This is a sponsored article on behalf of the National Theatre.
James Joyce’s final work, Finnegan’s Wake, has been left largely untouched by theatre-makers. Why? Notoriously idiosyncratic, pun-laden and a largely absent (or at least indiscernible) plot make it no easy read. But one of Ireland’s leading theatre-makers, Olwen Fouéré, has taken on the challenge of adapting this controversial novel, allowing the audience to experience it through live performance and sound rather than text.
And what a difference this makes. riverrun is not an adaptation of the novel, but a rendition of the book’s final sequence. Fouéré performs a stream of consciousness monologue, embodying the voice of the river. From the first falling rain droplets to the final dissolution into the ocean, the audience is guided away from the linguistic complexity of Joyce’s text and instead immersed in its musicality.
Composer and sound designer Alma Kelliher surrounds the mesmerising performance with a babbling, gurgling soundscape to accompany the river’s channel of voices that together, form a fragmented narrative, touching upon classical myth and Irish topography.
riverrun is at the Shed between 11-22 March. Tickets cost £12-£20 and can be booked online or via the box office on 020 7452 3244.