Interweaving The Local And The Global In Conor Mcpherson’s The Weir
Focusing on the Irish playwright Conor McPherson’s the Weir, this paper explores how late- twentieth and early
twenty-first century Irish drama – set within local places and shaped by the role of the supernatural – offers new ways in
which to consider the relations between the national and the global. McPherson’s plays represent the interests of Ireland in
specific time periods and places but have broader meaning and significance as they offer insight into the human condition.
History and the supernatural are prevalent themes of McPherson’s works – he incorporates older traditions of ghost stories
and storytelling – yet places them in a modern world. This paper argues for a realism that is grounded in the wider
recognition of changing global, social and cultural conditions. Yet within these, certain human weaknesses and behavioural
patterns remain static. In The Ethos of a Late-Modern Citizen, White suggests that changing democratic trends in Western
societies asks for us to re-examine our role as citizens. White frames his theoretical approach by asking ‘what sort of
"characteristic spirit" or "sentiment" should we be trying to cultivate as we seek to confront the deep challenges of late-
modern life?’; citizens and minds of the future can no longer be inward looking or inward focused, but equally, as
McPherson suggests in his plays, citizens rely on the personal associations and past experiences in order to forge an identity.
Keywords: Irish Drama and Theatre – globalisation – realism – storytelling – the supernatural