In observance of Bloomsday, the anniversary of the day the literary masterpiece Ulysses takes place, more than three dozen local literati turned out for the Sea Cliff Civic Association's James Joyce Jaunt this past June 16. Adapted for the Sea Cliff “stage” by residents Fred "the Maestro" Stroppel and Dan DiPietro, and directed by Mr. Stroppel, the performance provided Ulysses neophytes and aficionados alike with an absorbing retelling of Leopold Bloom’s passage through the city of Dublin on June 16, 1904 that parallels that of Homer’s hero Odysseus (Ulysses in Latin) during his ten year journey home in the epic Greek poem. Perhaps Joyce's message, Mr. DiPietro offered, is that "each of us has our own epic journey even in a single day,"
An advisory statement on the promotional flyer cautioning "WARNING: Not appropriate for children, as some material is very much for adults only . . . (the best and worst of humanity will be on display!)," this year’s frisky and risqué PG performance, featuring 14 residents acting out scenes from the novel, marked a departure from the more staid observance held in previous years that was organized by James Joyce Society of Sea Cliff founders Mr. DiPietro and his wife Ann, during which the couple piloted a coffee carrying crew, willing and able to get up at 8 am on a Sunday morning, on an odyssey through the Sea Cliff business district, making stops at locations representing scenes from the novel and then reading relevant passages.
This year, gathering in the early evening at the Sea Cliff water tower at Roslyn and 9th Avenues, representing Marcello tower - the opening location of Ulysses, Mr. Stroppel, as narrator, and Mr. DiPietro, playing the role of Leopold Bloom, introduced the novel, and the opening scene was acted out, before the considerably larger audience was led down Sea Cliff Avenue to the Children’s Library, where the performance continued and Mr. Stroppel offered background to scenes and their connection to the Odyssey.
Interspersed were musical interludes performed by Sea Cliff's Celtic crooner Joe Hughes and violinist Steve Friedberg of tunes referenced in the novel.
In addition to Messrs. DiPietro, Stroppel, Hughes, and Friedberg, performers included John Canning, Jennifer Dawson, Ann DiPietro, Adam Friedberg, Heidi Hunt, Paul Marchese, Jenna DiPietro, Al and Sara Reres, and Liz Stroppel.
Although none quite like those that have been held in Sea Cliff, cities and towns around the world hold Bloomsday celebrations every June 16 to honor the author of the book that many consider to be the greatest novel ever written.
Article by Northwordnews; headline suggested by Dan DiPietro