Just a few days remain in which you can experience The Weir by Conor McPherson in an impressive production by Brigit Saint Brigit Theatre Company. Sure, it’s a logical choice for the company’s mission and orientation and as part of the latest Irish Festival there.
You may have heard by now that, fundamentally, the focus is loquacious talk. Certainly conversation rather than action and developments dominates. But within that framework, the depth of one character emerges late in the play in a remarkably well-written monologue which justifies the rest of the being there. And the performance defining that man, Jack Mullen, by Brad Boesen, brings it home with depth and perception. Moreover, director Cathy M.W. Kurz has done wonders with it as well as with everything else that is said.
In this full-of-life production, the five- person cast speaks the regional dialect and accents as if to the manner born. Kurz’s and their pacing has a kind of poetic beauty which makes the whole thing so natural and alive that you’ll easily forget the absence of little of substance occurring. You may have trouble understanding every word, even after getting acclimated to the tone and tenor, but that doesn’t matter.
The setting: a small pub in an out- of- the-way part of Ireland. Evening. Garage owner/car mechanic Jack arrives and chats with Brendan, whose pub it is. Jack’s assistant Jim arrives and they discuss the soon-to-arrive young Dubliner Valerie who’ll be renting a house nearby. When she enters, she’s accompanied by local businessman Finbar. Conversation meanders into the question of ghosts and fairies in the region. And Valerie tells of her own experience as well. Ultimately Jack relates his moving story of lost romance.
Kurz has the performances of the ghost tales delivered as matters of fact, not of fright and fear. Clearly, she wants to show how these people huddle together around a small fire in warm, comforting surroundings while the essence of loneliness lies in the shadows. They talk and listen, rather than swiftly depart, as a way to bond with each other. She makes it clear that this is not about hauntings in the literal sense, although Jack remains haunted by his real life past. Therein lies the potential beauty of the evening.
Boesen’s Jack conveys marvelous, grungy charm and ultimately, a sad vulnerability which arrives undisguised. As Jim, Eric Grant-Leanna touchingly conveys sweet innocence. The other performers, Eric Salonis, Brent Spencer and Julia Farrell, thoroughly enhance a believable ensemble which never seems like acting. It feels like truth.
This takes place in Brigit Saint Brigit’s new performance venue amid industrial structures on 13th Street north of Cuming. The stage is small. The seats are close. So close you feel as if you could reach out and have a pint yourself at a table you can almost touch. The lonely sounds of trains in the distant darkness add to the feeling of being in the right place at the right time.
The Weir is part of Brigit Saint Brigit Theatre Company’s 2nd Irish Festival through March 29 at The Mastercraft Building, Suite 106, 1111 N. 13th Street. Fri. & Sat: 7:30 pm. Sun. 2:0op.m. Tickets $20-$25. http://www.bsbtheatre.com/