by Carol Wimmer, 13th March 2015
Olwen Fouere, a slight figure in grey, stands on an stage empty but for a cable that snakes like the river Liffey itself to a lone microphone. White powder differentiates the river from the bank. Taking off her shoes, Fouere wades into it, and, reaching the centre of the stage and the microphone, she calls, hauntingly, the Sanskrit words that herald the twilight of dawn: Sandhyas! Sandhyas! Sandhyas!
Thus begins an incredibly poetic interpretation of “the dark matter somewhere between energy and form, music and language …” that is James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake. Described as both a non-linear digressive narrative and anaporia – an impasse or a philosophical puzzle – the book is filled with twisted literary allusions, puns and composite words from over sixty languages.
While Joyce explained this – “The action of my new work takes place chiefly at night. It’s natural things should not be so clear” – Fouere has taken selective passages and gathered them into a performance that, whilst still a ‘puzzle’, focuses the audience on the aural and musical dimensions of the words.