Meet the Cast of “The Weir”

By DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, March 29, 2019 News & Announcements

[About a 9 MIN read]

Maura Malloy Maura Lisabeth Malloy (Valerie)

Notre Dame alumnus Maura Lisabeth Malloy makes her ITC Guest Artist debut as Valerie in The Weir. Other credits include Far Away at Live Arts Theater, Steel Magnolias at St. Michael’s Playhouse, Crimes of the Heart and Lettuce & Lovage for Heritage Theatre Festival, and adapting, co-producing and co-starring in the NYC Fringe Festival/FringeNYC Encores production, A Beautiful Child.


You studied acting with The Weir director Siiri Scott during undergrad at The University of Notre Dame and performed in productions of Love’s Fire and Antigone. What’s it like coming back to take the stage at Notre Dame again?

With Siiri [Scott] at the helm, honestly, it feels like I’m coming home. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s completely true! I’m so thrilled to be part of this amazing production, but the fact that I get to work with Siiri and perform at Notre Dame again makes it even more special.

You play Valerie, the only female character in the show. Tell us a little about her.

She’s the stranger in the room. Just arrived from Dublin, and a little mysterious. Like everyone in the play, she has her secrets, but at her core, she’s just a really kind person. I think this evening that she spends with the locals at the village pub is a really healing thing for her. It reminds me of my own experience visiting Ireland. You can just sit down and people will talk with you and tell you stories, and all you have to do is sit back, listen, and share a laugh. There’s something very freeing about being an unknown, and for Valerie, it’s a breath of fresh air.

ITC produced The Weir in 2010 and 2016, and the Notre Dame production reunites almost all of the original cast. What’s it like to like to be the new face in the room?

It’s funny because even though everyone at ITC has been welcoming and supportive, these are some of the best actors I’ve ever worked with so it was a little intimidating to get on stage with them at first. But the great thing is, Valerie’s an outsider too, who slowly gets to know a tight-knit group of men and become friends with them, so I just leaned into the fact that my situation paralleled Valerie’s, and let it help me get into the story.

What’s your favorite character in the show besides your own?

Which role would you play if you could? Jack is a pretty amazing character of course, but Finbar would be really fun to do. I actually feel a little sorry for him. All the other characters are annoyed by him, but to Valerie, he’s just kind of adorable and harmless. Or maybe I only think that because Dan Waller is such a nice guy in real life!

What would you most like audiences to take away from seeing The Weir?

That life is sometimes a mystery, and that’s a good thing. I think we can get caught up in wanting definitive answers and explanations for everything, instead of just trusting our own experiences. Just because something’s unexplainable doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

 

Matthew IslerMatthew Isler (Brendan)

Irish Theatre Of Chicago ensemble member Matthew Isler has also appeared on the ITC stage in In a Little World of Our Own, Lay Me Down Softly, The White Road, and The Seafarer (Jeff Award, Best Ensemble).


This will be ITC’s third remount of their hit The Weir, but your first time as a cast member of the show. What’s it like stepping into the role of Brendan?

It’s been a really great experience. I’ve worked with Brad and Dan and Jeff before, of course, so I was already looking forward to that part of it – but Siiri and everyone else have also been terrific about not expecting me to recreate someone else’s version of the role, but letting me find my own footing and discover Brendan for myself.

Tell us a little about Brendan.

He likes where he is, and he likes his life. He has his land, and his pub, and his friends – all these guys that he grew up with, who he’s known forever. And because everyone knows each other so well, there’s an openness and acceptance there. They might rib each other about their quirks or personality traits, but there’s no condemnation or judgment. People are just accepted for who they are. And as the pub owner, Brendan provides a welcoming, central place where people can come together and make connections. I think that brings him a lot of satisfaction in his life.

All of the characters in The Weir tell the group a story, except for Brendan. Do you feel left out?

Honestly, I’ve been enjoying everyone else’s stories so much I haven’t had a chance to feel left out! Because most of the rest of the cast are reprising their roles, from the first rehearsal they were already totally immersed in the show and completely inhabiting their characters, which makes for truly mesmerizing performances. It’s a treat to just sit behind the bar listening as Brendan, and get absolutely lost in their stories. I think that in some ways my experience of being in the play is going to be similar to the audience’s experience of watching it. We both get to be on hand as this unique set of people share an extraordinary evening, delivered by a wonderful set of actors speaking McPherson’s fantastic words. You can’t help but be drawn in. I still get chills every time.

What’s your favorite character in the show besides your own?

Oh wow, that’s hard! They’re all so fun! I would happily play any one of them, including Valerie. Although I’m not sure I could handle her monologue as well as Maura does…

What would you most like Notre Dame audiences to take away from The Weir?

That making people feel welcome is a gift we give to each other. I love that The Weir basically invites the audience to be a part of this group of friends for the night, and as ITC, we’re also welcoming the audience into our little family through this show. Friendship and community are very powerful things, and it’s good to be reminded that everyone you meet has a story to tell––and to keep our minds and hearts open to others.