Port Authority

Previewed 15 February 2001, Opened 22 February 2001, Closed 31 March 2001 at the Ambassadors Theatre in London

The World Premiere of the The Gate Theatre, Dublin production Conor McPherson's play Port Authority in London

A boy leaves home for the first time. A man starts a job for which he is not qualified. An older man has just been sent a mysterious package.

In Conor McPherson's new play we meet Kevin, Dermot and Joe, three generations of Dublin men, and explore the possibilities life has offered each of them, weaving together a wry, moving and funny tale of modern man faces up to the responsibility of love.

The cast features Stephen Brennon, Eanna MacLiam and Jim Norton. Directed by Conor McPherson.

"Conor McPherson has made a genre out of the yarn as drama. His most famous play, The Weir, had at its heart one person after another telling their tales. In his new play, Port Authority, McPherson, who also directs, has gone further. Three men - young, middle-aged, and old - take turns to tell us their tales. They don't address each other; they seem not to be aware of each other; they form a triptych, or a modern version of Titian's great triad of Youth, Age, and Experience. Each man tells us about five minutes of his tale, and then leaves us in suspense, whereupon his neighbour picks up from where he had left off. And so the three tales interweave, and form a skein... McPherson's writing for each of these three men is superlative. He catches Irish talk at the very point where the vernacular joins the poetic. Humour is there, and filthiness, and lyricism... Most astounding of all is Stephen Brennan. His is the most pathetic tale of all, the most drunken, and the funniest; and his stillness and his timing in delivering it are of the very highest order of theatre magic." The Financial Times

"Conor McPherson's international hit, The Weir, integrated the monologue into a drama that depended on competitive story-telling. Now, after pieces that have ventured into dialogue, he returns to his original format of plaited soliloquies in Port Authority, presented in the author's own quietly compelling, beautifully acted production. The narrative links between the solo reminiscences here are tenuous. Instead, they are bound together by theme... The play is a fine, often very funny piece of writing, but is so static and interchange-less a work really theatre? There was a revealing moment on the first night, when the audience undeniably did change the nature of the event, though not for the better. When old Joe said that the nun running the home 'liked me too much to give me a hard time', someone in the stalls let out a half-joky coo at his adorability. McPherson has been likened to Chekhov, but you'd never feel inclined to patronise one of his characters in that way. The intervention exposed a creeping sentimentality in McPherson's art that he would be well advised to check." The Independent

" Conor McPherson is a mesmerising talent. In his new play, Port Authority, which opened this week at the Ambassadors Theatre, he's at it again, bewitching the audience with the most simple but most potent of charms: words. He writes like an angel, an Irish angel with perfect pitch and a wicked wit. Port Authority is even starker than The Weir, returning to the monologue, the ideal confessional mode. McPherson's characters are three ordinary men living ordinary lives... One by one, they take turns to tell a chapter of their story. Little by little, they dare to confide more and more. And slowly, delicately, they draw us deeper into the hidden chambers of their hearts and minds - until they pinpoint the moment when love reveals itself and, for various reasons, they draw back. McPherson is wonderfully alert and sensitive to the timid, frequently baffling beat of the human heart. What's more, he clearly loves his characters, flawed, foolish as they are. The poignancy of Joe's story - about the day his eye wandered and how he then found himself attempting to steal a photograph of the lady next door during a party at her house - has you in tears. But Dermot has us in stitches with his account of the disastrous dinner party at his boss's house where, having bolstered his quaking heart with an appalling quantity of alcohol, he finds himself transfixed by his boss's wife's bosom. These are moments that will be forever etched in their memories, as sharply felt now as they were then. The acting is miraculous. An evening to treasure." The Mail on Sunday

Port Authority in London at the Ambassadors Theatre previewed from 15 February 2001, opened on 22 February 2001 and closed on 31 March 2001