(Derek Scally’s article appeared in the Irish Times, 1/24. Photo: Berlin Buhnen.)

Joyce’s famous work is getting a radical reworking in Berlin by director Sebastian Hartmann

Five minutes into my interview about the new stage production of Ulysses at Berlin’s Deutsches Theater, the director and his leading man have supplied three crucial pieces of information.

First, the evening will be four hours long. Second, neither Dublin nor the main characters will feature. Third, someone’s willy will get an airing during the evening – but they’re not saying whose.

It’s three days before the premiere and my interview with Ulysses director Sebastian Hartmann and actor Ulrich Matthes is skidding off the rails.

“I have left out everything to do with the Dublin milieu, the pubs and the brothels,” says Hartmann, promising a “non-narrative theatre evening with no main figures or exposition”.

Matthes who, like the rest of the cast, created the evening in collaboration with the director, chimes in.

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