James Joyce's novella The Dead describes a holiday gathering on January 6, 1904, the Feast of the Epiphany, in the Dublin home of two elderly sisters, Kate and Julia Morkan, and their niece, Mary Jane. At the party are students, friends, a celebrated tenor, a lost alcoholic, and the couple Gabriel and Gretta Conroy. Over the course of an evening, there are conversations, music, dancing, and dining. There are speeches and disagreements — polite and impolite — and when it is all over, Gabriel learns something about his wife that changes his sense of who she is and who they are to each other, of what it actually means to be alive and to be dead.
The Dead, 1904 is a new adaptation of Joyce's novella in which audience members themselves attend the Misses Morkan's holiday party, move from room to room with the actors, listen to the music, watch the dances, dine on a meal inspired by the menu in the book, and observe the characters in their interactions. The production takes place in an authentic Victorian mansion, perfectly evoking the atmosphere of the story. At each performance, premium ticket holders are seated with the actors and experience the famous dinner scene from within.