Bawdy Molly Bloom comes to the Baxter

Baxter Theatre Centre
09/01/2010 07:52:13

The obscenely brilliant Molly Bloom is set to steam up the Baxter's Golden Arrow Studio stage in September.

Starring acclaimed South African actress Jennifer Steyn directed by Nicky Rebelo, Molly Bloom will run at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio from 14 September to 9 October at 8.15pm nightly.

The one-woman play, taken from James Joyce's classic novel Ulysses, is best described as a ‘stream of consciousness' monologue and is widely referred to as ‘Molly Bloom's Soliloquy'. It is the 18th, and final, unpunctuated chapter of the novel which, if performed uncut, would run for over four hours.

Edited by director Rebelo, this version of Molly Bloom has a running time of 100 minutes but remains true to Joyce's original text and intention and has not lost any of its poetic beauty, brilliant cyclical structure and erotic bawdiness. Ruy Filipe is responsible for costume and set design.

The story conveys Molly's thoughts as she lies in bed next to her sleeping husband, Leopold Bloom, whom she affectionately refers to as Poldy. He returns home late at night after having spent a mundane day roaming the streets of Dublin - going to a funeral, having lunch, dropping by at the newspaper where he works selling advertising space, eyeing some young girls lasciviously, and visiting a pub, a hospital with young students, a brothel, and a late night-café. He enters the bedroom where she lies sleeping, knowing that she spent the day with another man in his bed.

Instead of being outraged and taking revenge, Poldy is stimulated by the idea that he has been cuckolded, and plants a huge kiss on his wife's ample buttocks and then falls asleep. When Molly awakes, she begins her musings about life, love, death, her past, sex and everything else that all women think about at some point in their lives.

Real-life husband-and-wife theatre couple Steyn and Rebelo have collaborated on several theatre projects in the past, including Apparently ... Or So I Heard, What Annette Said In Her Sleep Last Night and an adaptation of Herman Charles Bosman's Street Woman.

Their production of Molly Bloom enjoyed a highly successful season at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, last year. The production was such a smash hit that it returned this year by popular demand with equal success. Cue, the festival newspaper, was unashamedly impressed and said, ".... leaves one breathless, the play is utterly riveting. It's enough to make a porn star blush, so astounding is Joyce's use of the language." The Star Tonight also raved, "Jennifer Steyn is again brilliantly directed by her husband Nicky Rebelo in an adaptation of a classic text. One doesn't want to miss a second of that bawdy mind so cunningly portrayed by Steyn ..."

Rebelo performed at the Baxter in Steven Berkoff's West, Chris Charles's Walking Wounded, Paul Slabolepszy's Making Like America and David Mamet's American Buffalo. Steyn, a Fleur du Cap Best Actress winner, last performed at the Baxter in Mike van Graan's Green Man Flashing, for which also received a nomination in the same category.

"Molly is a delicious, saucy, sexy, funny and, at times, poignant three-dimensional portrait of a woman," explains Jennifer excitedly about the title character. "She is a woman carved so magnificently that she represents many parts of all women."

Rebelo agrees. "Molly Bloom is more than just a bawdy roller-coaster ride. Joyce also delicately reflects on the futility of war, as Molly grieves the loss of a lover to the senseless slaughter."

Joyce started writing Ulysses in 1914 and continued to work on it into 1921 before it was published in Paris in 1922. It corresponds, often approximately and strangely, to episodes in The Odyssey of Homer. Remarkably, the last chapter or episode, entitled Penelope, consists of eight enormous sentences, with only two punctuation marks throughout, and contains the longest sentence in English literature where Molly expresses 4391 words.

Originally the chapters of Ulysses carried Homeric titles which were published serially in The Little Review between 1918 and 1920, when the editors were charged with publishing obscene material. However, the final novel omitted them.

When the book first appeared it caused a scandal and was immediately banned in the USA and Britain. In fact, the ban was only lifted in England in the 1950s and the book has subsequently been hailed as the greatest novel of the 20th century and the most celebrated book in the English language.

Set in Dublin, the events unfold over 24 hours, beginning on the morning of Thursday, 16th June 1904, with some of the events chronicled in the narrative corresponding to actual occurrences in Joyce's life. Today 16 June is observed annually in Ireland to celebrate the author's life and is known as Bloomsday, after the fictitious character Leopold Bloom.

Molly Bloom carries an age restriction and is not recommended for children under 18 years. The production previews at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio on Tuesday 14 September, opens on Wednesday 15 September and runs until Saturday 9 October, at 8.15pm nightly. Ticket prices range from R70 for the Baxter Monday special offer, which includes a light meal and show, to R130 at weekends.

Booking is through Computicket on 083 915 8000, online at or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet countrywide. For discounted block, corporate or school bookings, charities or fundraisers contact Sharon on 021 680 3962, e-mail or Carmen on 021 680 3993, e-mail

Additional Information

Nicky Rebelo, Director

Nicky Rebelo graduated with a BA Dramatic Art from Wits University in 1981. He is a theatre, television and film actor and has written for stage, television and film and has directed for stage.

