Exiles: A Play in Three Acts

Sexual jealousy and infidelity, themes dramatized in Ulysses, are also portrayed in the play Exiles, Joyce’s least successful work. For years he tried to interest theatrical companies in England, Ireland, and America; there were no takers until August 1919, when Exiles was staged in a German translation in Munich. Joyce summed up the world premiere: “Complete fiasco. Row in theatre. Play withdrawn. Author invited but not present. . . . Thank God.” Exiles was finally performed in English in 1925, at New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse.

This rare broadside program relates to an amateur production mounted the following year by notable figures in the burgeoning gay rights and Little Theatre movements in Boston and Provincetown: Prescott Townsend (1894–1973) and Catherine Sargent Huntington (1887–1987), the play's director. The Boston Stage Society’s repertoire in the 1920s featured European plays by Strindberg, Chekhov, Jean Cocteau, and more obscure modern dramatists. Joyce may not have been aware of this production, nor was he likely compensated.

“Exiles” by James Joyce, Presented by the Boston Stage Society, Saturday, April 3rd–Saturday, April 10th
[Boston: Boston Stage Society, 1926]
The Morgan Library & Museum, purchased on the Gordon N. Ray Fund for the Sean and Mary Kelly Collection, 2021; PML 198668