The Weir

by Conor McPherson

directed by Ron Stannard

Performed at the

Maskers' Studio Theatre

on

22nd to 26th October 2013

The show SOLD OUT!

Synopsis

In a run-down bar in rural Ireland, the locals meet to drink, joke, tease and reminisce; but the arrival of Valerie, a newcomer from the big city, disturbs their male world and prompts them to compete for her attention with stories of fairies, ghosts and strange events – dark tales on a dark night, tinged with sexual tensions. But Valerie, too, has a harrowing tale to tell….

Conor McPherson’s richly-poetic play, premiered in 1997, was a huge success in London and on Broadway, winning the Olivier Award for Best Play, and is now widely-regarded as a modern classic. The Weir’s prevailing atmosphere of loneliness, loss and regret for missed opportunities is shot through with great humour, charm and compassion and it promises a spellbinding evening in the theatre.

The Author

Conor McPhersonwas born in Dublin in 1971 and emerged in the 1990’s as an exceptionally gifted young Irish writer, alongside Martin McDonagh and Sebastian Barry.  Although The Weir established him as a great playwright he had written a number of award-winning plays, including This Lime Tree Bower, Dublin Carol, Port Authority and The Seafarer; and a new play, The Night Alive, opens in London in June.  He has also worked extensively in the cinema, winning a number of awards for screenwriting.  His plays reveal a natural story-teller, weaving tales of lost souls and troubled lives with compassion and a mischievous sense of humour.

The Cast
Eric Petterson is playing Jack, a mechanic and garage owner in his fifties. Eric is a retired teacher who has come late to amateur dramatics. Apart from some plays at school (notably a Lovesick Maiden in Gilbert and Sullivan's "Patience"), he has performed only very recently.
His introduction to the Maskers was last year when he wrote songs and performed them at the "Christmas Charivari" as well as acting in some sketches. His first piece of straight acting was when he played the guard in "Forward to the Right", a play about the last days of Joan of Arc, and he won the Best Actor award at Totton and Shaftesbury where we presented this play in the Festivals.
Ian Wilson is playing Brendan, a farmer and the owner of the pub in which the play is set. Ian was involved in drama all through school and college appearing in many productions including "The Roses of Eyam", "The Importance of Being Earnest", "The Matchgirls" and "Our Town"; he made his debut for Maskers in 2007 in "Accrington Pals" (Arthur), had has appeared in a number of productions since including "Beggars Opera" (Peachum), "The Crucible" (Parris), "The Graduate" (Barman), "Butterfly Kiss" (Sloane) and, memorably, a drunk in "We’re All Dead". He has also directed "Chair" (2012) and "Closer" (2010).
Steve Clark is playing Jim, Jack's assistant, in his forties. Steve, a Masker for 23 years, was last seen at the studio in another ‘ghost’ story - "We’re All Dead", by Jonathan Edgington. Previous roles include Paul Sheldon in "Misery", Lopakhin in "The Cherry Orchard", Dominic in "Amy’s View", Frank in "Educating Rita" and Danforth in "The Crucible". Recent productions at Winchester’s Chesil Theatre include "Home And Beauty", "Colder Than Here", "Deep Blue Sea", "Hedda Gabler", "Billy Liar" and "The Constant Wife". Growing the whiskers has proved as much of a challenge for Steve as tackling the accent – but he’s thrilled to be working with such a talented cast and director.
Johnny Carrington is playing Finbar Mack, a local businessman in his late forties. Johnny made his stage debut at the tender age of ten... as the back end of a donkey in the school nativity! Promotion soon followed, however, because a year later he was making his Maskers debut at the Nuffield as a paperboy in 'Oh What a Lovely War'. Having parents who were founding members meant he was always around the theatre and he started appearing with the Maskers Youth Theatre whilst at college.
Johnny has been in numerous shows both in traditional venues and outdoors, but three of his favourites have been 'The Three Musketeers' and 'The Man in the Iron Mask' in which he played D'Artagnan and 'The Wind in the Willows' in where he played Toad. He also began directing with the Maskers with the tribute play to the Spitfire.. 'Mitchell's Wings' in 2011(which he also wrote)/td>
Sarah-Jayne Wareham is playing Valerie, a Dublin woman in her thirties. Sarah-Jayne has been a Maskers regular for the last few years, playing a variety of roles from a psychotic epileptic to a parrot! More recently she swapped the pop socks of Mercy Lott in Humble Boy for the stockings of Mrs Robinson in The Graduate! She directed 'Crimes of the Heart' for the Maskers at the Nuffield Theatre earlier this year.
 
The Director
Ron Stannard has directed a number of amateur productions in London, Sheffield and Manchester before coming to Southampton in 1967.  His first production for The Maskers was The Seagull in 1969 and other shows for the Company include King Lear, Hedda Gabler, Three Sisters, Cherry Orchard, Home, Moonlight and Our Lady of Sligo.

Many directing credits elsewhere include She Stoops To Conquer (London), Mother Courage (Sheffield), Bartholomew Fair, Exit The King, Schweik in the Second World War, Sergeant Musgrave’s Dance, Live Like Pigs (all in Manchester); Philadelphia Here I Come and Dancing at Lughnasa (all in Southampton for Southampton University Players).

The forthcoming production of The Weir marks exactly 60 years since his directing debut in 1953 with Ashley Dukes’ A Man With A Load of Mischief.

For the Maskers:  
Production Manager Christine Baker
Assistant to the Director Avril Wooward
Stage Manager Kathryn Salmon
Set Design John Hamon
Set Building Roger Lockett, John Hamon, Ken Hann, Geoff Cook, Graham Buchannan
Lighting Design Clive Weeks
Lighting Operation Rebecca Brumpton
Sound Design Geoff Grandy & Jamie McCarthy
Sound Operator Jamie McCarthy & Adam Taussik
Properties Adam Taussik
Set Dressing Adam Taussik & John Hamon
Marketing Sarah Russell, Angela Stansbridge & team
Wardrobe Sheana Carrington
Front of House Management Chris Baker

 

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