Group Dynamics in the Weir

Group Dynamics in the Weir - Group Dynamics in the Weir: A...

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Group Dynamics in the Weir: A Review and Essay The Weir. By Conor McPherson. Nick Herm Books Limited, London, 1994, 54 pp., 11.61 U.K. Sterling ¤ A year or so ago I saw a play produced in a Broadway theatre, entitled The Weir. 1 The rest scene unfolds in an Irish bar in a remote section of the countryside, in the present time. The drama of the play takes place simply in the dialogue and the trading of stories of eve characters, four of whom are regulars in the bar and one who is a newcomer, a stranger, who enters their midst. After getting used to the thick Irish brogues and country idioms of the colourful regulars, I found myself caught up in an emotionally evocative and ultimately transformative series of dialogic events. A few hours after leaving the theatre, when I had had time to reject on the meaning of the play, I realized that I had not only witnessed a heart-wrenching drama, but also an effective group process in action. I then began to analyze the nature of that process and to speculate on the power and presence of group process in everyday life. It is not a new idea that group dynamics or process is present in naturally occurring groups such as families or corporate meetings, yet we have not sufficiently examined the ways such process can work effectively even without the formal designations of leader, boundary, or therapeutic setting. In The Weir the characters and themselves caught up in a process that leads them to engage in discussion, risky at times, and that ultimately engenders a cathartic and healing experience for all involved. THE PLAY The play opens with Jack, a local in his forties, entering an empty bar through the outside door, stage right. The setting is dark, spare, and functional, clearly without a “woman’s touch.” The bar itself dominates the stage to the right and several bare tables are situated stage left. The audience is shown a room that is neither inviting nor of interest. It is only after dialogue begins that viewers become caught up in the life of the drama. Jack proceeds to make himself at home procuring a drink and putting money for it himself into the till. Soon, Brendan, the owner of the bar and the farm to which it is attached, enters stage left, gives Jack a nod, and begins to banter with him. The banter takes the form of good-natured but outrageous put-downs with a fair amount of gossip mixed in. The two
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discuss the day’s events, an unwanted visit from Brendan's older sisters “to inspect their property,” and a visit by Jack to Carrick, the nearest town, to have a drink and to place a bet on the horses. Other characters who are soon to appear are mentioned by the two: Jim, a buddy, who unlike Jack has luck at the horses but still lives with his mother, and Finbar, a local guy who has moved from the countryside to Carrick, and who unlike all the others is married. Much is made of Fin bar's opportunism as a businessman; he is owner of an Inn and into real estate, and the idea that Finbar has abandoned his country ways and thus betrayed his roots is boated. Most intriguing, Jack
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Group Dynamics in the Weir - Group Dynamics in the Weir: A...

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