Finnegans Wake in Performance

ShemSong with Mike Watt
(a ‘Waywords and Meansigns’ contribution)W&M.jpg

Part of the reason you haven’t seen much in the way of Joyce-Blogging here recently is that all my energy of late has gone into a collaboration with rock bassist Mike Watt on a music/spoken-word adaptation of Finnegans Wake chapter 7, commonly referred to as “Shem the Penman.” The piece is now finished and will make its debut on May 4th at Derek Pyle’s Waywords and Meansigns website. It’s the best work I’ve done to date with Finnegans Wake, and you can rest assured I’ll be blogging about it, so be sure to check back from time to time for updates. In the meantime, you can read more about it here.

Don’t Panic: it’s only Finnegans WakeDon't Panic It's Only Finnegans Wake banner

That’s right:

Just because it’s the most notoriously difficult book to read in the English language doesn’t mean you should start hyperventilating. One word at a time is sometimes the best you can hope for, so breathe…

But here’s the exciting part: there are a lot of inroads to getting the hang of this truly remarkable book. The first thing we’d like to suggest is:

Come see the show.

The title is (you guessed it) DON’T PANIC: it’s only Finnegans Wake, and its biggest feature is Joyce’s own amazing language itself, performed – always off book – by me (Adam Harvey), and beside me on the stage is a running, animated, twelve-foot high projection of the text. Peppered with commentary, occasional explanations, audience sing-alongs, or just simple declarations of amazement at what Joyce accomplished, DON’T PANIC is essentially a celebration of language – spoken, printed, sung, and anything else you can think of to do with it. It’s all in there, so join the fun.

Upcoming shows:


Molloy College, New York

details forthcoming

Previous shows:


18th annual New York International Fringe Festival
Venue #12: 64 East 4th Street UNDERGROUND

Five performances only, no two exactly alike.

Friday, August 8th, 5:00pm
Sunday, August 10th, 3:30pm
Thursday, August 14th, 8:45pm
Friday, August 15th, 4:15pm
Sunday, August 17th, 9:15pm

January 31-Febrary 2, 2014
three performances

Teatro Paraguas
3205 Calle Marie Suite B
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505

Joyce in Charleston
July 12, 2013 – single performance

2013 International James Joyce Conference
The College of Charleston