to be bringing Joyce to local audiences via this accessible and witty classic of modern British theatre. ‘Joyce was writing Ulysses in Zurich in 1917,’ says founder and Creative Director, Frances Devlin-Glass, ‘and Stoppard, in what may be his best play, doesn’t miss the opportunity to exploit some historical coincidences with a brilliant display of parodies of not only Joyce but Wilde and Shakespeare. Established fans and newcomers alike will find this show exhilarating.’
June 12 – 23