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Seamus Heaney and the ClassicsBann Valley Muses$
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Stephen Harrison, Fiona Macintosh, and Helen Eastman

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198805656

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198805656.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 October 2019

A Door into the Dark

A Door into the Dark

Staging The Burial at Thebes

(p.69) 6 A Door into the Dark
Seamus Heaney and the Classics

Lucy Pitman-Wallace

Oxford University Press

Nottingham Playhouse asked me to find a translation of Sophocles’ Antigone for production. After searching, Giles Croft the Artistic Director alerted me to Heaney’s wonderful The Burial at Thebes. Seamus allowed me a Dublin visit, to discuss the play. He guided me through the three different verse forms: the three-beat Gaelic bars for Antigone, the Anglo- Saxon alliterative form for the Chorus, and blank verse for Creon. Seamus saw a moral balance between Creon and Antigone: for him it was a double tragedy, as both are equally misguided in their beliefs. He also made me understand ‘The verse’s the thing’, so each word must be heard. My production in 2007 used verse, music, dance, and all actors played the Chorus. Seamus came to see it and for the revival he did rewrites. On tour, we witnessed how different audiences found the play relevant to their lives.

Keywords:   Heaney, Sophocles, Antigone, staging, translation

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