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In rehearsal: The Weir

First Published 15 April 2013, Last Updated 30 July 2013

In a dark and mysterious rehearsal room where floorboards creak eerily as unseen spirits glide above them, the whistling wind talks of lost souls and forgotten memories, and doors slam seemingly by themselves, a group of actors gather to prepare their new production of Conor McPherson’s The Weir. All of them feel an unnatural presence, as though they are being watched.

Okay, this might not entirely be true. The room is light and airy with beautiful wood flooring that merely squeaks under rubber soles. Performers, including Brian Cox, Ardal O’Hanlon, Dervla Kirwan and Peter McDonald, are being watched, though. Photographer Helen Warner has snuck into the room to bring us images of Josie Rourke’s new production for the Donmar Warehouse taking shape.

McPherson’s modern classic won Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and Olivier Awards when it debuted in 1997. Its story is set in an Irish pub, where men are gathering for their daily pint. When a woman unexpectedly arrives, the pint-drinkers are spurred on to impress her with their stories, but hers is far more chilling and real than any of them would have thought.



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