SHEM THE PENMAN is a musical and cinematic journey into James Joyce’s creative imagination, inspired by Joyce’s connection to the tenor John McCormack.
Shem The Penman is an imagined archive of the actual and much fabled friendship between James Joyce and tenor John McCormack.
The character of Shaun the Post in Joyce’s “unreadable” novel, Finnegans Wake was based on McCormack.?
Joyce portrayed himself as Shaun’s lowly twin brother, Shem the Penman.
Joyce and McCormack’s encounters are reimagined and interrupted by a series of films within the film which chart the exploits of Shem and Shaun. As Joyce’s eyesight fails, the narrative is carried by a mix of archive recordings and imaginary radio broadcasts.