This magical play is co-produced by Tobacco Factory Theatres and the Sherman Theatre. Keeping in line with Sherman Theatre’s ability to curate meaningful theatre. Directed by Rachel O’Riordan, who brought The Weir to The Tobacco Factory Theatres, the production was instilled with intensity and comic relief.
Set in a rural Irish pub, where drinks and stories flow, the characters escape the isolation of the surrounding countryside. Sharing stories of the humorously teasing variety, to confessions of the deepest kind. This culminates in a compelling play, which reveals storytelling as a way of connecting to one another. The effect is a sense of solace and a basis for shared humanity.
One evening, four men meet in a bar in Ireland. The atmosphere of a dark and stormy night is immediately created: a well-known breeding ground for storytelling. The conversation quickly flows from laddy-banter in a bar to stories with a supernatural undertone.
Originally written by Irish playwright Conor McPherson, it explores Irish traditions of ghost stories and folklore. The men discuss a house haunted by fairies, built on an ancient fairy road. This pairing of pagan traditions and stories of mystery is undoubtedly the play’s enduring success. The original playwrights claim that, as humans ‘we just have our five senses and we do the best we can. Beyond that, it’s all a big mystery’, acknowledges the mystical aspect which charges the play.
The actors convincingly portray story sharing as a remedy for their loneliness. Orla Fitzgerald, the only woman in the cast, plays newcomer Valerie, who came to Ireland seeking solitude. She stuns with a monologue about a mother’s bereavement. At once intensely human yet deeply supernatural.
Simon Wolfe's performance as the cantankerous old mechanic, Jack, is particularly noteworthy. Moving from his grumpy disposition, to a moving scene in which he laments the one that got away, his character highlights the therapeutic effect of sharing a story. The play leads the audience to consider their own stories, in light of this resonant and enduring play.
The Weir is showing at The Tobacco Factory until Saturday the 5th of November.