Rea Does Joyce at Fairfield

Stephen Rea.

By Mary Pat Kelly, Contributor
April / May 2014

Hearing Stephen Rea read the Cyclops chapter from Ulysses makes you realize that Joyce wanted us to enjoy his masterpiece, and to laugh.

I was lucky to catch one of Rea’s performances in Ireland last year, and witnessed the delight of the audience.

“This is fun,” the man sitting next to me said, showing his appreciation as Rea gave voice to Joyce’s characters – their accents and inflections, the illusions and twisted logic.

Now, Rea is bringing his staged reading to the U.S., and will make James Joyce fans very happy on Wednesday, March 19, when he takes the audience at Fairfield University’s Quick Center on a journey back to Barney McKiernan’s Pub on Bloomsday, June 16, 1904.

The Belfast-born, Academy Award-nominated actor, is a graduate of Queens University Belfast. He trained at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, and was personally chosen by playwrights Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Sam Shepherd, to interpret their works.

As Professor Nels Pearson, Director of the Irish Studies Program at Fairfield University, and a Joyce scholar himself, says, “The Irish Studies Program is delighted to have Mr. Rea perform on campus. Not only is he a major figure in film and a devoted promoter and performer of the works of Joyce, but he was also one of the founding members of the Field Day Theater Company, begun with renowned playwright Brian Friel in 1980 in Derry, Northern Ireland. That company went on to produce some of the most talked about works of the stage in contemporary theater, and it was a signature example of the role of the arts in stimulating the dialogues necessary for both justice and peace. While the highlight of Mr. Rea’s visit will be his readings from Joyce, which  we anticipate will be a really eye and ear opening experience, given the way Joyce’s language thrives in oral performance, we will also embrace the opportunity for students to learn more about Mr. Rea’s deep involvement with Feild Day and Irish literary history.”

The performance takes place on campus at the Regina Quick Center, 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT. at 7:30pm. General admission is $15, Seniors $10, and Fairfield University students $5. Box Office (203)254-4010 or

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