Returning to ‘The Weir’

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It’s fairly unconventional for a cast of actors to reunite for a play they performed three years earlier.

As Redding’s Elizabeth Johnson puts it: “Usually when an actor is done with a play, it gets put behind them and they look for new adventures.”

In the case of Conor McPherson’s “The Weir,” it’s a different situation.

The play, originally directed by Robert Soffian, ran for just two performances at Shasta College in Redding, then enjoyed a limited run in Weaverville. The actors had such a good time with it, they felt like more people should have had the chance to experience it.

“Every time anyone of us would bump into each other, we would always say, ‘We have to do it again!’ It is such a tremendous script,” said Johnson, the stage director in the original play who is directing this time around. “It only played two nights in Redding so we know there is an untapped audience.”

The play is being presented by the Root Theater Company . The show is set for 7:30 p.m. March 5-6 and 12-13, with a 2 p.m. matinee on March 7 at the Old Schoolhouse in Shasta off Highway 299 (take a right on French Alley). Tickets are $12 at the door. For more information and ticket reservations call 241-8775 or click here .

The play is set in an Irish pub and the characters engage in an evening of stories about life, lore, loss and love.

“It doesn’t bring up social issues or political issues or world views, it’s just a slice of life,” says cast member Dean Williams. “It’s very real, very down to earth. It’s satisfying to do. It goes through the whole range of emotions that people have — anger, jealousy, comrade, symphony, love. It’s an actor’s play.”

Joining Williams in the cast are Bob Koroluck, Deanne Foley, James Hutcheson and Levi Goldin.

The Old Schoolhouse in Shasta is a perfect venue for the play, says Johnson.

“The Old Schoolhouse in Old Shasta is much more fitting and atmospheric,” Johnson said. “We are making use of the small quarters and will practically be in the audience’s lap — every actor’s dream.”

I remember chatting with Williams and Koroluck following the original production. I got the sense back then that I had missed something special. Three years later and with a new director, I’m sure the play won’t be an exact copy of what it was before.

But I won’t be missing it this time around.

••••••••••••••••

I missed Sunday’s blues show by Tommy Castro at Johnny’s Cathouse, but my friend Derral Campbell (blues DJ for Jefferson Public Radio) was there.

Here’s what Derral had to say about the first in a series of name blues shows at Johnny’s:

“It was a great night, musically. His new bass player is exciting on several levels — he plays good, driving lines, and he dresses sharp as well as cuts some nice stepping. Fun to watch and really kicks the beat. Tommy was in fine voice and played some great leads. He went for a walk
all the way upstairs up one side and down the other. Two-horn augmenting going on, and a tough new piano guy, Tony Stead. I liked the new songs.”

Here’s a pic Derral took from the evening:

tommyc

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is a journalist who focuses on arts, entertainment, music and the outdoors. He is a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding and can be reached at jimd.anewscafe@gmail.com
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3 Responses

  1. Avatar Susan Daugherty says:

    I also missed "The Weir" the first time around and I am so pleased that I am going to have a second chance. These are terrific actors in parts that are special to them – it likely will be brilliant!

  2. Avatar Adrienne jacoby says:

    I have never seen Dean Williams involved in a theater experience that wasn't absolutely first rate . . . same goes of the rest of the cast, but Dean is outstanding. I think I need to see it this time . . . .

  3. Avatar Mike Flanagan says:

    I must say that this current production of The Weir is incredible. Few years ago I saw the Soffian directed version at Shasta College and witnessed the many empty seats. I was so moved by that performance that last year Soffian and I, along with Dean Williams started The Root. Last year we took a past production of Robert's "The Scene" to Chico with the original cast and director and garnered much praise.

    This version of The Weir is interesting as it has the same exact cast, years matured, but a different director; Elizabeth Johnson. Her cast have taken what, years ago haunted and moved me to tears, and taken it to the next level.

    The new direction is great as she and her cast has discovered new nuggets of information that gives us more insight into the supernatural aspect of the story and adds more chills during actress Deann Jones closing monologue, a tear-jerker that she knocks out of the ball park. Last week a man sitting behind me chanted a mantra of praise over and over of her performance to the point of almost distraction.

    To be fair, the accents do take awhile to warm up to and the seating is all at floor level so arrive early around 7pm and sit close. Last week there were a few families in attendance, even after being warned of language and topic, and a good friend told me his daughter was up with nightmares all night after so be warned.
    <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=old+shasta&sll=40.614995,-122.622528&sspn=0.459724,1.352692&ie=UTF8&hq=old+shasta&hnear=&ll=40.597719,-122.488294&spn=0.001898,0.005284&t=h&z=18&quot; rel="nofollow">
    The Old Shasta Schoolhouse is eerie alone but with the drama of this play included you are in for a night to remember. The intermission gives you a chance to walk about and one almost feels as if they are in Ireland.

    Those who know me, I hope, would agree that I am no bullshitter. When I say that The Weir is good I mean it. If it had failed in any way I would keep my mouth shut and pray for the closing show.

    With a last name like Flanagan, you know I have a wee fondness for The Emerald Isle and with Saint Patrick's Day around the corner I say grab your friends, your loved ones and come feel some chills and warmth from this unified cast that is running in 5th gear. Tonight and tomorrow are the last two shows and if you want to see more Contemporary Theatre come support this show.

    Cheers!