Andrew Ruthven is excited to revisit The Weir. He loves Conor McPherson's story about how people connect to each other and how they tell stories as part of a way to get to know each other.
“This is one of those shows that’s so simple and so magical," Ruthven says. "People are sitting in a bar, telling ghost stories.”
The Irish play won the 1997-1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play. It opened in London in 1997 and transferred to Broadway two years later. Main Street Theater, where Ruthven is directing now, has produced it once before, in 2003.
“In our world today, people shout at each other, on social media, on TV,” says Ruthven. “So, here’s this play that is about people talking to each other. And I want the feeling for the audience to be that they’ve come into a bar on a blustery night and they’ve met these people and heard their stories.”
The Weir doesn’t only focus on the stories of how each of the characters managed to be in the rural Irish town where it’s set. It’s also about the town itself and its eerie history. As the men in the bar attempt to outdo each other, telling ghost stories to impress Valerie, a newcomer from Dublin, it turns out that she has a story of her own.
Ruthven says the show isn’t a comedy, but it’s not a heavy drama or full-on horror story. He thinks it will bring people back to the idea of childhood, with friends telling scary stories around a campfire. But it also brings up the idea about whether ghosts are real, and how—or if—they interact with the living. That combination of storytelling and scene setting is something Ruthven loves about the play.
“Come in, feel like you’ve enjoyed a little gossip, met some interesting characters, and had a welcome reprieve from the outside world,” he says.
March 16–April 7. Tickets from $36. Main Street Theater, 2540 Times Blvd. 713-524-6706. More info and tickets at mainstreettheater.com.