Saturday, July 04, 2015

The Weir

Photo: Carol Rosegg
Irish theater values the act of storytelling as much as -- if not more than -- the story itself. The danger each playwright faces is that taken too far, this approach can feel like fetishization. Unfortunately, that's my impression of Conor McPherson's 1997 drama The Weir, which the Irish Repertory Theatre is reviving at its current digs in Union Square (the company previously presented this play -- with several of the same cast members -- two years ago). The play is little more than storytelling: in a remote Irish pub, the locals belt Jameson and Harp and indulge in spinning supernatural yarns they claim as true. McPherson is fascinated by the supernatural -- his plays The Seafarer and Shining City address the spirit world more directly -- and The Weir is a humanist attempt at a ghost story. It's also neither particularly poetic nor convincingly chilling. The actors give mostly fine performances, although more than a few line readings felt oddly tentative, and Amanda Quaid -- the lone woman, who shares the most disturbing story -- seemed young for her role. However, although only ninety-five minutes, Ciaran O'Reilly's production feels like a night where you stayed at the pub a few drinks past your limit.

[4th row, discounted ticket]

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