Opening Night for The Weir was a wonderful success. The house was very full, especially for such a small cast show, but perhaps the play helped as it seemed to be the perfect piece for this time of year. It's a little spooky but cozy as well and by the end of the play you really get to know the five characters on stage. My mother commented on how wonderfully defined each of them was and how they seemed to move around the space so naturally, as though they really were in their favorite pub. The weather in Edmonton this week seems to echo the weather in the play and it really felt like we were all gathered in the comforting space of this neighborhood pub, keeping warm from the biting wind outside.
I was very impressed with the performances onstage. Cody Porter, always a favorite, was at his tip-top best. He's the kind of actor who can convey so much with a single raise of his eye brow or expression. He doesn't need to talk but when he does, like in his final story, he can mesmerize the audience. It was captivating how real all five of the actors were onstage. Kieran O'Callaghan was delightful and I imagine him driving home to his 'mammy' after the show and Justin Deveau pulled off the awkward single barman so well I wanted to give him a hug and pat his head. I also enjoyed the energies of newcomers to Walterdale, Gavin O'Toole and Gwyneth Kellii. Gavin embraced the confidence and swagger of the well-to-do Finbar and Gwyneth's Valerie had an undertone of vulnerability that was heart-breaking. All in all, five strong performances combining to create a real world onstage. I was also surprised to discover how much I was laughing. When I saw it in rehearsal a week and a half earlier I wasn't focused on the show - more checking to make sure the paint looked right, but on Opening Night I was really struck by the layered humour of the piece.
Speaking of stage, I was so thrilled to receive numerous compliments on the set. A labour of love and a test of my skills - so it was nice to hear that it all worked. To me it felt warm and inviting and that was what I was going for.
* Photo Credit: Douglas Dollars Stewart
* The Weir marks #47 in my 2011 Theatre Goal
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