Flatwater Shakespeare Company hopes its staging of Conor McPherson’s mystery “The Weir” will move audience members to share some of their own ghost stories.
At least director Becky Boesen thinks it might.
“You know how watching the movie ‘Dirty Dancing’ makes you want to dance?” Boesen asked. “I feel the same way about ‘The Weir.’ It has a powerful ability to strike something in the viewer, to encourage them to share their own stories.”
At least that’s the plan.
Before, during and after the run of the play, Flatwater Shakespeare will collect local ghost stories and legends. Patrons attending “The Weir” are invited to stay after performances to share their own tales of the paranormal, which will be recorded. The company also is interested in stories from up to 150 years ago in honor of the Nebraska sesquicentennial.
Selected stories will be developed into an original multimedia performance piece, “The Lincoln Shadow History Project.” The piece, developed by Timothy Scholl along with local playwright Brian Bornstein and filmmaker and storyteller Colleen Kenney Fischer, will premiere next spring.
“Thinking back on our 150-year anniversary, we want to explore the ways in which ‘shadow histories’ have shaped our experience as Nebraskans,” Scholl said. “There is a great deal of mystery in the unexplained. We want to use that as a catalyst for the performance.”
“The Weir,” which opens outdoors Thursday in Wyuka’s Stables, is McPherson’s tale set in a small rural Irish pub where the regulars and their host routinely swap ghost stories -- the sort of local legends and anecdotes that over the years get stretched in the telling.
But this evening proves to be different from the usual night at the pub. A new patron arrives with a story of her own -- and it may just change everything.
“‘The Weir’ is an examination of when the past and present collide,” Boesen said.
The 90-minute play, with no intermission, features Brad Boesen, Summer Lukasiewicz, Christian Novotny, John Burney and Paul Shaw.