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The Weir, Conor McPherson’s exploration of Irish ghost tales, begins with a pair of classic Irish horror stories. First, and most deadly, the Guinness tap is broken. And then another scare: A woman—gasp!—is going to drop by the pub, as she tours the tiny seaside village she’s just moved to from the bright lights of Dublin. These opening twists are played for laughs, of course, in Scena Theatre’s “genuine Irish production” of McPherson’s 1997 play. The show, which opened March 19, is the second recent staging of the work at area theaters. Gordon Fulton, the imported Irish actor playing Jack—the aging, burly mechanic at the heart of the story—needs no words to express his dismay with the broken tap. Instead, he saves his best for defending the sorrow of Valerie (Kerry Waters), the woman he just met. When another character makes an ill-timed comment, no matter how well intentioned, Fulton compresses in his chair, allowing his steam to redden his doughy face and shiny pate before exploding in a fury of Celtic rage. No blows are exchanged, by the end Jack is more fatherly than belligerent. Churlish men swimming in drink and cursing up a storm? Authentically Irish indeed.
Scena Theatre’s performance runs to April 24 at H Street Playhouse, 1365 H St. NE. Shows are Thursday through Sunday. $25-$33.