THEATER REVIEW / FRINGE THEATER PRESENTS STEVEN DIETZ’ BLOOMSDAY

Fringe Theater presents Steven Dietz’ time-bending romance Bloomsday March 17-21 at 7pm on stage in the Frederick Douglass Gym, located at 111 Olivia Street. This delicate drama is set in Dublin on June 16th – in two time periods.  35 years apart.  James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses, provides the show’s date and the framework for the play’s dramatic action.

“No,” Steven Dietz, the plays author said once in an interview, “the play is not all about Ulysses, though the book is a convenient backdrop. The play is about Ireland, and about past and present and missed opportunity.”

Like many Americans, Dietz had never read Ulysses before he and his family took a trip to Ireland in 2013. He packed a digital copy of the book, and while in Dublin, he dipped into the daunting masterpiece for the first time.  When he returned to the US knowing that whatever his next play was about, it had to be set in Dublin.

“I wanted to capture the allure of Ireland, its grittiness and its wistfulness,” he said, quoting one of the Bloomsday characters, the Irish “prefer rainy days.”

In the play, it’s the shifting of time that propels the action. “That’s intrinsic to theater,” Dietz explained. “As playwrights, we invent time. Our characters drift back and forth between past and present and future. They exist simultaneously in different periods, some imagined and some real.”

Young Caithleen is particularly subject to drifting. She remarks that people “keep showing up at the wrong time.”  For all her inexperience, Caithleen can see the turning points in life, while Robbie, the young American, does not.  “That’s because Robbie is rooted in the present, while Caithleen, who is able to drift in time, sees a future that may not contain them.” Similarly, it is the practical middle-aged Robert, who thinks the future can be changed, and the older Cait who knows it cannot.

“The older couple is more interesting than the younger pair. Their desires are deeper and wider. They know more. They’ve experienced the angst of loss,” Dietz said.

Steven Dietz, now 61, has had an astonishing career. He has written or adapted about 35 plays. Interestingly, he never set out to be a writer. Instead, he started as a director and was hired early on to work on new play development.  Which led him to begin to write his own stories.

Fringe’s production Bloomsday is directed by Glenda Donovan, the director of last season’s moving one woman show Golda’s Balcony at the synagogue.  The production stars Don Bearden and Wende Shoer as the “older” version of the couple, and Uaa Red and Dora Thompson as the younger couple. Set design is by Jules Conn, Light design by Kendall Cameron and Daashia, and Stage Crew run by Sam Messier.

Tickets for Bloomsday are available online at www.fringetheater.org or by calling the Fringe Box Office 305-731-0581.  Seating is limited, so advance tickets are encouraged. Bloomsday runs March 17-21 at 7pm.  General Admission Tickets begin at $35. For more information, email info@fringetheater.org.

Fringe Theater is Key West’s community-focused theater. Fringe is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to creating unique opportunities for people to see and do theater. Learn more at www.fringetheater.org