Break Bread with the Cast in a New Production of James Joyce’s ‘The Dead’

Dinner scene from 'The Dead 1904' (Image: YouTube screen grab)

You’ve heard of dinner and a show. But have you ever heard of dinner in a show? (Alert readers will answer in the affirmative, perhaps recalling that last year around this time, I reported on a production of “Sweeney Todd,” where theater-goers feasted on Mrs. Lovett’s pie and mash at communal tables that were essentially part of the set.)

This time around, dinner is part of a novel production of Paul Muldoon and Jean Hanff Korelitz’s stage adaptation of James Joyce’s novella “The Dead.”

“The Dead, 1904,” as the play it titled, will be staged in the ca. 1900 townhouse of The American Irish Historical Society on the Upper East Side (991 Fifth Avenue, New York). Audiences for the limited engagement will be held to 57 people per night. The production travels over three floors of the building, which has been restored to period decoration. Rooms used include the lobby, the parlor, the upstairs library, and — of course — the dining room.

It is there that cast and audience will continue the action over dinner, a meal inspired by the holiday feast described in Joyce’s story. The feast, catered by Great Performances, will include roast turkey stuffed with sprigs of parsley and herbs; beef tenderloin with fig and cocoa glaze; mashed “floury” potatoes (guaranteed to be better than they sound); cranberry and pineapple relish; dried figs; artisanal raisins served on the vine; smoked almonds; and bread and butter pudding with vanilla custard. Wine, stout, and spirits will be served along with the meal.

The play will run from Nov. 29 through Jan. 13, with previews beginning on Nov. 17.

Tickets for “The Dead, 1904” begin at $150 for performance-only seating. Tickets including dinner and drinks are available for $300. Four VIP premium tickets will be available at each performance, allowing audience members to be served dinner at the main table with the cast as they play the dinner scene -– a once in a lifetime experience for lovers of immersive theater and James Joyce.

Tickets may be ordered through Irish Rep’s box office by calling 212-727-2737, or online at www.irishrep.org.

 

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