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Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Saturday, September 30, 2017

"Searingly captivating" -- *The Weir*

Flatwater Shakespeare's The Weir
Lincoln Journal Star review 9/28/2017

The setting is a tiny rural Irish bar. Not only can one hear the bellowing and bawling of the wind pelting the structure, but it’s almost like the gusts whistle through its walls and into the hearts of the establishment’s patrons.
The Weir,” currently on The Swan Theatre stage and performed by the Flatwater Shakespeare Company, is not a festive production. But neither is it depressing. Sobering with hints of uneasy comedic relief seems most appropriate.
The short, 90-minute presentation – performed without an intermission – is a journey into insecurity, isolation and solitude. It probes the seclusion of individuals as the world withdraws from them and at the same time as they retreat into a selfness of protection for comfort. Thankfully towards its conclusion, there's a glimmering of resurrection of confidence and expectation.
The play covers an evening of drink and stories as Jack (Brad Boesen), a garage owner; Jim (Christian Novotny), Jack’s handyman; Finbar (John Burney), a well-off property owner; and Brendan (Paul Shaw), the bar’s owner; swap tales and alternately attempt to entertain or impress Valerie (Summer Lukasiewicz), the village’s newest resident.
Each of the men has specters haunting his self-confidence and attempt to find escape. Valerie initially seems removed from such self-doubt, but eventually exposes her vulnerabilities.
Jack and Finbar banter among themselves, ebbing toward and flowing from confrontation, while Brendan – smitten with Valerie – shyly edges toward a protector role for her. Jim is removed, yet in many ways is the most assured – perhaps not recognizing his plight.

Eventually the night turns to ghost stories – a most manly way to impress an innocent young woman. But what the stories actually accomplish is the dropping of the curtain, protecting the façade of each character. And with that banishing comes trust and confidence.
The play’s cast is strong and consistent, with Shaw, Burney and Novotny delivering nicely crafted and measured performances.
But it is the monologues delivered by Boesen and Lukasiewicz toward the end of the production that are searingly captivating. Gently and quietly presented, their elocution bares their secrets, yet that revealing is what makes for the possibility of optimism.
The Weir” is a very good production. And the fact that the play’s tales of fairies and ghosts are dispensed in a cemetery should not be ignored.

The show continues tonight and tomorrow night, 7 p.m. continuing Thursday through Sunday next weekend. For tickets and additional information, visit www.flatwatershakespearecompany.org.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Tickets on Sale Now for "The Weir" September 28 to October 8!

This fall, the Flatwater Shakespeare Company digs deep into mystery with a two-week run of The Weir. Performances are Thursdays through Sundays, September 28 to October 1, and October 4-8, with all shows beginning 7 p.m. in the open-air theater of The Stables at Wyuka, 3600 “O” Street in Lincoln.

The power of stories to build community meets the great Irish tradition of the bar-room tale in The Weir, Conor McPherson’s brilliant play about loss, the paranormal, and the consolations of connection. In the setting of a small rural pub in the northwest of Ireland, the regulars and their host fall into swapping ghost stories, the sort of local legends and anecdotes that over the years get stretched in the telling. But this evening is different from an average night at the pub, because a new visitor has arrived, with a story of her own, and it may just change everything. Performances run 90 minutes, with no intermission, and include strong language and adult themes. The show is recommended for mature audiences only.

Directed by Executive Artistic Director Becky Boesen, the production features a sterling cast including past Flatwater Shakespeare associates Brad Boesen as Jack, Summer Lukasiewicz as Valerie, and Christian Novotny as Jim. Joining the ensemble are John Burney as Finbar and Paul Shaw as Brendan. Scenic, lighting, and sound designs are by technical director Patrick Lambrecht. Kat Cover is the costume designer. The dialect coach is Sasha Dobson and the dramaturg is Timothy Scholl. Michelle Zinke is the stage manager.

Ticket prices are Students $15, Seniors $18, and General $20. A limited number of VIP Club Table packages include seating for two, a bottle of red or white wine, and two t-shirts for $100 total. Concessions, including coffee from The Mill, will be available. Other beverages will be sold at the on-set pub, prior to each performance. Advance tickets may be purchased online via www.flatwatershakespearecompany.org.

Before, during, and after the run, Flatwater Shakespeare will collect local ghost stories and legends. Audience members for The Weir are invited to stay after performances to share their own uncanny tales. The company is also interested in stories from up to 150 years ago in honor of the Nebraska Sesquicentennial. Selected tales will be developed into an original multi-media performance piece, The Lincoln Shadow History Project, developed by Timothy Scholl along with local playwright Brian Bornstein and filmmaker and storyteller Colleen Kenney Fleischer. The piece will premiere in Spring 2018, directed by Scholl. “Thinking back on our 150-year anniversary, we want to explore the ways in which ‘shadow histories’ have shaped our experience as Nebraskans,” says Scholl. “There is a great deal of mystery in the unexplained. We want to use that as a catalyst for performance.”

For further information, please visit www.flatwatershakespearecompany.org.