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“The Weir’s” setting is a fictional town, near "Carrick," that resembles Leitrim. In an interview McPherson stated that his grandfather's life in the Irish countryside as an inspiration for the play. The play takes place in a pub where three guys in various stages of middle age, together with the landlord are swapping ghost stories to impress an attractive young woman, Valerie, recently arrived from Dublin. What begins as a simple visit to the local pub soon turns out to be an evening of both ghost stories, until the final tale, told by Valerie herself, takes a strange twist and changes the whole mood of the evening. The interior of pub is very familiar. McPherson balances the traditional pub by populating the setting with new characters: small-time real estate developers, career women from Dublin, and sons of the publicans. One of the ghostliest characters is the “weir” of the title. A weir is a small boundary; it is literally a damn on a river. In an island culture, the power of water to grant or take life hardly has to be symbolic. The Weir depicts characters which stand at just such a psychological passage trying to account for their drives to regain things and to understand why they go to certain places, and why they have come to this place as home. One story within the play revolves around one of the most difficult of all losses to understand-the loss of a child.
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