Rough Magic to present James Joyce interpretation at Longford's Backstage Theatre

'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' at the Backstage Theatre

Longford Leader


Longford Leader


Rough Magic to present James Joyce interpretation at Longford's Backstage Theatre

Rough Magic will present the world premiere of James Joyce’s seminal novel 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' in Arthur Riordan’s vibrant new stage adaptation brought to life by a dynamic, new, creative ensemble of actors and designers under Ronan Phelan’s direction.

The play will open at the Backstage Theatre (Oct 16 & 17), straight after its successful premiere run at Dublin Theatre Festival where The Irish Times heralded it as “a brilliant production…exhilarating, fast paced and fun”.

This is Joyce as you’ve never seen or imagined it – scattered with contemporary music, the play focuses on the spiritual rebellion of Stephen Dedalus and his restless search for artistic self-expression.

Rough Magic’s dynamic, creative ensemble of actors will take us on a thrilling theatrical odyssey around Ireland towards the liberation of the soul and its rejection of faith and fatherland.

The central role of Stephen Dedalus will be played by multiple members of the ensemble, both male and female.

Director Ronan Phelan spoke about how he tackled Joyce’s work:

“To be honest, I first read Joyce’s novel after I’d read the play.

“I had this impression beforehand – I think it’s an impression shared by a lot of people – of some formidable intellectual tome, full of ‘momentous’ linguistic experiments… once I’d gotten past my own preconceived ideas about it, I started to realise that this is work that’s full of real wit and compassion.

“I think we need to consider Joyce as our contemporary, not as a ‘historical’ figure or as someone to be unquestioningly revered.

“If we continue to see Joyce as a source for period reconstruction, we allow the work to calcify.

“He’s in danger of becoming a marketing gimmick, reduced to his glasses and the odd quotation from books nobody’s reading otherwise.

“Or else he’s a device for intellectual snobbery, or just plain snobbery outright. Instead, what we need to do is assess what continues to be relevant to us now about Joyce’s work, because there is, in fact, a lot.”

 Theatre lovers everywhere need to get themselves to Backstage Theatre next Tuesday and Wednesday October 16 and 17 for this vibrant stage adaptation of 'A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man'.

Tickets on 043 33 47888 or online on