Thursday, June 25, 2009

25 June Play-->Conor McPherson's "The Weir"

I liked this play a lot, but I think out of the McPherson I've read, I prefer The Seafarer, simply because of the more pronounced arch. The play is set in pub in a small Irish village, some miles outside of Dublin. The kind of place where the darkness and the quiet encompass you once the sun goes down, so far removed from an urban environment you are. The play is basically built around stories told by the characters in the bar, each one (excepting the bartender, Brendan) taking a turn at recounting some happening--most of them have a ghostly nature or local folklore feel to them. Similar to The Seafarer and its question of potential damnation (sorry if I ruined that for anyone out there), there are somethings you just believe more about this play because it is coming out of Irish mouths, from an Irish writer. There is that strange, "old world" mysticism that still exists as very much a part of Ireland's identity, and I suspect is one of the larger draw for tourists to the country. This play made me want to go out and buy a book on Irish myths.

What was really wonderful about the play was how each one of these stories drew me in as a reader, and you could tell just from the writing how it was affecting the speaker. For a writer to be that attuned to his characters is great--and rarer than you'd think, or perhaps would like to believe. You can tell that McPherson knows these men and knows these stories. He presents them with a kind of understanding reverence that's really beautiful. One of the best attributes of this play is how simple it is--just a few people, having a few drinks, shooting the shit. We have all been there. This action is completely relatable. And somehow, in that air of simplicity, some very personal admissions can arise (I will reveal no more here...). It was a nice, short play. I liked it.

But I liked The Seafarer better.

Monologues: A long one (about three pages, that I don't know could be cut down) for an Irish woman in her thirties (Valerie). Not age appropriate for me, and generally, probably not audition appropriate unless you were auditioning for this play and had been asked to prepare it. An enjoyable afternoon, nonetheless.

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