Highlights of his stage career include his performance as The Good Soldier Svejk at the Market Theatre, directed by Neil McCarthy, for which he won the Dalro Best Actor award 1990, as well as his own play Outers, directed by Barney Simon, Angels in America, directed by Fred Abrahamse and Copenhagen, directed by Maurice Podbrey. He first performed at the Baxter Theatre in 1985 in Steven Berkoff's West, directed by Neil McCarthy, then in Chris Charles's Walking Wounded, directed by Clare Stopford in 1987, as well as Paul Slabolepszy's Making Like America, directed by Bobby Heaney. He was last seen at the Baxter in David Mamet's American Buffalo, directed by Peter Goldsmidt in 1988.

Apart from Outers, Nicky's other plays include Apparently ... or so I heard, What Annette said in her sleep last night, A Touch of Madness, which explored the life of Herman Charles Bosman, performed by David Butler and for which Nicky received a Vita Best Director Award, and The Prophet of the Waterberg, which Nicky also directed for the Market Theatre 2004. Nicky also reworked and directed Bosman's play Street Woman for the Sandton Theatre on the Square in 2001 and created and directed a new Bosman show for David Butler in 2009 titled A Teacher in the Bushveld.

Nicky wrote the film adaptation of Master Harold ... and the Boys at the request of playwright Athol Fugard, which was filmed in Cape Town in 2009, as well as two earlier screenplays, No Hero and Tough Luck, which was a runner up in the MNet film awards for best screenplay 1992. His numerous television acting roles include Clyde in Louis Motors, Stavros in The Big Time, the Cuban Doctor in Madam and Eve, Victor in Jacob's Cross and Coach Zelco in Shooting Stars, for which he also wrote many episodes.

Jennifer Steyn, Actress

Jennifer graduated in 1983 with a Performer's Diploma in Speech and Drama, from the University of Cape Town, receiving the award for Best Student.

She has worked extensively in South African theatre, film and television, with some exposure abroad.

She has had the privilege of working with acclaimed writer Athol Fugard on two of his plays, The Captain's Tiger and Sorrows and Rejoicings, taking her to the USA and the UK. Recently, she played Fugard's mother Betty in the screen play of Master Harold ... and the Boys for Focus/Spier films.

In 2004 she was selected to represent South Africa in the UK, as part of the Shakespeare's Globe International Residency. She returned to the UK with Gary Carter's The Frozen Sea playing at the Little Chelsea and the Birmingham Rep. In 2006 she performed at the Kanagawa Theatre in Yokohama, Japan, in Yael Farber's Malora.

Among her theatre highlights in South Africa are Skylight by David Hare, Copenhagen by Michael Frayne, Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare's Macbeth and Cordelia and the Fool in King Lear, Angels in America by Tony Kushner, Sweet Phoebe by Michael Gow, Twilight of the Golds by Jonathan Tolins, The Dark Outsider and Old Boys by Anthony Akerman and Green Man Flashing by Mike van Graan.

Jennifer has collaborated with her husband, Nicky Rebelo, on several occasions - first performing in his one woman show, Apparently ... or so I heard, then she directed his play What Annette said in her sleep last Night, and performing in his adaptation of Herman Charles Bosman's Street Woman. She is delighted to return to the Baxter with Molly Bloom, edited and directed by Nicky.

She received a Fleur du Cap Best Actress award for Blue Remembered Hills and she has been nominated for several others: Fleur du Cap Best Actress for Green Man Flashing, Dalro and Vita Best Actress for Apparently ... or so I Heard and Vitas for Best Support in The Dark Outsider, and Best Actress for Sweet Phoebe, Skylight and Copenhagen.

Her film highlights include Master Harold ... and the Boys directed by Lonny Price, Goodbye Bafana directed by Billie August, for which she was nominated as Best Supporting Actress by SAFTA, Cry the Beloved Country and Zimbabwe directed by Darrel Roodt, Gums And Noses directed by Craig Freimond and End of the Road by Greg Latter.

Jennifer is well known for her appearances on South African television.

Ruy Filipe, Set and Costume Designer

Ruy studied at the Superior School of Film and Theatre in Lisbon, Portugal. He has worked in the South African film and television industry for over 25 years and is recognised as a leading Art Director and Costume Designer. Highlights include Cry the Beloved Country, Jump the Gun, Samuru, Lilion and Dr Lucille, for which he received the Jemmini Award for Best Costume Designer, and Hotel Rwanda, for which he received the International Canadian Award. In 2005 he received a Naledi Award nomination for his costume designs for Nicky Rebelo's production of Herman Charles Bosman's play Street Woman at the Sandton Theatre on the Square. His business of 15 years, Ikhaya, specializes in wardrobe design and hire.

For further media enquiries, interview or pic requests please contact Fahiem Stellenboom, Marketing Manager, Baxter Theatre Centre, on telephone 021 680 3971, e-mail or cell 072 2656 023. Account:
Fahiem Stellenboom
Baxter Theatre Centre
021 680 3971
072 265 6023
Baxter Theatre Centre

Related Venue:
Baxter Theatre Centre, Cape Town Western Cape South Africa