A Modern Irish Classic: “The Weir”

Produced by Irish Repertory Theatre
By Conor McPherson
Directed by Ciaran O’Reilly
Video Editor – Sarah Nichols
Sound Designer – M. Florian Staab
Assistant Director – Jeff Davolt
Production Assistant – Simon Geaney

A Performance On Screen
7/21-7/25
132 West 22nd Street
New York, NY
Irish Rep on Facebook

Critique by Noe Kamelamela

YOUTUBE — Live theatre seems to be lingering in rebroadcast and livestream purgatory. On the one hand, this does increase accessibility in various directions, but on the other hand, quality varies.  Irish Rep’s production of McPherson’s modern Irish classic The Weir is definitely on the higher end of the scale.

As a YouTube Live presentation, the cadence and timing between the actors stayed in sync and audible to me as a viewer for the most part.  Despite being recorded in different places, there was decent agreement with the use of sightlines and actor reactions.  The intelligent placement of backgrounds, coordinated use of props and restrained utilization of gestures maintained a filmic quality, not necessarily one that I would expect in a live theatrical performance.

I didn’t attempt to use subtitles, but it was simple enough to lipread thanks to the chosen fixed viewpoints even if my internet was not always up to par regarding keeping up with the show.  I found it to be a very solid production.

In these physically distant times, it was a pleasure to watch something theatrical and live without accidental muting or the loss of an actor for a short time due to technical issues. The pacing seemed methodical at first, until each character was settled: quite a lot of the back and forth established overall relationships with very little conflict at all. Appropriate to the fairly intimate and hushed mood, much of the grandeur came from character interactions.

The Weir conjures an unspecified time and place, a liminal space for four individuals to have a few pints and tell spooky stories about both recent and faraway pasts.  While the play relies on the camaraderie of recollection and collective storytelling, it has a lot to say about grief: as a simple undertone in most people’s lives, and as well as a deep undercurrent that can swell beneath a seemingly calm and collected person.

CAST
Dan Butler as Jack
Sean Gormley as Finbar
John Keating as Jim
Tim Ruddy as Brendan
Amanda Quaid as Valerie

Irish Repertory Theatre will continue to provide performances on screen for the time being with a lively cabaret-esque tribute to Noëll Coward in August.

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