8 May 2013, Donmar Warehouse, London
This play won the Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and Olivier award for Best New Play in 1997. Ashamedly, I had actually never heard of the play or the playwright Conor McPherson! The playwright is regarded as one of our greatest living young playwrights.
The play is set in a pub in an isolated town. A women walks into the pub, and the men excited by this stranger start telling stories to try and impress her. But none of them can tell a story more chilling and more realistic than the one that she tells.
It was a good play, but because I had really really high expectations – it got so many 5* reviews (argh again,the reviews!!) and awards, plus the whole run is sold out – this play fell a bit short. Anyway… but the acting, wow. A strong cast who gave pitch-perfect spontaneous-like delivery.
The text is really well written. It’s actually quite different from anything I’ve seen before. No action actually takes place… the play is all about the stories that the different characters tell. It becomes all about what they say and actually more so what they don’t say. What you read between the lines.
At the post-show Q&A, they talked about why the play is called The Weir. There actually isn’t a straight answer, but apparently Conor is very lyrical with his titling. Apparently he has this other play named St. Nicholas, where the title is not because it’s about Santa (apparently, not once is he referenced), but because the play is all about giving.
The cast could not stop raving about Conor’s plays and his writing. How he is really generous with his characters. How he is a ‘writer for actors’. Even the most minor of characters is significant and has room to explore. Need to go see more of his works! Actually this is a time when I wish I did my homework before going to see the play. Think I would’ve appreciated a lot more had I known more about the playwright and this play!
By the way, have I ever mentioned that I love the Donmar?