One time, I was sitting in my room when I heard someone knocking on my door. “Come in!” I yelled, but the door didn’t open. I waited for a few seconds before turning away from the door, and then I heard it again—three strong, clear knocks. I yelled one more time to come in, this time with a hint of frustration and anger in my voice, but once again the door didn’t open. A few minutes later, I went downstairs to get a glass of water, and noticed my mother and brother organizing the groceries. “If you are not going to come in then why did you knock on my door?”
Blank stare. “We didn’t.”
Do you have stories like that? Or stories you heard from a friend, or stories that happened to the friend of a friend? Well, I can tell you that there is a group of people that have, and they are sitting in an Irish pub waiting for you to come listen to what they have to say.
The Weir is a play involving four men and a woman, who meet one stormy night in a cozy pub out in the country lands of Ireland. The men have known each other for years, but tonight they are meeting with someone new—a young woman named Valerie that has just bought a house from one of them.
“Four of these men know each other very well, and then you have Valerie the outsider that kinda dropped the parachute in and none of them really know what to make of her and a lot of the play is about them trying to figure out that aspect even though for most of the play she is just listening .”–David Johnston , Assistant Director
Gwyneth Kellii plays the mysterious Valerie, about whom I can’t really say much, since the play is very much about finding out for yourself exactly who she is and why she is there. In fact, I would be ruining much of the story by talking about the characters’ life, as they will let you take a glance into their souls when they tell their spooky stories.
Yes, this is a play about ghosts and fairies, about unexplained phenomena—some hearsay, some from personal experience. In total, the characters will tell you four stories about an incident related to the paranormal, and if you have a very active imagination I can guarantee you will get goosebumps as you hear each one of them. Perhaps it was only because of my own experience that I related to the characters as they tried to make sense of the events.
“Maybe I’m bananas…” “Maybe I was hallucinating…” “Maybe she was high or drunk…”
One thing is for sure, each one of these experiences has, in some way or another, made a huge impact in the life of the characters, and when you listen to them share their stories in that little pub you may soon realize that there is much more about them than just the unexplained. You will get to hear about loneliness, about regrets and mistakes, about longing for answers and peace. And it will all come out after a few drinks during a stormy night in the country.
When it comes to the production, I have but one complaint—if you sit in the left side of the theatre, the actors in the scene will be repeatedly blocked by each other throughout the play. This is because the stage, although beautifully crafted and designed, has the bar for the pub too far out to the stage, meaning that when actor Justin Deveau (Brendan) was serving drinks, he would most certainly block another actor on stage.
That said, I thought that the set, props, and even sound effects and lighting were decent. Other than a few sounds feeling a little too fake, there wasn’t really anything that I noticed, which to me it just means that the production did a good job in creating a convincing atmosphere for an Irish night.
The play is about 1 hour and 40 minutes, and it has no intermissions. If you are scared of it being a little too much for you, fret not! I can honestly say that I hadn’t realized almost two hours had gone by when the play was over, and this was because, although it is a slow play, the stories created an anchor that allowed me to zoom out of the pub and zoom into the ghost story completely. Because I was having “breaks” in the form of another story, I was not tired by the play.
“There is a lot of sitting and listening, but all the stories are so listenable and so engaging that you can grab them and grab on to them” –David Johnston , Assistant Director
And I grabbed on to them so much that when I was walking back home after the play, my brain was imagining all sorts of things worthy of being included in any decent horror movie.
However, if you are more into plays with a message or perhaps a little more action rather than just listening to a well told story, then perhaps check out other plays in Edmonton. However, if you like storytelling, The Weir is definitely the best option.
The Weir will play until October 27th, for more information on tickets and schedule visit Yeglive.ca
Directed by Anne Marie Szucs
Cody Porter as Jack
Gavin O’Toole as Finbar
Gwyneth Kellii as Valerie
Kieran O’Callaghan as Jim
Justin Deveau as Brendan