An atmospheric drama as the nights draw in is the opening play for Athlone Little Theatre’s 2019-20 season. Conor McPherson’s 'The Weir' will open for business tonight, Thursday, September 12, and will run for eight performances until Thursday September, 19.
'The Weir' premiered in London in 1997, and opened at the Gate in 1998 to much acclaim, and has consistently appeared in critics’ lists of the best plays of the 20th century.
A seasoned cast take us into the male-dominated world of a rural pub in the north west of the country, where the locals have grown up together, and by turns trade affectionate jibes and bitter home truths. At the core of this world there resides the Irish tradition of the ghost story, a tradition that McPherson was exposed to as a child when visiting his grandfather’s house in Leitrim.
“As a kid from Dublin it was very different and it really got under my skin,” he recalled in an interview with the Irish Examiner in 2016.
The evening finds fresh from Dublin Valerie (played by Fiona Scerri ), introduced to the company by businessman Finbar (Ray Kelly ) and soon the talk turns to the supernatural. Paul Gill plays Jack, a car mechanic and garage owner whose own story emerges along with that of his co-worker, Jim (Frank O’Brien ).
After each man, except barman Brendan (Brian Toolan ) has told a story, Valerie reveals her own, and the reason she has left Dublin. Her story too is melancholy with a ghostly twist which echoes the earlier tales, and shocks the men, whose tones soften. There is the hint that the story may lead to salvation and, eventually, a happy ending for two of the characters.
Mel O’Flynn directs this mesmerising drama with set designed by Geoff Boles. Lighting/sound design is by Paddy Martin.
The Weir will run nightly at 8pm from Thursday, September 12, for eight nights until Thursday, September 19, at Athlone Little Theatre, St. Mary's Place, Athlone. For online bookings see www.athlonelittletheatre.ie or phone (090 ) 6474324 and check Facebook for regular news.