The Weir>Production Info
Theatre Banshee produced The Weir by Conor McPherson in July 26-September 8 of 2002
at the Gene Bua Theatre in Burbank, California.


Cast (in order of appearance)
Jack Barry Lynch
Brendan Douglas Leal
Jim Dan Harper
Finbar Andrew Leman
Valerie Leslie Baldwin
Production Staff
Director Sean Branney
Producers Leslie Baldwin & Sean Branney
Stage Manager Sharon Chon
Scenic/Lighting Designer Arthur McBride
Costume Designer Laura Brody
Sound Designer/Original Score Erik Hockman/Clayton Tripp
Master Electrician Bobby Richard

Conor McPherson (Playwright)

Conor McPherson is one of the most exciting playwrights in contemporary Irish drama. The Weir won the Olivier Award for Best Play in 1999. McPherson was also deemed "Most Promising Playwright" by the London Drama Critic's Circle. Other plays of his include: St. Nicholas, Rum and Vodka, The Lime Tree Bower, The Good Their, and Dublin Carol. He's currently directing a feature film entitled The Actors, which he also wrote.

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Program (click here to download program as PDF file)

We created Theatre Banshee to provide a loud, clear voice in these times of social stagnation. Our mission is far-reaching: to revitalize American culture and the art form of theatre in particular by offering the public live entertainment which is challenging, engaging and affordable. As the digital age expands, it has become increasingly difficult to find quality live entertainment which is immediate and thought-provoking. We plan to accomplish this goal by producing a season which features classical and contemporary plays as well as new and experimental works by emerging authors.

Our Outreach Program will bring public school students to the theatre to see professional productions which are integrated with school curricula, and which offer the genuine experience of attending theatre in a theater.

Theatre Banshee’s Board of Directors consists of: Lorie Gonia, Philip Bell, Whitney Naughton and Sean Branney.

Tonight’s Performance
The play is set in a rural part of Ireland, Northwest Leitrim or Sligo. Present day. A small rural bar. The bar is part of a house and the house is part of a farm.

The Weir is performed without an intermission.
Running time: approximately 90 minutes.

Director's Notes

When I first read The Weir more than a year ago, I was quite taken with it. I wasn’t entirely sure why though. The play was smaller and quieter than anything I’ve directed. At first glance, not much happens in the play. It’s a story of some people going to a bar and telling some stories. It didn’t seem like much of a play from the standpoint of drama and conflict, but I still found myself compelled by it.

Those of you who have followed Theatre Banshee may be aware that we’ve been away for a while. Our last fully-mounted production was Helen Edmundson’s The Clearing in 1998. The ensuing years have brought some difficult challenges our way. We’re a “mom and pop” theatre company, and fate threw mom and pop some difficult circumstances. After eighteen months of agonizing pain and two brain surgeries, my co-producer and wife, Leslie, was diagnosed with a rare cancer at her skull base. That gave way to yet another surgery, radiation, and the Gamma knife. After that came the slow process of the body rebuilding itself after a tremendous ordeal.

As it would turn out, perhaps the most significant part of Leslie’s recovery came well after the physicians, the surgical techniques, and the mending of her body. In addition to certain cell types, the disease also affects emotional well being, one’s sense of self worth, and the promise (or lack of) the future. After enduring this side of the illness for months, Leslie became involved with Wellness Community-Foothills, a cancer support organization. She attended weekly meetings where she could share her experiences and exorcise her emotional demons with a group of other young people, all of whom had their own cancer horror stories. And it was there, in this community of cancer patients that she was able to complete the healing process, through sharing, tears and laughter (who knew cancer could be so funny?).

In the summer of 2001, my father took his own life. It was an unexpected event, taking everyone by surprise. There was no clear cause for what happened; to his family and friends, it seemed , and still seems, an improbable, nearly incomprehensible event. But even if the rest of us didn’t see any signs of forewarning, it happened. For some reason unknown to the rest of the world, he felt that suicide was the only solution to his problems. He carried a tremendous level of depression and emotional pain, never sharing that side of himself with anyone. While surrounded by people he loved and who loved him, he was to a great extent, alone.

Reflecting on these events led me back to The Weir—a play about people coming together to share their stories. To ease their loneliness. They gather to be part of a community. And in the craic (Irish for chat), they find a very real healing of their pain, and they vent the emotional pressures they carry. They drink like fiends, tease one another and quarrel. They taste the very personal catharsis that comes with the telling of stories. And for each of them, the stories from their pasts are the key to their future.

“Why is it called The Weir?” I can only guess. A weir is a small dam used to regulate water flows, and the physical weir is only referred to tangentially in the play. But a weir is a barrier which separates two parts of a river. Here characters find themselves in a place which stands astride this world and the next, and like a real weir, it’s permeable. The world of ghosts and fairies seeps into the characters’ lives. The fairies knock in the walls and the dead live on. But more importantly, the living live on. And it’s in the very small, quiet moments of this remarkable play, that the characters find the strength to go on living, the humor to endure, and the courage to face another day.

As Jack says, “We’ll all be ghosts soon enough. We’ll all be here sippin’ whiskey with Maura Nealon”. We’ll all have our day to cross the weir. But in the meantime, we’d be well-served to find our own community: people with whom we can share our stories, a laugh and a bit of company. To live.

Special Thanks
Gene & Toni Bull Bua
Patsy, Sean & Geraldine Branney
Andrew Leman
Ralph Nelson
Rebecca & Pascal Marcotte
Matt & Belva Shopene
Timmy Nolan’s
Ireland’s 32
Artistry Entertainment
CopyCraft Printing
John Jabaley & Erika Zucker
Jeremy Green
Hope Miller
Gaylene van Zijll
Suzie Baldwin
Joan Ventress
Dan Harper
Gillian Morris
Kevin Wright
Bobby Richard
Aidan Branney
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