Acclaimed actor Stephen Rea teams with cellist Neil Martin to present the U.S. premiere of their staging of Seamus Heaney’s translation of Aeneid Book VI.

“There’s one Virgilian journey that has indeed been a constant presence and that is Aeneas’s venture into the underworld,” Seamus Heaney once told an interviewer. “The motifs in Book VI have been in my head for years — the golden bough, Charon’s barge, the quest to meet the shade of the father.”

Heaney’s translation of Book VI of the Aeneid, which he began when his father died in 1986, was virtually complete when he himself died in 2013. Now the Poetry Center teams with Rea and Martin, two of Heaney’s old friends, to present a staged reading of the translation — “a remarkable and fitting epilogue to one of the great poetic careers of recent times,” wrote Nick Laird.

“It's a great delight to our family that Stephen Rea and Neil Martin, two of my father’s long-time friends and collaborators, will bring their spellbinding performance of Aeneid Book VI to a New York audience,” wrote Catherine Heaney, the poet’s daughter. “And there could be no better venue than 92Y, where my father first read in 1971 and returned time and again over the next forty years — to read and to listen and to be among friends.”

In association with Irish Repertory Theatre.


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