Conor McPherson



  • (1953 - ) Irish playwright, director, and film-maker. A Dubliner, McPherson was educated at Catholic schools and at University College. In 1992 he was a founder of Dublin's Fly By Night Theatre Company, which produced a number of his early plays, includingRum and Vodka (1994) and This Lime Tree Bower (1995). The latter,which takes the form of interweaving monologues by three young ne'er-do-wells, impressed the critics when it transferred to London's Bush Theatre in 1996. It was the promise shown by this play that led the Royal Court to commission McPherson's The Weir (1997), the spellbinding work that would establish his international reputation at the age of 25. The play, which again makes extensive use of monologue, this time in the form of pub storytelling, ran for three years in the West End and was also a big success on Broadway: it is now regarded as a modern classic. The drink-sodden ambience of these plays also permeates the more downbeat Dublin Carol (1999), a play that reflects McPherson's own problems with alcoholism, and Port Authority (2001). It was on the opening night of the latter that McPherson collapsed witha ruptured pancreas and almost died, thus bringing the first phase of his career to a close. When he returned it was with the highly praised Shining City (2004), a tale of guilt and retribution set in the rooms of a troubled psychotherapist that shows a new finesse with dialogue as well as monologue. Rave reviews also greeted The Seafarer, which McPherson himself directedat the National Theatre in 2006; the play, a dark fable in which a group of drunken poker players is infiltrated by a sinister stranger, subsequently ran on Broadway and at Dublin's Abbey Theatre. In recent years he has worked increasingly in the cinema, writing and directing The Actors (2003) and The Eclipse (2009). His most recent work for the stage is anadaptation of Daphne du Maurier's The Birds (2009), characterized by one reviewer as "a combination of Waiting for Godot and Jagged Edge".