Conor McPherson's 'The Night Alive' Brings Light & Darkness to Dobama Theatre

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Award-winning Irish playwright Conor McPherson is known for his deft ability to balance themes of good and evil in his internationally-acclaimed plays like Shining City and The Weir.  Onstage now at Dobama Theatre in Cleveland Heights is McPherson's latest tale of darkness and light - The Night Alive.

McPherson says he structures his plays to ebb and flow between the two.

"For every kind of moment of sunshine and light you've got to then turn up the storm and the wind, and pit the characters against the elements," McPherson said.

Patience is important to a playwright like McPherson as he's always on the alert for when inspiration is about to strike.

"I find that I've got to let [inspiration] sneak up on me and I've got to sneak up on it.  I think as soon as you turn around and actually look it straight in the eye it almost withers away."

For The Night Alive, McPherson had his eureka moment while pushing his daughter on a swing in a local park in Dublin. 

"In my mind's eye I saw a man helping a girl into a room.  The room looked really messy.  From that point it was just there and I just allowed it to grow.  For me a play has to come from your body in a way, it comes from your life, it comes from what's going on under your skin.  It's got to seep out that way too."

The characters in The Night Alive, like many of McPherson's plays, are average people with everyday problems.

"I find that in my plays ordinary people are often the most dramatic."

The Night Alive is onstage at Dobama Theatre through Sunday, February 12.

Listen to Dan Polletta's interview with Conor McPherson Monday, January 30 at 12:33pm on 90.3 WCPN for Here and Now featuring The Sound of Applause. Listen to the full interview in above podcast.

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