Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Shay Healey's Irish Musical

He’s was 62 last month but songwriter-cum- novelist-cum-director-cum-children author-cum-tv presenter (a non-exhaustive list, BTW) Shay Healy doesn’t care who knows -- even if he himself has not totally adjusted. “I feel like a 29 year old boy, which is why I sometimes get a shock when I pass a shop window and realise that ugly old fucker is me…”

As it happens, the multi-hyphenated Healey is slightly more concerned with his latest scheme – his musical, The Wireman – than mere surface appearance right now. Rehearsals are underway for a show that has been in gestation for several years, since he first began researching the story of Irish rural electrification for a tv documentary.

“I was really snagged by the magnitude and the scale of what it was about,” says Healey. “It is a period in our history that hasn’t really been covered, even though it is a rich part of our heritage.”

The effect of the arrival of electric light (though not to rural Ireland) on one Irish boy was, of course, a central image in Seamus Heaney’s 2001 collection, Electric Light. Like the little boy in Heaney’s poem, Healy is concerned with “the journey from darkness into light…electrification is really the metaphor for a lot of things, a journey from backwardness into light. And it's a kind of universal story, because every country went through the same transformation”

The story at the heart of Healy’s musical concerns a young farmer who feels he and his way of life are threatened by the advent of this new-fangled, high-technology. The young farmer was forced by the death of his father “behind the plough” to take over the farm and give up his own ambitions. But now it seems that his hard work tending to the fields was somehow in vain.

“There were very mixed feelings about the electricity and the men who brought it to the communities. There were stories of farmers who would have the electricity brought into the farmer yards, but not up to the kitchen.”

For the show, the company had to find a vintage plough. When they finally tracked on down – in Tiperary -- the apparatus arrived with a story very similar to that of the Wireman’s central character. “It turned out that the girl who found the plough, her grandfather had died behind it…” Spooky.

“Yes, I like it when you feel it's all connecting like that,” says Healey, “like it’s getting the full 220…”

Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, April 2005

And finally...

It's Tommy Tiernan
If you thought it just felt like Tommy Tiernan had played in Vicar
Street about 100 times – then you were wrong. Tommy Tiernan has indeed played vicar street 100 times. Or at least he will have it he makes it
on stage on Saturday 14 May. Now, I hope nobody is thinking of
preventing him in any way, from completing his century, are they? Just leave it, right!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shay I listened to your interview with Matian Finnucane this morning and I thoutht I should tell you about my recent research inot alternative medicine following the discovery of a growth on my leg which turned out to be malignant melanoma, the worst kind of skin cancer, 6 months ago. I have spent several days and nights on the net and I have decided to embrace a cure offered by Dr Hulda Dlark at You can alos buy her book 'The Cure for All Diseases' on Amaoon or on her site. I would strongly recommend her for your îllness Parkinson's. Ther is also an Irish man, I think his name is Michael O'Connor, who has his own website worte a book about his success in curing MS using amohng other things IV injections of vitamin C, a very NB vitamin See te vitamin C association and Linus Pauling's book.
Best of luck and hope you find a cure; The parmaceutical route, in my view is very short term and dues not deal with the cause, only the symptomw.

Maria (

3:35 PM  
Blogger Dr Hulda Clark said...

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12:13 AM  
Anonymous Dr Hulda Clark said...

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12:15 AM  

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