Chapter 15 of Ulysses, "Circe" is written in the form of a play script, complete with stage directions. When I first read it, I idly wondered whether or not anyone had ever attempted to perform it. Given the increasingly hallucinogenic nature of the chapter as it unfolds and the huge cast of characters, I dismissed it as impossible.

Recently, though, I learned that there was a 1967 film based on the novel. Given that the book as a whole seemed essentially unfilmable, it made me revisit this question and wonder whether some enterprising director might have tried it by making significant revisions to the script.

So: has there ever been a stage production based on Joyce's "script" in chapter 15?

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    Might be an answer contained in here?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 10:24

1 Answer 1


From A Critical Companion to James Joyce by Fargnoli and Gillespie I learnt the fascinating tidbit that the Circe episode not only was adapted to a play entitled Ulysses in Night-town (directed by Burgess Meredith, of all people), but it was performed on Broadway in 1974:

Because of its unique structure, the Circe episode has been seen as having the potential for a creative existence independent of the rest of the work. The best-known effort to exploit this feature occurred in 1958 when Burgess Meredith directed an off-Broadway production of Ulysses in Night-town, a dramatization of this episode adapted for the stage by Marjorie Barkentin. Joyce’s old friend, the poet Padraic Colum, also assisted in the production. In 1974, the play was produced on Broadway.

Apart from this, Anthony Burgess wrote an operetta, Blooms of Dublin, based on Ulysses. Scene 9 is his adaptation of the Circe chapter, although this is of course not a very faithful rendering of the text.

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    Thank you for the edits @GarethRees - there were more than a few typos! Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 12:29

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