Share Tweet Share Email

A wee bit personal: Theater to stage ‘The Weir,’ explore ghost stories haunting Irish pubs, lives

January 25, 2012
MFA in acting candidates (from left) Charlotte Fox (Valerie), Jacob Smith (Jim) and Bill Gordan (Jack) appear in the upcoming School of Theatre and Dance mainstage production of “The Weir” by Conor McPherson.

MFA in acting candidates (from left) Charlotte Fox (Valerie), Jacob Smith (Jim) and Bill Gordan (Jack) appear in the upcoming School of Theatre and Dance mainstage production of “The Weir” by Conor McPherson.

Within the world of NIU’s next theater production, casual drinking and storytelling turn into a night of haunting revelations.

The School of Theatre and Dance will present “The Weir,” a poignant play by Irish playwright Conor McPherson.

Beginning Thursday, Feb. 2, “The Weir” will be performed in the Stevens Building Players Theatre on the DeKalb campus.

Set in rural Ireland, the normally sedate atmosphere among the gentlemen of the local pub is suddenly transfigured when town native Finbar introduces them to Valerie, a stranger from Dublin.

Finbar and his friends each in turn attempt to impress the woman with local ghost stories and unexplainable encounters from their pasts.

The characters’ stories lead them “down the rabbit hole,” director Patricia Skarbinski says. They begin as fanciful tales, but end as deeply personal and sometimes painful revelations of loss and fear.

Skarbinski believes most people have had similar experiences. They simply start talking about their lives and the decisions that they’ve made, and then realize they can’t rationally explain why they did those things.

“And yet, when you look back,” she says, “you realize that was the biggest turning point of your life.’”

Photo of cloversThe title of the play also reveals its theme, Skarbinski says. “A weir is a small dam that creates an eddy strong enough to drown a person.”

Inner distresses have trapped Valerie and the men in their own personal weirs, she says. Ultimately, telling their stories helps the characters connect and, in a sense, to rescue each other.

Players Theatre has an intimate, pub-like size that adds to the play’s realistic feel, as does the colorful Irish dialect. “We really wanted to create this intimacy with the audience. We wanted to make the audience to feel like they were in the pub,” Skarbinski says.

Tickets can be purchased from the Stevens Building box office between noon and 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from noon to 2 p.m. Friday and one hour before show time. Tickets also can be purchased online or ordered by phone at (815) 753-1600. Tickets cost $16 for adults, $13 for seniors and $8 for students.

For more information, call (815) 753-753-1334 or email [email protected].