Listen Now – Bartleby: A Tale of Wall Street

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Bartleby: A Tale of Wall Street

 

One Hour Theatre Company presents: Bartleby: A Tale of Wall Street is the first completed recording in an ongoing original audio drama project premiering at WoWFest; a unique artistic collaboration between playwright, Tom Hall, former Head of Drama at LJMU and actor David Llewellyn, composer and sound designer Andy Frizell and director and dramaturg Victor Merriman.

Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” (1853) is a narrative of past events as recalled by a Wall Street lawyer. Late in life, he ponders the indelible memory of an ordinary copyist who one day, and without apparent pretext, declines to perform work of any kind in the office. He will not resign. He will not explain. He will not leave. When urged to resume his duties, he simply declares, “I prefer not to.” The enigma of Bartleby is intensified because, unlike his friend and contemporary Nathaniel Hawthorne, Melville chose not to append an “unriddling” to his allegorical tales. He left them to us in their undiluted mystery; less questions without answers than answers to questions yet unasked.

Herman Melville is today principally known for novels marked by a highly discursive, encyclopaedic, seemingly undisciplined method of composition; traits he shares with 20th century modernists such as Joyce, Proust, and – in his works’ unresolved obliqueness – Kafka. These qualities may account in part for the public indifference and critical neglect which greeted the initial publication of books such as Moby Dick, The Confidence Man, and Pierre. If ever a writer was out of tune with the times, yet alert to where those times would take us, that scribe – that scrivener – was Melville. His depiction of the sullen, morbid resistance of a lone office worker to the rational demands of economic alienation presents us with the haunting figure of one who will always remain a ghost in the machine.

Tom Hall, Dublin, March 2021

Andy Frizell has composed extensively for theatre, large scale outdoor events, dance, film and radio for 35 years. He honed his craft in the 1990s as musical director for Kaboodle Productions, helping develop dynamic physical performances mixing music, imagery and epic story telling. He has scored six shows for the Bremen Shakespeare Company, Hercules and Phoebe (National Theatre) and was commissioned by the Netball World Cup to score the opening ceremony (2019). Collaborators include, Kevin Ayers, Super Furry Animals, Shack, Bill Rhyder-Jones, China Crisis, Coral, Emily and the Faves (Stealing Sheep), The Magic Band, Viv Stanshall, and is a member of the legendary Wizards of Twiddly.

Tom Hall was born in Vermont, USA, has lived in the Mexican states of Vera Cruz and Chiapas and currently resides in Dublin, Ireland. He taught for several years in the Drama Department at the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama. Produced plays include A Dublin Mystery Cycle (CM&D, 2000), Raccoon (Cobalt Café, Dublin, 2001; Everyman Theatre Bistro, Liverpool, 2008) The Death of Zapata (Dundalk IT, 2004) and Boss (Meridian Theatre Company, Cork: 2008).

David Llewellyn has recently retired from his post as Head of Drama at Liverpool John Moores University following a career of thirty-seven years as a theatre director, playwright, actor, and academic researcher. David trained at Bretton Hall and Leeds University. His credits as an actor include work for the BBC in The Ritz and Teechers and as a playwright for Hull Truck Theatre Company with Playing Away. Most recently he has acted and directed with Liverpool Irish Literary Theatre (LILT).

Victor Merriman is a founder director of One Hour Theatre Company (2016-), and a member of Liverpool Irish Literary Theatre (LILT). He has credits as a performer, director, and dramaturg, and directed first performances of Tom Hall’s Raccoon and The Death of Zapata. He is Professor of Critical Studies in Drama (Edge Hill University), and author of Because We Are Poor: Irish Theatre in the 1990s (2011) and, Austerity and the Public Role of Drama: Performing Lives-in-Common (2019), featured at WoWFest (2019). He curated Stories of Everyday Phrases for WoWFest online (2020).

John O’Connor is a designer and academic. Serving as Director and Dean of the College of Arts and Tourism at Technological University Dublin since 2012 he previously led the School of Creative Arts. He has been teaching the award-winning module ‘Virtual Environments: Is one life enough?’ in the virtual world Second Life® since 2009. Prior to joining the University John established Information Design where he continues to practice design. www.johnoconnor.org

Tom Miller, original line drawing of Bartleby (2015). Gallery online at http://www.tommillerart.com/

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