Seamus reflects on Heaney’s ‘Station Island

March 08, 2017

For some people, acting is just a matter of learning the lines, putting on a costume and stepping on stage.  Seamus O’Hara however, looks at things a little differently.
Ahead of his leading role in the Lyric Theatre’s “Performance Reflections on ‘Station Island’” at Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy this Saturday, Seamus did more than just study the text - he and the Lyric team took a boat out to ‘Station Island’ (more commonly known as the pilgrimage site Lough Derg in Co. Donegal) and walked barefoot on the same rugged stones that Heaney himself did when composing poems for the collection.
Speaking of his experience on ‘Station Island’, the actor said:
“The moment you set foot on the island, you feel an immediate sense of reverence, of there being something bigger than you.  We visited the island out of season and were the only people there, which felt really appropriate as it reflected now Heaney translated his memories of Station Island into an intensely personal work of art.”
Published in 1984, Station Island represents a literary pilgrimage for Heaney, as he explores his complex relationship to his homeland, his faith and the past.  The title poem, ‘Station Island’ – steeped as it is in ritual, memory, and ghostly visions – is central to the poet’s autobiographical quest for personal and artistic integrity. 
More than a traditional theatre show and more than a traditional poetry reading, the event at Seamus Heaney HomePlace will be a unique multimedia experience – featuring a short film created on Lough Derg itself, incredible live music, and Heaney’s text being performed by one of Northern Ireland’s finest up-and-coming actors.
When asked if he was at all intimidated in bringing the Nobel Laureate’s words to the stage, Seamus replied:
“Heaney was always on the bookshelf at home – my father really admired him and met him when he studied at Queen’s University.  I am used to hearing Heaney’s work being read aloud and am really comfortable with his words, rhythm and images as I feel they’ve been part of me all my life.”
Tickets for ‘Performance Reflections on Station Island’ which takes place at Seamus Heaney HomePlace on Saturday 11 March at 7.30pm are priced £10 and are available to book now here.