A: Conor McPherson Pf: 1997, London Pb: 1997 G: Drama in 1 act S: Bar in north-west Ireland, 1990s C: 4m, 1fBrendan Byrne, a bar-owner in his thirties, is serving Jack Mullen, a garage mechanic (fifties) and his friend Jim Curran (forties), occasional handyman. The talk is of the weather, betting, and especially of a new arrival in the area: a woman from Dublin, Valerie (thirties), who is renting an old house from Finbar Mack (late forties), a local hotelier. Finbar has been showing Valerie around and they now come into the bar. They talk about the weir built to generate electricity in 1951, and Jack tells of the fairy road upon which Valerie's house was supposedly built. Many years ago, and again when the weir was built, knocking was heard on the door and windows, supposedly by angry fairies. Finbar then tells of a neighbour who saw a ghost of a woman she knew who died that same evening. Jim caps this with a story about the ghost of a paedophile who asked to be buried in the grave of a young girl. The other three men find Jim's story in poor taste. Valerie then tells how her daughter drowned but that she heard her voice on the telephone. She hints that she was treated for a nervous breakdown and separated from her husband. Meeting with these men may be a renewal for all of them.
A: Conor McPherson Pf: 1997, London Pb: 1997 G: Drama in 1 act S: Bar in north-west Ireland, 1990s C: 4m, 1f
McPherson offers an accurate and undramatic image of contemporary rural life in Ireland. Just as a weir interrupts the flow of the river but cannot actually halt its progress, so this group of men repeat their banter and their stories and maintain their companionship in the steady flow of rural living. It is a sympathetic and optimistic view.