By Lynn Geyer
Tacoma Little Theatre presents “The Weir, “ Conor McPherson’s somewhat ghostly Irish tale as seen through the eyes of four patrons of an intimate pub in the village of Sligo, Ireland, which is about a third the size of Lakewood, Washington.
Director pug Bujeaud uses every facet of the set designed by Blake R. York which is so like the typical Irish pub the audience can almost smell the peat burning in the small fireplace in the down left corner of the stage. The set is comfortable and the actors move about it as though they are at home.
After the four characters are assembled on the stage with the pub owner, Bujeaud has the cast evolve into the likes of a group of youngsters around a campfire on a dark and windy night doing one-ups-man tale-telling of true or perhaps fanciful stories of death, perversion, lost love, and, of course, fairies.
Michael Christopher designs the lights to keep the somewhat eerie feel of the play; Michele Graves dresses the actors; and Gabe Hacker keeps the wind howling just enough to create the appropriate atmosphere.
Bujeaud has composed a picture of her take on the play for her cast to use as a road map to understand their characters – and they have followed her lead nicely.
Robert McConkey is Brendan, the publican. McConkey acts like a sounding board for the story-tellers – their tales bounce off him, while only slightly affecting his typical barkeep nature.
Ellen Peters is Valerie, the newcomer to the village – transported from Dublin to try to forget what must be remembered during the unfolding of the story. Peters plays Valerie quite well, albeit, in the 200-plus-seat theatre, her voice is almost as diminutive as the actor herself.
Brian Wayne Jansen is Jack, the assistant mechanic of the village. Jansen is effective as the quiet introspected man who comes from his slightly inebriated being to add his somewhat grisly tale to the pot.
Gabriel McClelland plays Finbar, the “pal” who made good, left for the big city where he put his friendships behind him, only to return with Valerie. McClelland is rightfully uneasy when the tale-telling involves a story about the house he has just rented Valerie.