It’s Blooms­day again

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By JESS ETHERIDGE

A ‘‘ MELAN­CHOLIC hero’’ and its Ir­ish cre­ator will be cel­e­brated Broad­way-style as au­di­ences en­joy a pint.

The Jews Broth­ers’ Band’s Blooms­day show will be per­formed at Karanga­hape Rd’s Thirsty Dog Tav­ern on the night of June 16 – a day un­of­fi­cially ded­i­cated to au­thor James Joyce and his novel Ulysses.

The 1922 novel is a mod­ernist take on Homer’s poem Odyssey in which Leopold Bloom, a fic­tional Jewish man, ex­pe­ri­ences the city of Dublin in one day – June 16, 1904.

The Blooms­day show is writ­ten by play­wright Dean Parker and Grey Lynn’s Her­shal Her­scher plays Bloom.

He will per­form more than 12 songs with his five-piece group The Jews Broth­ers’ Band dur­ing the show along­side ac­tors Michael Hurst and Lucy Law­less.

Her­scher has per­formed the show on the same date for the past 11 years.

The New York ex­pat moved to New Zealand 30 years ago, bring­ing with him the tal­ents he has cul­ti­vated since he was young.

‘‘I come from a fam­ily of per­form­ers and mu­si­cians on both sides. My mother, fa­ther, grand­par­ents, un­cles, aunts, cousins. They do all sorts – one was a clas­si­cal pi­anist and my grand­fa­ther was a vi­o­lin­ist from the Ukraine.’’

Two un­cles and an aunt used to per­form Broad­way-style mu­si­cal com­edy sim­i­lar to his own style, Her­scher says.

Her­scher says he re­lates to the show’s lead char­ac­ter.

‘‘I feel very con­nected to Leopold Bloom be­cause I can un­der­stand a lot of his predica­ment’’ – in terms of liv­ing in a for­eign coun­try, he says.

‘‘It’s such a his­tor­i­cally im­por­tant book,’’ he says. ‘‘The mix­ing of the cul­tures, I feel very at home with be­ing a Jewish guy now who lives in New Zealand.’’

Joyce strug­gled to get Ulysses pub­lished, even­tu­ally re­leas­ing it in Paris in 1922.

Its con­tro­ver­sial con­tent was con­sid­ered ob­scene at the time but is now widely hailed by crit­ics.

Her­scher says he en­joys in­tro­duc­ing Ki­wis to Jewish cul­ture through per­for­mance.

‘‘We don’t have a large Jewish pop­u­la­tion com­pared to Amer­ica. So that’s an­other peo­ple are al­ways es­pe­cially Ki­wis.

‘‘They’re al­ways in­ter­ested in New York cul­ture, English, Euro­pean in gen­eral.’’

The Blooms­day show is up­dated each year to in­clude ref­er­ences to big po­lit­i­cal events of the time.

Her­scher, The Jews Broth­ers’ Band and Linn Lorkin per­form the Blooms­day show at K Rd’s Thirsty Dog Tav­ern on June 16 from 7.30pm to 10.30pm.

Ar­rive early for a good seat. There are $20 cash-only sales avail­able on the door. ad­van­tage, in­ter­ested,

Photo: JESS ETHERIDGE

In bloom: Grey Lynn res­i­dent Her­shal Her­scher takes the lead in the Blooms­day Show, a trib­ute to Ir­ish au­thor James Joyce and his book Ulysses.

Lucy Law­less

Michael Hurst

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