Promotional poster for the Irish Theatre Group
|Written by||Conor McPherson|
|Place premiered||Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London|
|Subject||A publican and three of his regulars attempt to spook a newcomer from Dublin but end up themselves frightened|
|Setting||A bar in rural Ireland|
The Weir is a play written by Conor McPherson in 1997. It was first produced at The Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in London, England, on 4 July 1997. It opened on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre on 1 April 1999. As well as several other locations in the UK and the U.S., the play has been performed in Ireland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Australia and Canada.
The play opens in a rural Irish pub with Brendan, the publican and Jack, a car mechanic and garage owner. These two begin to discuss their respective days and are soon joined by Jim. The three then discuss Valerie, a pretty young woman from Dublin who has just rented an old house in the area.
Finbar, a businessman, arrives with Valerie, and the play revolves around reminiscences and banter. After a few drinks, the group begin telling stories with a supernatural slant, related to their own experience or those of others in the area, and which arise out of the popular preoccupations of Irish folklore: ghosts, fairies and mysterious happenings.
After each man (except Brendan) has told a story, Valerie tells her own: the reason why she has left Dublin. Valerie's story is melancholy and undoubtedly true, with a ghostly twist which echoes the earlier tales, and shocks the men who become softer, kinder, and more real. There is the hint that the story may lead to salvation and, eventually, a happy ending for two of the characters. Finbar and Jim leave, and in the last part of the play, Jack's final monologue is a story of personal loss which, he comments, is at least not a ghostly tale but in some ways is nonetheless about a haunting.
The building of a hydroelectric dam, or weir, on a local waterway many years before is mentioned early in the conversation.
Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, UK (Original cast)
Rover Rep Theatre, Hamburg
Melbourne Theatre Company, Melbourne, Australia 2015
Ljubljana National Drama Theatre, Slovenia - performing continuously since April 2001.
Reviews of The Weir have been positive. It won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play of 1997-98. In addition, McPherson won the Critics' Circle Award as the most promising playwright in 1998 as a direct result of the success of The Weir. The play has received lofty praise, such as "beautifully devious," "gentle, soft-spoken, delicately crafted work," and "this is my play of the decade...a modern masterpiece."
The Weir was voted one of the 100 most significant plays of the 20th Century in a poll conducted by the Royal National Theatre, London. It tied at 40th place with Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh, Samuel Beckett's Endgame and Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge.