FOLLOWING AN acclaimed tour last year, Decadent Theatre Company return to the Town Hall Theatre, with its staging of Conor McPherson’s The Weir, from Monday February 13 to Friday 17 - excluding Tuesday 14, when the company relocate to Tigh Neachtain’s for a special one-off performance.
The Weir unfolds in an isolated Leitrim pub as the local men are gather for an evening pint. The arrival of a stranger in their midst – a beautiful woman called Valerie – spurs them to impress her with stories. There unfolds haunting stories of souls past, spirits present, and spectres unforeseen that keep the audience riveted.
Director Andrew Flynn feels the play has been enhanced by its touring stint, with the characters’ routine of nightly gathering being paralleled by the actors in the roles; “The cast really settled into it during the run, we had three weeks at the Pavilion in Dun Laoghaire and the play truly started to soar there. The Weir is tricky because the instinct is to make it very naturalistic, and the danger is that the actors end up as if they are only telling the stories to themselves, and forget about the audience. Conor McPherson himself told me that is the trap of the play. We’re bringing it into the Gaiety after Galway and that will be a challenge, making it somehow bigger and reaching that larger house - the play was originally done upstairs in The Royal Court which is a studio space.”
While both The Weir and Decadent’s production of The Pillowman enjoyed rave reviews and big houses during their recent tours, Flynn reveals the costs of bringing a show on the road have risen steeply over the past year.
“We only visited four venues with The Weir last year - Galway, Limerick, Kilkenny, and the Pavilion,” he points out. “There are another 18 venues we would usually serve that are mad for the play and we’ve applied for a touring grant to take it to those regional venues but we won’t know for a while yet if that application is successful. Touring has become so expensive."
Flynn reflects on the powerful audience appeal of The Weir; “I’ve toured many different plays and there’s no doubt that theatre-going audiences here love to know who the writer is - McPherson, McDonagh, John B Keane, Friel, and Murphy will bring in audiences. The Weir also gives them characters they can identify with and there is a charm in that. They feel like they know what each character is going through, or they know somebody like that, and can identify with the ups and downs of the story. They certainly love The Weir; at the Pavilion we did three weeks and we’d normally only do three or four performances there and we had nearly full houses for the whole run. People warm to the play and enjoy its humour; it’s an entertaining night out.”
Tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 or www.tht.ie